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I was in class one day and the lecturer started speaking about how death affects us all in different ways but also how there is a common theory among the mental health community. It is that when we experience a breakup, leaving/losing your job, the death of a family pet, or when you end a toxic friendship or you are experiencing health difficulties we go through the 5 stages of grief.

I don’t think when you’re young that you ever expect to experience grief. I have always felt I should live every day like it is my last and that I shouldn’t think about death.

Grief is a funny thing, in that you are unsure of how to deal with it and how it can be hard to accept it as a natural response to losing someone. If I was to describe grief, it would be this explosion of anger, regret, and sadness. I felt like it wasn’t true, I felt so angry for not doing more to stop their death, I bargained with myself to stop this happening, I was so sad about losing them and I tried my best to accept what happened which was the most difficulty I had to eventually go through.

When I experienced the grief of the loss of my friend, it happened very fast, within a couple of hours and I just felt angry afterward for about a week. Even though grief isn’t something we can touch or see, it can affect us physically. Which in my case, was feeling so tired for days on end but not being able to go to sleep throughout my grief. There is no timeline on grief, we all must accept loss eventually, but at what point is up to us as individuals? We must be patient and accept what happens when it happens.

Grief is synonymous with death, but it can be so much more than we can ever expect. We live in a society where feeling bad isn’t okay and we have created a stigma around mental health. To live in a society where we can be more open and honest with ourselves, we must first accept we’re going to have bad days, by doing this we can start to chip away at the stigma that is hurting people of all ages.

Moving on and accepting the death of a loved one isn’t about forgetting them, it is going on with your life because I think we have to fight for a better world where we honor the life of a loved one.

We all experience grief differently which means you might have a different experience of grief which can be none or all the above, this is my experience.

Conor, Freelance Journalist

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Other useful resources:

TURN2ME: Support for anyone feeling anxious, sad or lonely.

YOURMENTALHEALTH: Lots of information about Mental Health in Ireland.

SAMARITANS: This helpline is open 24 hours a day and completely confidential. Call 116 123.

SPUN OUT:  This is a one stop shop for all mental health issues. The articles are very matter of fact, helpful and all bases are covered.