Grief 101: Mind, Body, & Soul

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Meredith Naidorf, MD
Psychiatrist in Private Practice
New York, NY
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Grief is a reaction to loss
Which invites the question….
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Death
Breakup
End of any important relationship
Realization a dream will never come true
(infertility, fantasy about perfect parents)
Early Loss coming up again later
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Emotions
Thoughts
Sixth Sense Experiences
Physical Sensations
Behaviors
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Loss may be something that happens to you,
but grief is a process you go through
There is no right or wrong way to grieve
Grieving and not grieving can both change you
Denial and the wish not to grieve
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There is no prescription, no right way, no
wrong way
Models that describe grievers
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
 Bowlby and Parkes
 Worden
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The 5 stages:
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Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance
Designed for grief over one’s own impending
death
It’s a cycle, not a straight line (or a vortex)
Meant to be descriptive, not prescriptive
Wish for the world to make sense again
No one can tell you how to grieve
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Acceptance of your own process
Listen to your needs and be kind to yourself
Family and Friends
Support Groups like AMF
Therapy
Are medications appropriate?
Grief as a spiritual or religious journey
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Try to give yourself permission to feel however
you feel right now
Feeling sad (or any other emotion) now does
not mean you will feel sad forever
Engaging in the process will help you to come
out on the other side
Refusing to feel our feelings leaves us frozen in
time with those difficult feelings we are scared
to engage with
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Try not to judge yourself for feeling however
you feel
And if you do judge yourself, try to let that be
without judging the judgment
Ask yourself what you need right now, what
would feel like the best self care
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Great if they’re supportive
It’s ok if you don’t experience your friends or
family as understanding– you don’t have to
reach out if it makes you feel worse
Just being around people who care about you
may feel soothing.
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Connecting through your grief
Letting yourself be known by people who want
to support you
Grief is not a contest
You are not alone, others have had similar
experiences
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Therapy is a special way of talking and
listening that is helpful
Many types
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Supportive
Psychodynamic
Mindfulness-based
Mixed modality
Different from friendship
Can be transformational
Is there a stigma?
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Grief and Depression are different
It’s normal and healthy to feel sad over a loss
You might want to consider meds if:
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Recurrent suicidal thoughts
Mood/anxiety getting in the way of functioning
over time
Prolonged sleep/appetite/energy/concentration
disturbances
Meds and therapy are not mutually exclusive–
they can work well together
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Grief can be a transformational experience
Deeper relationship to self, other, the world
Widen your awareness
Meditation while grieving
Yoga while grieving
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Grief is a reaction to loss that may be
experienced in mind, body, and soul
Each person’s grieving process, like each
person, may have similarities and differences
with others
Ask yourself what you need most right now.
Resources available include self-love and
acceptance, drawing support from family and
friends, support groups like AMF,
psychotherapy, medication, spiritual practice
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Meredith Naidorf, MD
(917) 880-7585
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Thank you!
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