At multiple points during your caregiving journey, you might find that you’re already experiencing signs of grief. If you’re not familiar with the different types of grief reactions you might experience, it can pay to learn a little bit more about how grief can express itself in your mental, physical, and emotional health.
Mental Reactions to Grief
You might not realize it, but your thought processes and your brain itself are going to respond to the grief that you’re experiencing. You might find yourself in a battle where you really don’t believe that what is happening to your loved one is now the reality. You might also find yourself in a position in which you have a difficult time concentrating on what is happening around you or you experience much more confusion than usual. This happens because your brain is trying to make sense of all that is going on.
Physical Responses to Feelings
Grief is something that expresses itself physically, too. Some of the reactions you might experience are some you might chalk up to physical conditions or ailments. These kinds of reactions might include responses such as changes to your appetite, digestive issues, or even trouble breathing. Some people might worry that they’re having heart trouble or other problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about these physical symptoms. You need to rule out physical ailments that need attention first.
The Feelings Themselves
Your actual emotions might go through a rollercoaster, but some of that rollercoaster might not be easily attributable to grief. For example, you might feel guilty or angry, without fully understanding why. Experiencing a wide range of emotions without understanding what causes that swing can also be a sign that you’re dealing with the emotional effects of grief. Journaling can help you to sort through these emotions and determine why you’re feeling them.
Having elder care providers available who understand the hospice process can help both you and your loved one to manage these types of feelings and reactions in ways that are healthy for everyone involved.