The death of someone you care about can be very difficult. You can also be upset about the death of an animal or pet. This can hurt as much as a relative or friend dying. It’s natural to have strong reactions when someone you love or are close to dies.
You might feel:
- like you can’t handle things
- scared, numb or that you’ve lost control
- worried that you may never feel okay again.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to feel better straight away. These feelings will change over time. It’s important to accept how you feel.
It’s important to remember that feeling upset, scared or worried is normal. It’s natural for you to feel this way if someone has died. You might find these emotions very tough to deal with but there are things that can help you cope.
It may feel difficult to talk to people who are close to you, who are also grieving. You might worry that you’ll upset them more. If your family can share their feelings then that can be helpful. But if not, there are other people you can talk to – see below. After some time, your family may feel ready to talk about things.
Nobody can tell you how you should be feeling about the death of someone close – everyone has their own way of dealing with loss. Crying is one way, and is not a weakness. It can be a huge relief to cry your feelings out. If you don’t feel like crying, don’t worry. That’s also okay. There are many different ways of grieving, so go with how you feel and be patient with yourself. It may take time for your feelings to settle.
Do your best to eat well and get plenty of rest. You may find that you want to sleep more, especially soon after someone has died. You may also have dreams about the person who has died. This is your body’s way of coping with what has happened. If you feel like it, doing some exercise may help you to de-stress and cope with tiredness and anxiety.
Sometimes people die very unexpectedly. You might find that, as well as the pain of losing someone you love, you’re also dealing with severe shock, anxiety or fear.
If the person you love ended their own life, it can be a very confusing and frightening time for you. If they died as a result of an accident or an attack, you might find that you’re also processing the shock of what happened for a while.
Everyone reacts to death in different ways. Some of the ways that people react include feeling:
Shocked or numb
You might have trouble believing that the person has died, or feel like you can’t take it in. You might have thoughts and feelings that you haven’t felt before.
You might be angry at other people, or at the person who has died. It’s also normal to be angry with anything else, even normal things that you aren’t usually bothered by. All of these feelings are natural reactions to losing someone you love.
You might be blaming yourself in some way for what has happened. Maybe you had an argument before they died. Or regret something you said or did. There might be something you wish you could have done. It’s normal to be left with these difficult feelings. But it’s important not to blame yourself. It might be helpful to ask yourself what the person you’ve lost might say about your feelings. Would they want you to feel responsible for things in the past that can no longer be changed? What might they say to you if they were still able to talk to you?
It may seem like everything has changed very suddenly. This can feel very scary. You might also be worried about practical things such as money or where you’re going to live. Things may not be the same. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be happier times in the future.
If someone was very ill or was suffering you might feel relief that their pain has stopped. You might feel relieved or happy if someone who was hurting you or abusing you has died. All of these thoughts and feelings are normal. It can be helpful to talk to someone you trust about how you feel.
You might feel like life has no meaning anymore, and that you don’t know how to go on. You may feel that you want to be with the person who has died. Be patient – in time you may find it is easier to cope.
Content from Childline website, with permission: https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/your-feelings/feelings-emotions/when-someone-dies/
Winston’s Wish – the charity for bereaved children – run a drop-in for young people, families and professions at the Armadillo Youth Café in Yate, every last Tuesday of the month, 2pm-3.30pm.
Winston’s Wish also offers support, guidance and information for anyone caring for a bereaved child or a child facing the imminent death of a family member. Helpline 08088 020 021 www.winstonswish.org.uk/
Schools employ a variety of people to look after your wellbeing. Some of the titles of these staff may vary in your school but you will be able to find out about them from a teacher. Most schools have a nurse who will either have a drop-in clinic or you can make an appointment to see them.
GP – you can make an appointment to visit your doctor or a nurse at the surgery to talk about any worries or concerns you have. Call your GP surgery to speak to the receptionist or go there in person. The receptionist will probably ask you who the appointment is for and why; this is to make sure that you see the right person at the right time. You don’t have to tell them why – you can just say it’s for something personal if you like.
If you think you’ll might have difficulty discussing your feelings with your GP, you can find advice about how to prepare How to Talk to Your GP About Mental Health
Off the Record – free mental health support for 11-18 year olds. www.otrbristol.org.uk, 0808 808 9120.
South Gloucestershire Talking Therapies – free support for people aged 16 and over. https://iapt-sglos.awp.nhs.uk/, 0117 378 4270.
ChildLine – free helpline for children and young people to talk about any problem 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk
The Mix: telephone and email support for under 25’s. Freephone 0808 808 4994 (1pm-11pm) Crisis Messenger 85258, www.themix.org.uk
Samaritans – if something is troubling you call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get self-help – free online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) resources, www.getselfhelp.co.uk.
Reading Well: Shelf Help – a list of recommended books to help young people deal with a range of issues, available in all libraries. https://reading-well.org.uk/books/books-on-prescription/young-people-mental-health