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As we have learned all too well over the past year, grief isn’t just limited to losing a loved one (though this is their own particularly painful kind of grief). Whether it’s losing a job, not seeing family and friends for long periods of time, or just mourning our lives before the pandemic, we still have no idea what impact this collective grief and trauma will have over the next few years Come on us will have.
Not only can this grief build up over time, but after a year of uninterrupted racial injustices, natural disasters, and all the damage caused by previous presidential administration, we never really have time to process one trauma before the next one happens. This leaves us with what is known as “grief debt” – and like monetary debt, it is difficult to pay off. Here’s what you need to know about grief debt and how to deal with it.
What is grief guilt?
How Emily Laurence writes for Well + GoodBereavement “happens when we drain energy from our emotional bank to process any dispute, and those cases reinforce each other and continue to use the energy until there is nothing left to withdraw.”
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Having to deal with a single trauma is difficult enough, but multiple trauma at the same time is a completely different challenge. That’s because when we don’t have a chance to fully manage the first trauma, “you usually focus on the next tragedy before you’ve worked through the first,” clinical psychologist DR. Kahina A. Louis tells Good + good.
To cope with life we suppress the trauma and “if you suppress a trauma, you can suppress certain emotions, but [they don’t] go away, ”adds Louis. “They can appear in your thoughts and actions without even realizing it.”
How to Get Rid of Grief Debt
While it is certainly possible (and advisable) to process and process grief, the idea is to learn coping strategies in order to manage it in the future – rather than expecting it to go away over time. But when we find ourselves in a situation where grief debt is at stake, it is crucial that we at least do something to resolve it, rather than letting the trauma continue to pile up.
Everyone has their preferred techniques, be it journaling, mindfulness exercises, talking to a therapist and / or grief counselor, or just screaming and crying, psychiatrist Dr. James S. Gordon tells Good + good. The most important thing is figuring out what works for you and giving yourself the time and space without focusing on the next bad thing.