Signs Someone Is Struggling To Cope With Losing A Loved One

By Aaron Love 10 months ago


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Exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms people tend to find after they've lost someone they held dearly to them. And don't worry, this is a completely natural reaction, although it can be quite distressing to have to watch. You have to understand that the person is going to be feeling a whole boatload of different emotions all in one go which is only going to mentally drain them as they try to continue going about their life without this person they so truly loved. We'll also discuss how sleeplessness can increase this later...

They're Getting Chest Pains

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Based on all the intense and uncontrollable emotions that someone will be feeling following someone they know losing their lives suffering physical symptoms like chest pains is completely natural and shouldn't be something particularly disturbing. Naturally, when someone feels intensely sad or angry they can begin to feel as though their chest is beginning to tighten. Some people like to compare their tight chest as almost the burden they're now carrying following a loss of someone they love. It's incredibly upsetting really.

They Have An Upset Stomach

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Just like your intense emotions can cause your body to begin feeling tight in the chest, supposedly it's the same when it comes to the health of your lower stomach as well, not just your upper body. This can come about based off of a few potential reasons, one of which is that grief can actually trigger a lot of stress within people who have lost loved ones; these stress hormones can incease the chance of suffering from stomach aches! Besides this, someone might be eating differently or you could follow the mindset that the mind and body are connected!

They Seem Breathless

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I suppose feeling breathless and having a tight chest could be grouped together but I felt as though they were different enough to become their own separate points! It's not uncommon for people to notice that their breathing patterns can change as a result of someone they know dying! In fact, this intense feeling of emotional distress is actually commonly associated with hyperventilation. You'll all be aware that the rapid breathing can cause the human body to become breathless and therefore quite lightheaded. They can also be a sign of panic attacks!

Increased Heart Rate

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Many of the symptoms people tend to suffer from as a result of grief are all related to the stress that they can begin to feel after losing someone they love. In terms of their heart rase increasing they might begin to suffer from what experts have described as 'hyperarousal' where they are permanently in a state where all of their feelings and emotions are at a much more heightened level than they are used to. Fortunately, like many of the symptoms, this isn't something that they'll probably have to get used to as its usually a temporary response.

They Keep Vomiting

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In a similar fashion to someone feeling like they have an upset stomach, this can also lead to someone vomiting regularly (or more than anyone should be used too!). The stress and grief can be extremely distressing towards the stomach and your gastro tract meaning that it might not function as you're probably used to it working. If you mix this alongside the changes someone might make during their grief to their lifestyle then vomiting isn't as surprising as you might think. Just try and be there for them at all possible times!

They Have Panic Attacks

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We're back talking about that immense emotional distress again, and panic attacks are some of the most common issues people might begin suffering from after losing one of their loved ones. They can be brought on by a whole range of feelings including guilt and anxiousness; but most of all it can cause the person who's feeling upset to begin thinking about their own death in the future (which I'm sure we can all agree we've been terrified of at some point). Unfortunately, there's very little you can do to help them, but people have found some ways to try and work on panic attacks online!

They're Quite Irritable

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Another common response to grief is beginning to feel as though your emotions aren't under your own control! As someone who has recently lost someone they've loved, they're obviously going to be suffering from a number of emotions at the same time which can lead to them being irritable towards you or their close friends and family. They might begin to feel as though they've not got control over their lives anymore and this can cause them to feel frustrated and unfortunately this can cause you to suffer the consequences.

Their Skin Is Becoming More Sensitive

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If you have recently lost someone close to you, or you know someone who's been through this, then you might notice some issues beginning to arise with your skin! Just as some hormones released can affect the stomach, similar things can cause the human skin to become more sensitive than you might have known before that. You've probably heard of the hormone cortisol, and excessive amounts of this can make your skin more reactive to its surroundings. Essentially, there is a strong chance you might notice some more redness, dryness and itchiness!

Wanting To Avoid Light And Noise

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We mentioned the phenomenon of hyperarousal earlier and that's basically the reason that some people like to avoid spending any time around noise and light once they've lost a loved one. None of us want to spend our time around loud noises and bright lights at the best of times, but after a distressing situation are senses can be heightened and things can become even more overwhelming much quicker than we might be used too! Some people also prefer to be alone and in order to give themselves a chance to find some sort of closure. Give them some space!

They Begin Feeling Anxious

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I suppose anxiousness essentially encompasses all of the issues that arise as a result of stress and this can be one of the reasons someone might begin suffering from panic attacks! One of the main issues someone might begin feeling anxious is that they no longer feel safe in their lives, they might be thinking that this is exactly what's coming their way in the future, which is really a terrifying thought. Not only this, but you can become terrified that this is just the first of many losses that you're going to be going through leaving you uncertain!

Feeling Seperate From Themself

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Psychologically, after you've lost someone you love, you can feel as though there's nothing your able to do without trying to detach from your own body. Obviously, that's physically impossible, but many people have claimed that unconsciously detaching from their own grief actually helped offer them some moments of relief. Not only this, but those of you who have had to go through distress like this will probably understand that you can become, somewhat, emotionally numb to the sad feelings. Dissociating is natural, but if it continues for too long some therapy might be the best course of action.

Feeling Depressed

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Unsurprisingly, when someone goes through such an emotional moment in their life, like losing one of their most loved friends or family members, then they can become extremely depressed. It's truly hard to come to terms with the fact that you'll never be able to speak to this person again and in reality, it's one of the toughest things us humans ever have to go through. Depression can be prolonged for endless periods of time and the unfortunate reality is that the sadness never fully fades. This is totally natural and all you can do to help someone is always try and support them.

Wishing It Was Them

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Following on from the fact that someone can feel incredibly depressed after they've lost a loved one, they can often become so overwhelmed by grief that their thoughts aren't as coherent as you might have come to expect from them. A natural response which has been noticed by experts (and you might have been through something like this yourself) is that people tend to wish that it could have been them instead. It can be easy to confuse these emotions with suicidal thoughts but they're likely just showing their grief in their own way!

They Might Become Restless

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Restlessness and feeling exhausted do go hand in hand in the way that the symptoms causing restlessness can lead to the exhaustion. A number of things can cause this however including: being unable to settle on a single emotion, struggling to stick to a natural routine and struggling to find enough relaxation in yourself to be able to fall asleep. Sleep problems are the biggest issue here, as your mind can be so all over the place that there is no way someone is going to be able to relax and get to sleep quickly (or at all!).

They Might Become Hyperactive

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One way that people have found to fight against their overwhelming emotions of grief is to constantly keep themselves active. By permanently distracting their mind it means they are able to suppress all of their depressing thoughts. The issue with this however, is that eventually all of these feelings can build up in to one, very distressing moment, often when people are trying to sleep at night. Essentially, your mind and body are trying their best to keep you going and find a sense of normality within your daily life.

Being Unable To Concentrate

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Losing a sense of concentration after you've lost a loved one is probably something you're all aware of, you can be constantly thinking about the person you've lost which continues to flood your mind with endless emotions. This can cause a number of personal issues, but someone might end up ruining their worklife in this scenario. Death can become such an overwhelming thought in someone's mind that they actually can't concentrate on their job and in some situations has led to job loss! Don't be that kind of boss, look after your employees!

Having Nightmares

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Nightmares are another common occurrence that has been noted by people who have recently lost a loved one, and this can be another cause to someone feeling both restless and exhausted. As your mind attempts to relax, you can unconsciously drift in to the parts of your mind that will terrify you! Although you might have nightmares about the person's loss, it's actually more common that you might have these nightmares about stuff you're already worried or anxious about. Nightmares are horrific to have to deal with so you might want to help introduce some relaxation techniques to the bedtime routine.

Not Eating Anymore

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Quite simply, as a result of all your emotions, people can actually just lose interest in eating any food. The thing is, not eating can be quite dangerous, but the mind can become so focused on other things that food completely falls down the pecking order of importance. So instead of you noticing your hungry or thirsty like you might naturally do, instead these will be suppressed by your feelings for grief. And if you add in to the fact that you might already be dealing with symptoms like vomiting and having a poor stomach you probably don't want to eat.

Comfort Eating

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There is that common movie stereotype that following an emotional situation like a break-up or a death that people can actually turn to comfort eating to make themselves feel better. And this is actually a common occurrence in real life too! As grief can be so overwhelming, people actually use food as a way to provide a form of temporary relief as it can briefly distract them. Comfort foods in particular, consist of high sugar foods like tubs of ice-creams, cookies or cakes, essentially sweet treats that can increase your dopamine levels.

Intensely Wishing They Could Come Back

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This is something every single one of us will feel at some point when we lose a loved one, and it can seem selfish in a way, but all of us will pray and hope that you'd be able to see them at least one more time. This feeling can be increased even further if you might feel that you and the person you lost weren't able to complete your relationship. Maybe you had recently had an argument or you wish you might have been able to tell them you loved them one more time before they were taken away from us.

Constantly Focusing On Lost Ones' Reminders

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Unfortunately, even after the person you lost has been gone for a long period of time, it doesn't mean that the pain goes away. And unfortunately, certain things that we might have associated with that particular person can become quite distressing things for us. For example, if you used to complete specific activities together or went to certain places together then these can become triggers for some emotional and distressing experiences. The worst part about this is that there's no way to get rid of those thoughts, but know they wouldn't want you to keep doing the things you loved.

Thinking Life Is Purposeless

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When you lose someone who had such an important and ever-lasting impact on your life it can be difficult to imagine a world where you have to continue living whilst they're no longer in it with you. It can truly make you question the purpose of, not just your own life, but also the purpose of life as a whole on earth. Now, this is a question that no one has ever been able to answer but we can always try to continue without them. It can be tough to adjust to this new reality, but know that people look at you in the same way you're looking at them.

Not Trusting People

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After the death of someone you love, it can be hard to open up your mind to trust people again, especially as losing someone so close to you has already opened you up to feeling such a sense of pain and abandonment already. Not only this, but in the days and weeks (potentially months) after losing someone you are probably at your most emotionally vulnerable, so how do you know if you're introducing yourself or spending time with someone that you'll be able to trust in the future. They'll get back there eventually though.

Struggling To Complete Daily Tasks

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Obviously, a mix of all the things I've already mentioned can lead to someone being unable to stick to any form of routine. There's very little you can do for yourself when your own mind is throwing you bones left, right and centre and so your concentration loss is mind numbing. You can't blame someone for being unable to keep going about their daily lives because everything has been thrown in the air. So you might witness them struggling to complete tasks like washing themselves or keeping their house clean!

Blaming Themselves

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It has become a common occurrence to see people blame themselves for the death of their friends or family members, even if they weren't around the person when they died, nor could they ever do anything to change the ultimate outcome. This can have some similarities to wishing they had died instead but, typically it can come as a reflection on your interactions with them during their life. Even if the argument you might have had was years ago, you might blame yourself for having something to do with their death.

Reliving Events

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This typically only occurs in situations when the person who lost their loved one was there when they died, particularly in traumatic events like car crashes or similar incidents. Unfortunately, memories aren't something you can just remove from your mind and so they can constantly replay through your mind uncontrollably. Not only this, but the memory is the last and closest thing you'll have to having a physical moment with them again so your mind can trick itself in to THINKING it wants to think about it.


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Headaches are one of the most infuriating symptoms that someone can get as a result of the grief they're feeling after losing a loved one. Intense emotions can be incredibly distressing to the human body causing stress as we've already mentioned and one of the common problems that arise from this are migraines or tension headaches. If the sufferer already constantly suffers from headaches then these can become even more of a problem. The symptom can even be worsened as a result of a lack of sleep or eating/drinking habits.

Ruining Relationships

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This might be something that people don't instantly recognise when someone loses a loved one, but your relationships can take a turn for the worse! As a result of all the emotions someone might be feeling, it can be easy for them to spontaneously act out or become angry and volatile towards people even though they don't actually deserve any of it. It's not only anger either, your communication skills can also suffer when you're suffering from grief and depression as you lose the ability to express yourself.

Turning To Alcohol

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There are a whole range of ways that people use to try and counter-act their grief; some of these ways are very positive steps like turning to therapy or simply spending time with their friends. But some people actually end up turning towards some more negative ways to avoid thinking about the bad parts of their life. Alcohol has always been a thing that people have used to numb their emotions and although it might work for a brief period of time it will only begin to cause you even more problems in the long run.