by Andrea M. Darcy
Life can give, but it can also take away without warning. And we all know that when what is lost is a loved one or a relationship that matters, it can lead to bereavement and loss.
But what about losing something you love like an ongoing social event you’ve attended for years, a volunteering job you loved, some aspect of your health or fitness, or even an object that was very precious to you?
The emotional cost of losing something you love
It is absolutely possible to experience feelings of loss, bereavement and grief even if what we lost isn’t a person. This can look like:
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Why I am so upset about losing something I loved?
It is rarely the actual thing itself that we are mourning. It’s what the thing represented to us.
This can include things like:
So it’s not just that the weekly card came you’ve enjoyed for ten years has ended, it’s that with it has gone your sense of stability and belonging. You are not just losing your grandmother’s necklace you inherited, you are losing your sense of being responsible and feeling connected. Who wouldn’t mourn that?
But aren’t I overreacting?
Experiencing really big emotions around losing something you loved? It can be down to core beliefs and repressed emotions.
Core beliefs are the ideas we form about ourselves and the world when we are children. We then live out these assumptions as if they are facts, not even realising we are being controlled by them.
Losing something we care about can trigger these beliefs, which can sound like, ‘the world is a dangerous place’, ‘I deserve bad things’, ‘I can’t be trusted’.
Such thoughts are obviously distorted thinking. But they are what many of us unconsciously think.
And when our negative core beliefs are stirred up, it also triggers the repressed emotions connected to the difficult experiences that formed such beliefs. Suddenly we feel really sad, or really angry, not realising we are expressing years worth of backed up feelings, or what some call ‘being triggered’.
What can I do to feel better after losing something I loved?
1. Don’t beat yourself up.
It is actually okay and normal to be upset for weeks to come when you lose something you relied on.
Telling yourself to ‘stop being such a wimp’ or to ‘grow up’ is not helpful. Imagine you are talking to your best friend. Would you tell him/her to ‘not be so dramatic‘, or would you understand that losing something they valued has left them feeling vulnerable?
2. Give yourself time.
Consider it like a kind of mourning. Mourning takes time, and everyone has their own timeline here. You will move on when you are ready, and that is the perfect timing.
3. Do some digging.
The best way to get over something is often to go through it. If you can get to what is really going on for you, what the lost thing has triggered, then you can process the real issues and emotions.
Journaling can be great here, as can be talking to trusted friends. Free form discussion is good to see what comes up. But also ask yourself good questions that begin with how/what (why questions tend to be rabbit holes). This includes things like:
- what did losing this thing make me feel?
- how does my life now feel different than it did before the loss?
- if I could tell the object/experience/event that I lost something, what would it be?
- what might I have really lost here, behind the obvious?
- what goals could I set to get back that sense of worth/connection/trust in other ways?
When is the time to seek proper support?
If it’s been more than six weeks and you are still feeling low or edgy, it’s worth reaching out for professional support. It’s possible that the loss of something you loved has triggered anxiety or depression.
A professional counsellor or psychotherapist can help you unravel just what the loss has triggered for you, and create a warm, non judgemental environment for you to explore your feelings and thoughts.
For affordable counselling worldwide, please visit our sister site harleytherapy.com to book therapy seven days a week by online, phone or in person with our qualified, professional counsellors and psychotherapists.
Andrea M. Darcy is a health and wellbeing writer as well as mentor who often writes about trauma, relationships, and ADHD. Find her on Instagram @am_darcy