When you are faced with an intense trauma such as the death of someone you love, you may not be ready to completely feel all the emotions that loss brings. Or maybe, you are someone who has gone through life repressing most emotional pains that you have experienced because you are afraid to process your emotions.
Repressing these overwhelming emotions and keeping yourself numb instead of grieving and mourning is a common response to losing a loved one, but definitely not the healthiest. This is what delayed grief is – repression of emotional pain that results from a traumatic experience. In other words, you don’t fully experience your grief until later on.
These repressed emotions will likely surface later on, which can lead to mental and emotional breakdowns. Even if they don’t surface and you don’t deal with them directly, they have a significant psychological impact on you and influence your thought patterns and behavior, even when you don’t realize it.
What does delayed grief feel and look like?
If you are experiencing delayed grief, you may show several emotional, mental, as well as physical symptoms later than expected. You may feel completely numb and detached, and you may feel more moody or anxious than usual. This will obviously affect your day-to-day life. Your personal relationships and work may suffer.
People experiencing delayed grief also tend to have headaches, body aches and pains, disrupted sleeping patterns, and loss in appetite.
What to do if you are experiencing delayed grief?
It is important to know that people react to loss in different ways, and there is no normal or accepted way to grieve. If you suspect that you are dealing with delayed grief, make sure that you are putting in extra effort to look after your health. It can be easy to slip into unhealthy coping mechanisms that can affect both your mental and physical health, so focus on self-care.
Also, make a conscious effort to stay connected to the people you love like your friends and family, and know that you don’t have to be isolated. There is no shame in reaching out for help.
Thanks for reading,