Simple tips to boost your mental health care when you are experiencing disenfranchised grief:
- Practise gratitude
- Get a furry friend
- Try something out of your comfort zone
- Meditation for 5 minutes a day for starters
- Yoga and breathing exercises
You can also create rituals like –
- Lighting candles or planting a tree in honour of your loss.
- Visting meaningful places associated with your loss.
- Holding memorial in a place that holds significance.
- Writing goodbye letter
5. Talk to a therapist
Sometimes grief doesn’t improve on its own and leaving it unaddressed can take a toll on your mental health or push you to think of suicide or self-harm.
Consulting a grief counsellor or therapist who specializes in grief recovery can validate your experience and offer the right kind of support. Seeking therapy can help you acknowledge your loss, understand your feelings, navigate your thoughts and move forward in peace. Therapists help you realise it’s ok to mourn and offer a safe, judgement-free space to express grief. Also, provide resources on peer or community or self-help support.
If you are experiencing disenfranchised grief due to perinatal loss or loss of a job affecting your romantic relationship, you may see a couple therapist. This will help you strengthen your bond with your partner and gain the ability to support one another.
If you are not sure that you need professional help then check out – 11 signs you need to talk to a therapist.
6. Get in touch with a support network
Your first line of support includes family members, close friends and other trusted ones who can understand your emotional pain and validate your feelings. They are the ones who can take care of you by cooking your favourite meals or organising trips for you or motivate you to see the brighter side of life. Sometimes loved ones too can be critical of your grief if they considered your loss to be insignificant.
If you are not getting the kind of support you are looking for you can reach out for help from support groups and organizations that are available 24/7. Some of them are listed below:
- American Veterinary Medical Association – offers grief treatment resources for animal care workers
- The National Alliance for Mental Illness – Offers grief support for healthcare workers
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline – provides referrals to mental health professionals, support groups, and other community resources that may help you cope up with grief.
- Missing Grace offers grief support to parents who have lost children to miscarriage or stillbirth
- COPE Foundation offers grief support to families who have lost children as well as provides referrals to in-person support groups in your area.
The bottom line
Grief is inevitable whether the loss is small or big. Grief is valid whether you are mourning the death of a loved one or pet or penfriend or sad just because you lost a gift that you received on your fifth birthday. But, sometimes society makes it hard for you to express your sadness because your loss surrounds stigma, taboo or something the society perceives as insignificant or fails to recognise. Grieving is your right. Never suppress it or else your physical and mental health will go for a toss. Follow the coping tips, express yourself safely, take the help of trusted ones in your circle. Never hesitate to ask what you need!
Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.
Corr, C.A., 1999. Enhancing the concept of disenfranchised grief. OMEGA-Journal of Death and Dying, 38(1), pp.1-20. Devine, M., 2017. It's Ok that You're Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn't Understand. Sounds True. Tsui, E.K., Franzosa, E., Cribbs, K.A. and Baron, S., 2019. Home care workers’ experiences of client death and disenfranchised grief. Qualitative health research, 29(3), pp.382-392. Mortell, S., 2015. Assisting clients with disenfranchised grief: The role of a mental health nurse. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 53(4), p.52.