What Is Grief For People With Anxiety?

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Grieving over someone we lost is devastating enough. There are no words to explain how much sadness and loneliness one may feel over the death of a loved one. All of a sudden, the whole world falls apart right in front of you, and there is no one to hold on to. You are all alone, and it’s like being trapped and crippled inside a cold and dark tunnel. You know the only way out is to find the light which will lead outside, but you cannot move. That’s what grieving feels like.


Now, what is grieving like for people with mental health challenges such as anxiety? They are struggling with their feelings and emotions even before losing someone. Imagine how they would feel in the process of grieving. The pain is twice as much, triple, or even more. We could not tell exactly. Maybe, there is no way to measure how much they are suffering. Talking to online psychologists at BetterHelp or other counseling platforms may not even be enough.


Anxiety is the feeling of restlessness and nervousness. It could be about fear or drive. A person with anxiety often thinks of the worst thing that could happen in a situation. For instance, a person anxious about finishing his work is just like any other working individual, but for a person with anxiety, he may experience physical symptoms like palpitations, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, headache, and trouble sleeping. The difference between and without anxiety is the feeling of being stuck and the inability to think right in the situation leaving the person to explode. As explained by Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC, “It can feel as if something is medically or physically wrong, but if you are having a panic attack, nothing is physically wrong. What you are experiencing is actually psychological, and can be very effectively treated with psychotherapies.”


Imagine grief and anxiety combined. It is like turning on a giant vacuum and leaving a person right in front of it. You already know what’s going to happen, but what you do not know is when it is going to stop. It may be like this or even more. It could be incomparable because the only one who could tell exactly how it feels could not, and the only thing he could do is scream because of the agonizing pain.


When We Lose Someone, There Are Seven Stages Of Grief That We Will Go Through:


Confusion And Denial

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“Acknowledge and accept the feelings: The first step is to learn to bring the feeling out.”  Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD said about grief. We may refuse to believe the reality of losing someone. It is our emotional protection from feeling the devastating pain that could crush us suddenly.


Agony And Guilt

This could be the most crucial stage of grief as the sufferer feels unbearable pain. His actions at this point are determined by how much he can grasp the reality which is unlikely.



One may feel resentment. He could think, “Of all people, why do I need to suffer this?” It is the stage where he could blame and hate the people around him and maybe even himself.



This stage is the one final dark tunnel one needs to go through and stay for a while. During this time, a person may feel all alone and may push people away. It is the time of contemplation and reminiscence. A grieving person may choose to be alone. Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD. explains  “Less well known is the fact that not only is irritability a sign of depression, but that it often signals a more severe level of depression.”



This stage marks the decisive moment of grieving. As the loss starts to be a part of the person’s reality, he will begin to reason like the way he used to.



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This stage is the final stage but definitely would not take the pain away. It just brings hope to the person that life goes on. It is the start of a new beginning without the loved one who passed. During this time, a person will realize that death is a part of life, and though something inside him may have died as well, he still has reasons to continue.


All these stages are the natural stages of grieving, but for a person with anxiety, it could be mixed up. It’s like he’s in a cone with a hole at the bottom with, again, the vacuum turned on. It is the absolute destruction of one’s existence, and there is no way to fix it but to seek help. A grieving person with anxiety needs to take medications and undergo a series of therapies as it is a difficult challenge to one’s sanity.