How to Deal With an Emotional Breakdown After a Devastating Loss


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I was asked recently to write an article on loss and grief for My first reaction was interesting… I’m not a therapist, counselor or doctor, what do I know about loss? But as I looked back on my life thus far, I realized I happen to be an expert on this topic.

I’m no stranger to loss. I’ve lost friends, grandparents, jobs, pets. I’ve made major changes in my life, many moves to different cities and countries where I felt the sadness and loss of what I knew, friendships and familiarity. I’ve felt the heartache and pain of leaving relationships with people I loved and some I thought I’d spend a lifetime with. I’ve left jobs and experienced the sadness that comes with that change, even if it was something I had chosen. I lost physical capabilities I had always prided myself on and at one point, even felt like I lost myself. I only realized, as I reflected on my life at a workshop earlier this year, how much loss I have really experienced and the impact that has had on who I am.

The reality of life is that we will all experience loss. No one is immune to the feelings of grief and sadness. Whether you relate to losing a job, a home, an important relationship, a hope or dream, your sense of self, a physical ability or mobility, confidence, or most devastating, the loss of a loved one, loss is everywhere. We must all learn how to work through it so we can return to live our lives once again. 

The question becomes, what do you do when you have no idea what to do? How do you proceed when you have little hope, life is dark, you’re full of grief, guilt and pain?

To answer this question, I interviewed seven experts on loss from a variety of different backgrounds. In this article, they share their advice, words of wisdom, practical strategies, insights and recommendations on how to deal with an emotional breakdown after a devastating loss. 

What did I learn from these incredible experts?

There is no right or wrong way to grieve after loss. There is no one or best solution. This is your journey. And there are many ways to mourn and heal. My hope is that at least one of these strategies or insights helps you navigate whatever you may be experiencing right now and bring some light, hope and something to grab onto amongst the confusion and pain.  

And ultimately, though you may be feeling deep pain, darkness and despair right now, know this. It will get better. You won't always feel like this. You will feel love again. Joy again. Life again. Whether or not you can see it right now, this loss will be another step forward, another experience woven into the fabric of your beautiful life.

With Love,

P.S. If you know someone who’s facing a  loss and you don’t know how to help, please pass on these important strategies and resources. As you’ll read in the article, community, friends, and knowing you have someone who’s there for you is critical in these times.

Featured photo credit: Anton Darius | @theSollers via