Blog | Insights

Can you recover from mental illness or grief?

Many people believe that mental illness or grief is something you get over, like we do with a physical illness.

But is that really the case? Can we ever really ‘recover’?

Recovery in itself is a broad term and can mean different things for different people.

For some it will mean no longer having symptoms of their mental health condition, or symptoms of grief. For others, recovery means being able to manage those symptoms and gain control of their life.

Grief or mental illness can manifest itself in many ways, such as reduced concentration, a sense of numbness, disrupted sleep, changed eating habits and a rollercoaster of emotional energy.

Most often grief arises from a bereavement but it can also be from another huge life event, such as the end of a relationship.

Sometimes people are experiencing what we call ‘anticipatory grief’, for example if a loved one has a terminal illness.

Most people expect to reach a point where they ‘recover’ in some way and when they don’t, they may decide to seek help.

People come to me in the hope that I can help them find ways to cope, to take back control and learn to live with their condition or situation.

Mostly, people just want to feel better; they want to feel like they can enjoy life again without disrespecting their loved ones. Carrying all that grief can be an extremely heavy burden to bear.

Often, we carry unresolved grief, which can mean you are unwilling to talk about someone who has died, or express feelings about it.

Fond memories become painful and we may end up with deep-seated fears associated with relationships.

Well-meaning friends or colleagues will of course try to help, but sometimes their best-intentioned comments make things worse.

These unhelpful comments include:

  • “Time heals” –  Time alone does not heal, but rather the action you take.
  • “You need some space” –  We can grow up believing that sad feelings should be hidden or experienced alone, we are told to give people space, or let them have a few minutes alone. When  having space to talk about feelings and thoughts can be more helpful.
  • “Be strong.”- Can be another way of saying don’t show your emotions. It’s helpful to provide a listening ear for people to express their true feelings.
  • “Keep busy.” –  This may help in the short term but sometimes means people spend years never dealing with their suppressed emotions.

The Grief Recovery Method ® teaches us that most of us have never been given the necessary information with which to make the correct choices in response to a loss of some kind.

As a certified Grief Recovery Method Specialist I use the Grief Recovery Method ® to give people the information and the tools to help them move forward.

Recovery, to me, means feeling better, without the fear of being hurt again; being able to enjoy memories without feeling pain, acknowledging that it is perfectly OK to feel sad from time to time and acquiring the right skills to deal with loss and grief. It is about feeling lighter and learning from our experience, but not allowing it to limit our lives.

I can offer people in this situation the HELP they need:

H – Help – showing the possibilities

E – Empathy – seeing things from the griever’s point of view

L – Listening – hearing what’s important and why

P – Practical – giving evidence-based tools that help aid recovery

If you are struggling with grief or mental illness, talk to someone who will listen non-judgmentally, explore your options and take actions. They only need to be small steps, but you can start taking them today.

Contact me to see how I can offer you the help that you need.

Browse more content

Embracing your inner critic: exploring the power of internal family systems

Mental Health Awareness week 2024

Mindfulness and achieving a good work-life balance