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Let’s talk about grief and grieving

Let’s talk about grief and grieving

This article talks about the role of Homeopathy and flower essences to support us during times of grief, and to help heal the past we are grieving.

Introduction

Grief is a natural response to loss.  Everyone will experience loss sometime in their life.  The death of a loved one is a particularly trying experience for many people.  The effects of grief aren’t just emotional, they can be physical, as well as spiritual – affecting our thoughts, feelings, behaviours, relationships – and therefore can have a profound impact on our wellbeing.

When we are grieving, we’re unlikely to consider its impact on our health.  However, grief can weaken our immune system, and if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can become unwell.

Grieving – as a process

Grief can include a wide-spectrum of emotions, such as sadness, anger, anxiety, fear and numbness… and although many people will continue to grieve through their life, the intensity and frequency of these feelings change, and most will be able to return to some sense of normality.  Sometimes the grief will come back in waves, striking at particular points in time when we are reminded of our loved one; and at other times, it will return unexpectedly.

Through this, it is important to recognise that grief is a normal experience – and to think about grief as a process, and not an event or a destination.  Holding this perspective will help create the room for our feelings to change over time, and support our own healing.

We’re all different

Grieving is very individual, as we experience loss and grief differently.  Our coping mechanisms are also different, and age can be a factor here.  For instance, adults will differ from children and teenagers.

As an example of an individual response, take crying – some people prefer to cry alone, others in the company of another.  Some may try to stop the tears in the first place, as they’re worried that once they start, they won’t be able to stop.  Others may have no tears.  All are valid responses.  Although some people feel crying isn’t appropriate, it’s important to recognise that it is a natural human response; and if you feel like crying, go ahead and do it.

Another individual response is when we feel like seeking company, or having time alone.  If you feel like some time alone to focus on your feelings and grieve, do so.  This time alone may be enhanced if you have a way to express your emotions, such as writing in a diary, applying yourself creatively, such as putting together a special memorial album, or using a spiritual or religious practice.

Our experience of grief can also change depending on the relationship we had with the person we lost, how they died (e.g. was it sudden, or after a long illness?), and what supports we have.

Accessing support

Support from friends and family, grief services, counselling and Homeopathy can help us through in different ways.  It’s important to seek support if you need it.

Grief support services

Grief support services provide counselling to bereaved individuals and families.  A trained counsellor can help you make sense of your feelings.  Counsellors will not tell you what to do or how you should be feeling, but they may give ideas and strategies to help you cope – and offer encouragement, support and advice through the grieving process.

One such organisation is the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement.  More information is available on their website, at: http://www.grief.org.au/

Helplines

There are helplines which can your to find ways of coping with grief and loss, such as:

There are also specialist services, for example, if you have experienced the death of a child or baby, assistance is available from SIDS and Kids or SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support).

For a full list of grief support services, visit the Better Health Channel Grief support service page at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/servicesandsupport/grief-support-services

Homeopathy

Homeopathic support for grief may differ depending on if the loss has just occurred (acute grief), or if it’s about addressing the long-term impact of grief on our health and wellbeing (chronic effects).  There are Homeopathic medicines that have been used to cover both scenarios, and the selection of the homeopathic medicine will often depend on other factors, such as other emotions occurring with the grief (e.g. anger, anxiety, fear, etc), physical or other health complaints (e.g. headaches, pain, fatigue, etc, with grief), and even our individual coping strategies (e.g. being silent or ‘pent-up’, paralysed with grief, or even making humor or laughter).

Ignatia

For acute grief, one of the most used traditional homeopathic medicines is Ignatia – although I have seen this work wonderfully in long-standing grief as well when it is indicated.

Flower essences

Flower essences have also been a traditionally used natural and gentle remedy for emotional support for grief both recent and distant.  Some of the more common essences have been listed below, and depending on the situation, a blend may be required.

  • Bleeding Heart – for emotional release due to the death of a loved one. Those needing this remedy suffer enormous pain and brokenheartedness because their feelings have been poured out so completely into another who is no longer present. A heart cleanser and strengthener.
  • Borage – for a feeling of heavy-heartedness, and used as a heart balm for grief.  For those times when we’ve experienced too much grief or sadness, and the heart has become contracted and heavy – this flower essence is used to promote uplifting and renewing the heart with courage.
  • Honeysuckle – this is for when we long for the past… and to help to support us so that life can go on after death or loss.  The flower essence can help us to be more fully in the present, and accepting of our current life conditions.
  • Star of Bethlehem – used after the shock of death or other tragedy as a restorative with calm, soothing properties.
  • Wild Rose – is used when pain or suffering has paralysed body and soul, and we may have withdraw or become numb due to the grief.  We may have not yet accepted the tragic events.  This flower essence aims to help us embrace life again, despite trials or pain.

Other related flower essences include Yerba Santa (internalized sadness stored in the heart and chest), Love-Lies-Bleeding (melancholia and anguish), Sagebrush (accepting loss), Golden Ear Drops (releasing tears of grief that has been held back), Fuchsia (grief that has been repressed).

Summary

If you need help and support for grief, please seek out a service, such as the ones listed above.

Homeopathy and flower essences can also be of assistance, and can work alongside grief and bereavement counselling, and other supports.

Homeopathy and the flower essence system has natural medicines which have traditionally been used to help with the longer-term impacts of grief, and can serve as a catalyst for our healing, and to live more in the present.

References & resources

David Haubenschild
Homeopath

David is a homeopath from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He is passionate about helping people change their lives for the better, achieving a level of freedom from disease, and promoting general happiness and wellbeing using natural approaches, that last.

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