woman sitting on window sill reading book

How Long Does Grief Fatigue Last After A Loss?

Grief is hard work. Losing a loved one causes stress on multiple levels. Emotions come and go without warning. This takes a toll on your body, too. At first, you may not even notice it. You think it’s because of all the logistics that need to be dealt with after a death. So many arrangements and phone calls and other details.

After the funeral, others have to get back to their own lives. For you, it’s impossible to think about “moving on.” Without so many people around, it starts to really hit you. They call it “grief fatigue” and it definitely lives up to the name.

Common Signs of Grief Fatigue

Profound Exhaustion

You feel like you’re dragging more than walking. Basic chores and daily functions feel daunting. Holding a conversation or engaging in small talk wipes you out.

Sleep Disturbances

Some folks struggle with insomnia. Others sleep all the time. In some instances, it’s a mix of both. Despite it all, you never feel rested even when you are able to sleep.

Hyper-vigilance

Being on edge is a trauma reaction. But it keeps you tense and wears you out. It’s as if you’re stuck in fight-or-flight mode. This exhausts your nervous system and subsequently, you.

Withdrawal

You pushed through the phone calls and the funeral details and all the family interactions. Now, you just want to be alone. With no one else around, you tend to ruminate and this just adds to your fatigue.

Other Sources of Exhaustion

  • Intense sorrow and emotional suffering
  • Fixated on the person who died
  • Conflicts with the people in your life
  • Self-blame, guilt, and anger
  • Unable to accept what has happened
  • Loneliness and numbness
  • Unexplained physical pain or tension

woman sitting on window sill reading bookHow Long Does Grief Fatigue Last After A Loss?

There is no single correct answer to this question. Everyone grieves differently. So many factors are at play. One thing that shows up across the board, though, is that you can take steps to ease the process. If grief exhaustion has you in its grip, here are some self-help suggestions to consider:

Practice Self-Care

It’s not the sexy, quick-fix answer we see in clickbait articles but prioritizing your own health is as fundamental as it gets. This means safeguarding your habits in areas like sleep, eating habits, exercise and physical activity, and stress management.

Resist the Urge to Isolate

Fatigue can build on itself in isolation. It may sound counterintuitive to socialize when you’re tired. But this is a situation where contact with trusted friends and family members can be energizing and healing.

Develop Patience

When you suffer a loss, the grief process is not linear. It does not follow a predetermined structure. Letting go of your expectations will reduce the frustration and thus, some of the exhaustion.

Do Not Suppress Your Feelings

Grief is not a form of weakness. You are under no obligation to “stay strong” or “move on” until you’re ready to do so. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. You never have to adhere to someone else’s timetable.

Create New Rituals and Traditions

The loss has changed your life. This reality will hit you from time to time, no matter how long it’s been. Finding meaning (whatever that means to you) in the situation is a powerful step toward recovery.

Complicated Grief is a Thing

Asking for help is often the best choice. Left unchecked, grief can linger and become a long-term issue. Since there is no single “right” way to grieve, it can be hugely helpful to work with a therapist during this time period. It all begins with a free and confidential consultation. Let’s connect today so we can help you in grief counseling.

Terria McGee, MSW, LICSW

Terria McGee, MSW, LICSW terria@affinitypsych.com

Terria McGee, MSW, LICSW

Terria McGee, MSW, LICSW

terria@affinitypsych.com

Hey there! Congratulations to you on taking the first step into finding a therapist, whether it be for you or a loved one. I know that finding the right fit can be difficult at times, but I am glad you are here! I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Minnesota. I have experience working in schools, in homes, and outpatient clinics. I work with adolescents, young adults, adults, and families. Working with individuals from various backgrounds has allowed me to use multiple therapeutic models to provide culturally sensitive and trauma-informed care.




How I Work

I know that at times you can feel so alone in your struggles that you can’t find the words to describe your emotions. I want you to know that you have someone in your corner that is ready to support and guide you to answer those tough “why?” or “how?” questions. You may also find that sometimes you just need to vent and get things off your chest, and that’s okay too. We’re going to be real with each other, assess these problems, and come out stronger after every session.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I bring a unique cultural understanding to my work as a therapist, and my own life experiences allow me to look at things from a perspective of genuine empathy. I am here to help you explore and discover new ways to cope with and manage your feelings. I want you to know that when you come into our sessions, whether it be virtually or in-person, you will not be judged. My goal is to make sure you’re comfortable telling me what’s on your mind and how we can work on making it more manageable together.



Schedule an Appointment!

Issues I Treat:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Anger
  • Identity Crises
  • Mood Disorders
  • Grief and Loss
  • Relationship Struggles
  • Parenting/Co-Parenting
  • Parent-Child Relationships

Populations I Serve:

  • Adolescents
  • Young Adults
  • Adults
  • Families

Professional background:



Education

  • Master’s in Social Work – Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN
  • Bachelor’s in Social Work – North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC

Trainings

  • CBT
  • Various trauma-informed practices (including but not limited to culturally specific practices)
  • TF-CBT
  • MAP
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Mindfulness
  • Suicidal Ideation/self-harming behaviors

Previous Employment

  • Wilder Foundation – Mental Health Clinic
  • Wilder Foundation – School-based Services

Licensure

  • Minnesota, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, 25722

grief-counseling

Managing the Anniversary of Your Loss: Tips for Coping When Grief Repeats

Grief is a tricky, unpredictable ride. Recovering from the loss of a loved one is a complicated process. It runs its own course on its own timetable. Eventually, the bereaved find ways to move forward. They carry the sorrow in their heart but the intensity of the mourning subsides. Until… the anniversary of the loss rolls around.

It’s a date that is seared into your memory that will come around — year after year. The effect may, at first, be unconscious. Eventually, you connect the time of year to your sudden emotional volatility. It can help to identify the connection. But now what?

Anniversary Grief

Anniversary grief is not limited to the precise anniversary. Its impact may begin in a vague way as the date approaches. The feelings of loss, loneliness, and sadness are some of the more obvious signs. In addition, you may experience any of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue and sleep disturbances
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Bursts of anger
  • Loss of concentration
  • Depression
  • Fixation on unhappy memories

Any or all of the above can be triggered by outside sources — even years after the loss. For example, certain foods, scents, music, or objects may be the catalyst. Sometimes, you have to live through the first anniversary to fully appreciate the reality of recurring bereavement. But fortunately, there are self-help steps you can make to anticipate the return to mourning.

5 Tips for Coping When Grief Repeats

1. If Possible, Prepare in Advance

Grief is always painful but can be eased when you’ve had time to prepare. As the date nears, remind yourself of the need for self-care and introspection. Honor the grief. It’s a powerful blend of emotions that helps us manage a loss.

2. Create Traditions and Rituals

  • Cook a specific meal
  • Engage in an activity that your loved one enjoyed or valued
  • Visit the gravesite
  • Do something in line with your faith and/or the faith of the deceased
  • Watch their favorite movie
  • Listen to their favorite music
  • Connect with someone who knew and loved the deceased

As you can see, the possibilities are limitless. The idea is to take part in activities and/or sensations that you feel will honor the person you lost. It can be incredibly helpful and healing to involve others in this process.

3. Schedule Time to Remember and Honor

Your life circumstances may not allow you to do anything elaborate. If so, you must still find time to set aside for the sole purpose of mourning and remembering. Do not let life’s hectic flow take you away from what is important. Take a day off from work, if possible.

4. Make It About You

There are no hard and fast rules here. Perhaps it feels most healing to center the day around yourself. Change up your routines. Treat yourself to a special meal or maybe a massage. Challenge yourself to try something new and adventurous. As you indulge in such behavior, remain aware of how happy your loved one would be to see you doing so. Feel how proud they are of you.

5. Be Kind of Yourself

Perhaps what you need most is self-care. You endured a loss, life went on, and here you are reminded of it one year later. Do what you need to do to soothe yourself and recover. If you need to talk, reach out to someone.

If you feel overwhelmed by the anniversary grief, reach out to a therapist. You never have to struggle alone. We’re happy to help and guide you through these challenges. Please contact us and read more about grief counseling. We look forward to hearing from you soon to set up a safe and confidential consultation.

Break-ups

Break-ups are so painful. They are universal; everyone goes through them. Yet, as you deal with your own break-up, you may feel entirely alone in the world. Therapy can be a really effective way to take care of yourself during this emotional time. It provides you with the support you need so that you no longer feel so alone, and it helps you build the resilience to confidently move forward.

Recovering from a Breakup

It isn’t easy dealing with a breakup. You might feel like you should just be able to get over it and move on. Others in your life might even be telling you as much. However, it’s important to understand that a breakup is a loss. Coping with any loss is a process.

There is a lot of grief involved in dealing with a breakup. Many people go through the same grieving stages after a breakup as they do after the death of someone they love. You might go through stages of anger, denial, and depression.

Getting therapy after a breakup can provide you with the support that you need to move through those stages. We can honor and accept the many feelings associated with a breakup. Eventually, you can reach a stage of acceptance, which allows you to move on to a new relationship in a healthy way.

Coping with Heartache

It is important to understand that recovering from a breakup may be hard regardless of the details of the relationship. In other words, it’s perfectly normal to have trouble coping with heartache regardless of whether:

  • The decision was mutual, someone broke up with you, or you made the call to end things
  • It was a short-term or long-term relationship
  • You were a monogamous couple or were dating other people
  • You are young, old, or in-between

If you are finding it hard to cope with the pain of a break-up, that feeling is completely valid. You may be dealing with emotions that are a direct reaction to the breakup itself. You may also have feelings related to the past, including your childhood or past relationships. Break-ups trigger many things. Sometimes coping with heartache means reviewing some of the past so as to be able to better move into the future.

Are You in Need of Professional Help?

Break-ups are a grief process. Anyone struggling with grief may benefit from professional help. In some cases, the grief can turn into depression. If you have symptoms of depression, including a loss of interest in activities and a struggle with low self-esteem, then it is important that you seek professional help right away.

However, you don’t have to be in crisis to gain benefits from therapy. In fact, some people come to therapy after a break-up even when, overall, they are doing okay. Therapy can help you process the relationship, understand the breakup, and set goals for the months to come.

Therapy can give you a chance to get reacquainted with yourself, to figure out who you are and what you want separate from that relationship.

We understand that break-ups are painful. They can also be opportunities for growth. We are here to help you honor the hurt, move through it, and then encourage you in the growth you experience on the other side. Feel free to get in touch with us today if you need some support as you move through a break-up process.