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Coping with Loss and Grief in an Uncertain World

'Nothing Gold Can Stay' by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

The COVID pandemic has brought into stark focus what it is like to live in a world where nothing is certain. Existentially it has brought people closer to each other, but in some ways has brought a great deal of suffering, fear and isolation.

As human beings we are conscious of our own existence and are aware, consciously or not, that one day we will die. The pandemic has made people more aware of this.

It is a very human experience to grieve for a loss. However, sometimes people get stuck in grief because they cannot process the intensity of feelings. For grief and loss there is no exact solution, however talking about ones felt experience (of what it is like for you personally) or of something meaningful with another person can be helpful and healing. A therapist can help you hold the experience so you are not alone, and guide you throught he natural process. It can help to be with someone who can also be with you, and therefore be present with you in your grief, to help you come to terms with the loss.

“Grief is not a disease, but some people nevertheless become ill from grief. Freud was one of the first to attempt to understand why.” Tormud Knotsun, 2020

"Grief is a condition that all humans experience when they lose a loved one. Freud pointed out that this can also apply to the loss of fatherland, freedom or an ideal. He claimed that it is wrong to regard grief as pathological and something requiring treatment. Grief passes after some time, and upsetting this process unnecessarily may be harmful. By this, Freud meant that we should trust the human ability to endure stresses and strains and overcome hardship through personal effort." (Tormod Knutsen 30. 03. 2020)

Freud was no stranger to grief and sorrow. He witnessed both World Wars, trying to make sense of the losses and grief mankind was putting itself through. How to make sense of something nonsensical? How could he help people deal with their grief but also face the darker side of humanity of which we are all a part. Freud wrote reflective pieces in response to his his own losses and grief. He lost his daughter Sophie to the Spanish Flu and then his grandson (Sophie’s Son) died from tuberculosis aged 4 years old. Freud himself became unwell in 1923 suffering from cancer of the jaw. He went through many losses and much grief himself; both in his working life (during his splits with colleagues such as Carl Jung and Joseph Breuer) and with psychoanalysis itself which he was attempting to put on the neuroscientific map of the day as a valid means of healing people, both psychologically and emotionally. It wasn’t about trying to escape from the stresses of life but trying to help people come to terms with how life actually is. To find a reason and better way to live if at all possible.

If you feel you need help to process your grief, to have someone experience it with you and help guide you, then consider contacting Amanda to see if therapy is right for you.

'Mental Fight' by Ben Okri

You can’t remake the world
Without remaking yourself.
Each new era begins within.
It is an inward event,
With unsuspected possibilities
For inner liberation.