Shirley Porter, M.Ed., RP, RSW
Counsellor, Counselling and Accessibility Services
As a result of the world-wide pandemic, individuals, families and communities have been dealing with major changes in daily living. These changes have had disruptive impacts - physically, emotionally, financially, socially and/or spiritually - on virtually every person. While these changes may be a worrying annoyance for some, others might unknowingly be suffering from actual grief, as result of actual or perceived pandemic-related losses.
What experiences can lead to grief?
The COVID-19 pandemic and its related shutdowns have brought about the possibility of experiencing numerous significant losses during the past several months. Some examples of the types of experiences that might lead to grief include loss of:
- a loved one through death (as a result of COVID-19 or related complications)
- one's own health and well-being due to contracting the virus
- employment and/or a sense of financial security
- social/emotional contact and support from others
- a sense of purpose or meaning (might include loss of faith)
- a sense of safety in the world
- deeply-held beliefs about the world and other people
What are some symptoms of grief?
Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. It is not an illness or psychological diagnosis. Grief is characterized by a sense of yearning for the person, or thing that has been lost. Contrary to popular belief, research has demonstrated that there are no stages of grief. Each person grieves in a way that is unique to themselves.
Symptoms of grief might include:
- difficulty functioning for a time
- deep sadness
- sleep problems
- headaches, muscle aches, stomach issues
- crying more often than usual
- difficulties with concentration, problem solving and/or decision making
Should I see a counsellor?
Due to the fact that grief is a normal response to significant loss, most people do not require counselling to get through it. In fact, for the majority of individuals, grief symptoms will begin to resolve naturally within six months after the loss. However, there are some situations where professional counselling can be helpful, such as when an individual:
- has a history of mental illness
- is lacking social support
- has experienced a number of significant losses
- experiences grief symptoms that don't seem to be improving or seem to be worsening more than six months after the loss
Also, if grief seems to be triggering the onset of depression or anxiety symptoms, it would be a good idea to talk to a counsellor.
Professional counsellors continue to be available to provide confidential support to current Fanshawe College students. Call 519-452-4282 or email email@example.com to schedule a phone or online appointment. We are here for you.