I have come to realize that there are topics that I enjoy writing about more than others. Naturally these are the topics that are easy for me, and probably others. So in true fashion of my stubborn self writing about grief was difficult for me and brought up a lot of emotion.
No matter if we are grieving over a loved one, a pet, a lost job, a traumatic event, a breakup, a friendship, or even a lost item, we as humans have all felt what we can define as grief. Before starting my job in this field I not only misunderstood grief but I was never fully taught on how to handle grief. For me and most of my family, emotions are not the easiest for us, especially the ugly ones. They make me squirm, but I’m working on it! I have realized that by denying myself and others emotional processing, especially grief, I was creating a bigger problem. Since learning about grief and ways to process the experience, I have learned to allow my clients, friends and family members the space to process whatever they need when they need it. Grief is scary and sometimes it swallows you whole. However, if you continue to work at it eventually it will spit you out. There is no time frame or emotional scale of how much someone should or shouldn’t grieve. We should not feel guilt or shame because we did not grieve enough, or too much.
"Be compassionate with yourself and allow yourself the time to heal, in whatever way you need. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable and heal you open that door for others and that’s something that we could all use once in a while. Love is a universal language, and I fully intend to spread that. "
In the true nature of this world, grief and heartache have become so normalized that it’s almost numbing to humans. I see it in kids, adults, clients and personal loved ones. Grief is uncomfortable for the person experiencing it and others that are around a grieving person. I will never forget the first time someone truly cried in my office. Talk about caught off guard and panic mode! What do I say? How do I act? I always try to remember to act the way I would want someone to approach me, with love and empathy. Often times the best response to a grieving person is no response, just holding space for them to cry and be silent. Grief has been a topic that I not only have feared in the past, but come to understand that I will never fully comprehend the process ( and that’s okay ) no matter how much I read or look it in the face. I’ve come to understand that grief resembles water; it can be shallow and deep all at the same time. It can hurt, but also be soothing. It comes in waves crashing over you, or gently caressing you. There is no proper way to grieve, merely our perceptions of how it’s supposed to look. There are of course some more healthier ways than others to grieve but who am I to define that for someone else? Grief is as unique as we are individuals and I have come to understand that the process is incredibly individualized and that’s the way it is. As we move forward as humans, I believe that allowing people the time to heal and cry is so invaluable and necessary. Allow your children to process emotions, allow others and mostly allow yourself. To my clients, family members and friends that have allowed me to be a part of your journey thank you! I am truly grateful. There is nothing more captivating to me than the healing process.
Alex Atkinson is a Licensed Alcohol Drug, and Mental Health Counselor. Alex received a Bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Psychology. She received her Master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Substance Abuse Counseling. Alex has experience working with children and adults on a wide variety of issues including anxiety, depression, anger, behavioral issues, substance abuse, life skills, trauma and grief. Her passion is diagnosing and treating drug addicts, alcoholics, and family members impacted by addiction. Alex believes in a holistic counseling approach allowing clients to grow into the best version of themselves. In her free time Alex enjoys traveling , volunteering , yoga and reading.