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Showing posts with label trauma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trauma. Show all posts

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Managing My Grief workshop: for the bereaved to find support

Locations for Managing My Grief workshops.
Image provided and used with permission.

Grief is a powerful emotion. Whether you have lost a parent, loved one, friend, colleague or simply someone you looked up to, when that day happens, you will feel grief.

Healthcare workers and military personnel are often offered courses similar to Managing My Grief, but many others, like me, had no clue what would happen and how we would feel. Trauma and distress can have a deep and lasting effect on anyone, and can manifest in many ways. Tiffani Dilworth’s courses aim to help us through the traumatic process of grief. Even if we don’t recognize it as such, humans feel grief many times throughout our lives. It’s not just losing someone either. Grief can follow leaving an abusive or bad relationship, leaving a stressful job, the breakup of a marriage, even retirement. Sometimes it’s passing; mourning someone we didn’t know so well, such as a celebrity or public figure. Sometimes it’s grief caused by missing someone. Maybe they passed away suddenly, or were a long time friend with whom we have lost touch. But sometimes, for all the preparation in the world, the loss is big and huge and enormous and all-encompassing, such as the death of a parent, spouse or child. We find ourselves adrift, bereft, heartbroken and struggling to cope with even the simplest things. Even those closest to us don’t know what to say, how to react.

The next Managing My Grief workshops are in Baltimore, MD in April and September; Arlington, VA in June; and Richmond, VA in December. My advice is that you should attend, because, like I did, you will find out that you are not alone. Even if your coworkers, friends and family are struggling to understand, in these workshops you will find others in a similar position. As I did with my group, together you will learn how to understand your grief triggers and how to guide yourself to a safe place when you need to regain stability.

One of my longest standing friends is a former nurse, who moved into the funeral arrangement business after leaving nursing. She often says that grief takes many forms, and mourning is both complicated and very individual. She knows how to help her families through that process, and the Managing My Grief course aims likewise to help those who grieve to help themselves understand, manage and navigate the process too. This is not to say you shouldn’t grieve - you should, it’s a natural reaction - but managing the depths and avoiding an unhealthy mental and emotional state is key. These groups are support groups as much as anything else, like-minded souls who find strength together. One of my group rings me every few weeks, because talking is his way of coping. A fellow cat lover shares daily cat photos on social media with motivational and positive thoughts. Another regularly posts photos of our favorite musician, captioned with his name and the words 'Good Morning'. This reminds her that she has another day to listen to his music, to continue the healing process. We are not stuck in our grieving process any more; we are moving onward.

Tiffani Dilworth is a licensed clinical professional counselor who specializes in depression and PTSD, among other areas. She offers course delegates a selection of techniques drawn from various forms of behavioral therapy and is experienced in dealing with small groups, families and youth of all ages. Ms Dilworth is also a noted motivational speaker, so these Managing My Grief workshops will hold your attention no matter what your current headspace. I should know. My coping mechanism was to smack my headphones on and dial up the music volume so I couldn’t hear any of the concerned questions from people around me. Ms Dilworth made me take the headphones off and listen to her instead. Much more useful. She can help people at any stage in the grieving process to understand their struggles and move on constructively. No matter how you came to be grieving, what or whom you are missing. That’s much more helpful than effectively telling everyone ‘la la la I can’t hear you!’

My final piece of advice is to stick with the course. It may be hard, emotional or draining, but you will get the best out of a Managing My Grief workshop by hearing Tiffani out. She has some good ideas, so you owe it to yourself to hear them.