In recovery, some are still learning how to manage overwhelming emotions. These emotions can be amplified when you experience traumatic events, including loss. Losing a loved one can affect your mental health and recovery.
Coping with the loss of a loved one is challenging, especially in recovery. Feelings of depression, anger, and guilt can all build up. In some cases, a loss can even cause those in recovery to experience feelings of wanting to relapse.
Coping With Loss: How to Manage Overwhelming Emotions
Building coping skills are a vital part of managing feelings and emotions. One thing to acknowledge when building coping skills is the stages of grief that you will experience.
The five stages of grief can include:
- Denial: In this stage of grief, people tend to deny that they truly lost a loved one.
- Anger: During this stage, some may express their feelings through aggression. This is aimed at either themselves for not being there, doctors or first responders for not saving their loved one, or even their loved one who passed for leaving them behind.
- Bargaining: This can sometimes happen before a loved one passes, and it’s when some start to say things like, “If they live, I will never argue with them again.” Or when a loved one does pass, stating something like, “If only I did this, then they wouldn’t have passed.”
- Depression: Feeling depression over a loved one is normal, but during this stage, it can be more intense and solely about losing a loved one.
- Acceptance: In the final stages of grief, you start to process the rollercoaster of emotions you have felt. You begin to accept the reality of the situation. This doesn’t mean that you are completely healed or over the loss of your loved one. It means you are ready to start taking the steps in moving forward toward healing.
Once you can better understand what comes with grief, you can learn how to create coping methods.
Seeking professional help can aid in healing when guiding people through their emotions. At Healing Pines Recovery, we offer dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which helps people regulate their emotional responses. DBT also helps individuals build skills to overcome intense emotions.
Many don’t fully understand their feelings, which can be why they feel so overwhelmed. Support from family members and friends is also critical. Dealing with loss can already make one feel alone or abandoned, so being with other loved ones can help ease some of the burden.
How to Cope with Grief and Loss
Another way to help deal with a loss is to have a support system. This can be of family or friends you trust and feel comfortable with. Isolation, when going through a loss, can cause some to fall deeper into depression or other overwhelming emotions. Along with having family members and friends with you during this time, you can also seek professional help.
If you are working with a therapist in recovery, they can also be a powerful resource to talk about loss and overwhelming emotions. Talking to a therapist can also be a great way to express your feelings if you are not ready to talk to your family or others. With a professional there to guide you through these difficult times, it can help you feel fully supported.
How to Manage Feelings of Relapse: Notice the Signs
With the build-up of intense emotions that come with death, some in recovery may also start feeling like relapsing. For many people, substance use is a way to escape their feelings of trauma. Noticing the warning signs of relapse is the first step in preventing this.
Noticing the stages of relapse can help prevent it from happening, as well as noticing the signs of each stage. These stages include:
- Emotional relapse: During an emotional relapse, a person is not thinking about using again but rather about previous relapses. This can cause someone to think about substance use unconsciously.
- Emotional relapse warning signs: This surfaces as bottling up emotions, isolation, going to treatment but not sharing, and poor eating and sleeping habits.
- Mental relapse is when someone is having an internal war with themselves. One side says they want to use substances again, and the other says they don’t.
- Mental relapse warning signs: Craving for drugs or alcohol and thinking about people or places associated with past substance use occur here. It also includes lying, looking for opportunities to use substances again, and planning to relapse.
- Physical relapse: As the name of this stage states, this is when someone physically does start to use again.
Avoiding relapse is one of the main goals Healing Pines Recovery seeks to meet. We can teach you how to avoid relapse through treatment and holistic programs—learning to notice the signs that you are overwhelmed and when to reach out for help can greatly lower the risks of relapse.
Remember that you do not have to go through these feelings alone, and it is never bad to ask for help. At Healing Pines Recovery, we provide clients with the tools needed to cope with intense emotions and teach them the skills how to build a proper support system. Healing Pines Recovery wants to help build a world where you can handle emotional situations and live free of substances.
Losing a loved one can take a toll on mental health and emotions. This can be especially hard for those who are also working through recovery. Some people are already trying to learn to cope with overwhelming emotions, and a loss can make those feelings even more intense.
Healing Pines Recovery is here to help you learn how to handle upsetting situations like a loss. Through treatment like dialectical behavioral therapy, it is possible to gain control over your emotions. This can even lead to feelings of wanting to relapse.
If you identify as male and need help with recovery and overwhelming emotions, reach out to Healing Pines Recovery today at (720) 575-2621.