Normal Reactions to Loss and Stress
I have gathered information that may be helpful to some people as we mourn the loss of Basilio Quiet Montilla. This post is about normal reactions to loss and stress.
There is no right way to respond to tragic events and the loss of someone you love and care about. Reactions vary from person to person, sometimes happening right after the event or weeks or even months later.
Here are examples of normal reactions to stressful and tragic events. One important thing to notice is that not all reactions are negative or unpleasant:
Some people experience exhaustion, headaches, chest pains, difficulties breathing, rapid heartbeat, sweating and gastrointestinal problems. Stress can also worsen existing medical conditions. Sometimes stress can be a positive force, motivating you to perform better and push through hard times.
Shock, fear, anxiety, anger, agitation, irritability, & guilt are normal. Some people may experience depression. But positive emotions are surprisingly common in people who are mourning loss, even relatively soon after the loss. Positive emotions are not always experienced right away, but if so it’s a good thing.
Confusion, forgetfulness, difficulties concentrating and making decisions, nightmares and flash backs happen sometimes. You may also become more mindful, focusing on the realities of life and living in the moment.
Uncharacteristic behavior may happen, such as restlessness and argumentativeness, hyperactivity or withdrawal, change in eating and sleeping habits, crying, emotional outbursts, conflicts at home and at work, smoking, drugs or alcohol use and abuse. You may also get more involved in activities that you are interested in, draw closer to friends and family, and become more determined to live fully.
You may question basic beliefs and values, or withdrawal from sources spiritual support. You may also receive a lot of comfort from spiritual behaviors and your spiritual community.
People have an incredible ability to come back stronger when knocked down by life. So it is OK feel positive, laugh, and remember good times when stressed. It is healthy to feel hopeful and take care of ourselves even when experiencing pain and loss. It is common for both pleasant and unpleasant emotions and reactions to happen at the same time when dealing with stress and loss.
Mani García-Lesy is a doctoral student in Health Psychology and Clinical Science at the City University of New York. He has a Master's Degree in Psychology from Stony Brook University. Mani currently works as a psychotherapy extern at Gouverneur Healthcare Center and Lexington Mental Health Services for the Deaf. Mani specializes in researching and treating physical and mental health symptoms related to depression, anxiety, stress, and trauma.