Loss and Bereavement

At times in our lives we all experience loss of some kind. Grief is a natural emotional response to loss and a process that allows us to adjust to a new situation.

Although grieving is usually associated with the death of someone, similar emotions may also be felt with other types of loss, for example, loss of a relationship, health, a friend, a pet or financial security. Learn more about the grieving process and what to expect.

What might I be feeling?

It is not unusual to experience some or all of the following as we start to take in what has happened:

  • Shock
  • Numbness
  • Denial and disbelief
  • Overwhelming emotions (ranging from intense sadness to anger and guilt)
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Lack of concentration and the feeling of being disconnected
  • Feeling physically and emotionally exhausted
  • Loss of appetite
  • Not wanting to be around other people
  • Thinking too much about what you might have done differently
  • Avoiding talking about the loss and things related to it.

How long might I feel like this?

These emotions are normal and natural, given the circumstances.  Although they can be frightening and confusing, in time they should begin to lessen in intensity as we adjust to what has happened.

How people deal with grief is individual and varies depending on the nature of the loss and your cultural background. Many people liken the experience of grieving to waves breaking on a beach, the intensity ebbing and flowing, particularly around anniversaries and significant times in the bereaved person's own life.

What can I do to help myself?

It is important to be kind to yourself and patient.  Looking after yourself is vital even if you may not feel like it. Try to keep to some of your basic routines. Make sure you eat healthily, try to sleep, exercise and continue to do your usual activities.  Don't avoid talking about what happened with others. The task of grieving is to integrate these painful memories into your experience. Speaking to others who are sharing your loss or those who care about you is really important at this time.

Helping others through grief

When a friend is grieving it is important to realise that you cannot 'fix' their grief any more than they can. However, you can support them by understanding that grief can take many forms and there is no timeframe or process you go through.

You can try and be tolerant as they may become more moody or demanding.  In some instances, it is easier to offer practical support.  This could be providing meals, doing errands, providing childcare, or just spending time with them. Try and avoid comparing grief or saying "you'll get over this". Encourage them to get further support if necessary.     

I can't seem to focus on University at the moment

Loss can be difficult to cope with and understandably disrupts our ability to continue with important things we need to get done.  If you experience loss / bereavement whilst studying at University and are finding that it is interrupting your ability to complete assignments or its affecting your attendence, please contact your tutors as soon as possible. It's not always easy to do, but it will mean you can work with them to try and find some temporary adjustments to help make things a bit easier.

Useful information and organisations that can support you with your grief

Please see below a number of different resources and help you can access:

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