funeral homes in West Elmira, NY

Why Suppressing Grief is Unhealthy

Before and after funerals at funeral homes in West Elmira, NY, the process of grieving the loss of a loved one begins. However, in some cases, grief gets suppressed out of necessity – taking care of immediate things – or because the person just can’t handle grief’s sometimes overwhelming effects, so they just shut it down or put it aside.  

While some grief suppression may be necessary in small increments of time, suppressing it over the long term every time it comes to the surface is unhealthy, and can result in health problems, emotional problems, and mental problems, such as depression and anxiety.  

When grief is suppressed instead of being faced head on, it becomes incomplete grief. There are several symptoms associated with incomplete grief.  

One symptom is irritability or anger that gets worse with time and can erupt into an explosion or violence. Suppressing grief lets things build up inside with no outlet or expression. The body, mind, and soul can take this for only so long until it gets too big and too much to handle or keep suppressed. Often the trigger that lets it all out is tiny or insignificant, and often observers will wonder why the reaction is so extreme in comparison.  

Another symptom of incomplete grief is long-term obsession with missing the deceased. It is normal in the first few weeks or months to obsess about the death of a loved one and for their loss to hurt deeply, leaving a void that almost seems too deep to ever even scar over. Emotional rewinding is part of this as the relationship gets reviewed and the death gets reviewed in every single little detail. However, it’s not uncommon for people to get stuck in the emotional rewind and not be able to move forward. They have all their regrets on replay and cry whenever the deceased or something sad is discussed.  

Hyperalertness and fear of loss is a symptom of incomplete grief. Hyperalertness and fear of loss manifest themselves as pervasive anxiety and a overwhelming sense that nothing’s safe, everything’s fragile, and everyone is vulnerable. As a result, hypersensitivity to everything sets in and an overriding need to be prepared for the worse becomes the default mindset.   

A fourth symptom of incomplete grief is behavioral overreaction. How behavioral overreaction is express is either in excessive clinginess to significant others or pushing everyone away and keeping them at a distance to avoid the potential of loss and pain. This sometimes is a short-term way of coping with healthy grief, but with incomplete grief, it becomes the norm for the long-term.  

Apathy, numbness, and low-grade depression are all signs of incomplete grief. Apathy is apparent when things the person once enjoyed doing are no longer enjoyable to them and they really don’t seem to care about anything. Numbness is a blunted emotional reaction that simply can’t seem to feel anything. And a low-grade depression is characterized by a lack of energy, a sense of hopelessness, and dark thoughts that persist over time.  

Utilizing grief resources such as counseling and therapy are an excellent way to resolve incomplete grief.  

At funeral homes in West Elmira, NY, our sympathetic and knowledgeable staff at Roberts Funeral Home can help you with grief resources. You can come to our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.