Coping With Grief by R. Murali Krishna, M.D.


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Coping With Grief by R. Murali Krishna, M.D.

R. Murali Krishna, MD, DLFAPA, noted and well respected Oklahoma City psychiatrist, has recently published his first book, VIBRANT: To Heal and Be Whole - From India to Oklahoma City which he coauthored with Kelly Dyer Fry, president of news at OPUBCO. For more information visit

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Coping With Grief by R. Murali Krishna, M.D.

  1. 1. Coping With Grief By R. Murali Krishna, M.D.
  2. 2. We each experience loss from the moment of birth. Loss is part of life, and we must all must deal with it. When loss and grief come your way, what, exactly, will you be dealing with? > Grief pains us deeply at many levels – physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual. > You'll see the results most profoundly in your feelings, which may include anger, guilt, fear, despair, relief, shock, numbness, anxiety and overwhelming sadness.
  3. 3. Physically, you may experience tightness in the chest or throat, difficulty breathing, fatigue or trouble sleeping and eating, and medical research is finding grief make you more likely to develop heart problems, as well. > Socially, you might find yourself withdrawn from others, or you might find yourself seeking others out in order to talk. > Intellectually, your ability to focus on tasks may be diminished, and spiritually you may experience dramatic changes in or reinforcement of your beliefs.
  4. 4. It's not surprising, then, that losing a loved one is one of the most, if not the most, stressful event in a person's life. The stresses are so much that people in acute grief are hospitalized more often for major illnesses, have higher rates of job absenteeism and tardiness, are more prone to accidents and are more susceptible to abuses such as alcoholism and chemical dependency.
  5. 5. How do you begin to cope with an event of such soul-tearing magnitude? > To some degree, your ability to recover will depend on the circumstances of the loss. > A sudden, unexpected death can color and extend your grief because you will have not had time to anticipate and prepare for impending loss. > Adjusting to the loss of a child may take years, while for some the grief over the death of an elderly person with an incurable and painful illness might be softened by knowing that the person's suffering has ended.
  6. 6. How you respond to loss also depends on your own life experiences, your support systems, how well-rounded your lifestyle has been, and the amount, degree and depth of your spiritual understanding. Generally speaking, though, loss can be eased through several means.
  7. 7. 1 Experience the pain > If you shut off your emotions or deny your feelings, you won't move through the phases of grief. > You must confront the pain to later be able to reconstruct and re-energize your life.
  8. 8. 2 Talk to people > For many people, what helps most is to share their feelings. > You need to be able to tell others your memories, anger, fears and sadness. > If there is no one with whom you feel comfortable sharing, you may wish to keep a journal or write a letter to the person who has died. > Sometimes joining a grief support group can be helpful, too.
  9. 9. 3 Ask for help > Your friends want to help but may be uncertain about how best to do so. > It's OK to ask someone to make time to talk with you. > Having someone transport your children, clean your house or do your grocery shopping allows you to spend time in more productive ways. > If figuring out what people can do to help is too big of a task for you – and it may well be – then ask a close friend to take over that task.
  10. 10. 4 Watch your health > In the midst of grief, you may push aside basic health needs like exercise, a good diet and adequate rest. > Each of these things affect your emotional state. > It may be difficult to retain your normal healthy habits, but you should not ignore them.
  11. 11. 5 Explore your inner spirituality > You may well be struggling with tough issues related to life, death and life hereafter. > To come to a comfortable understanding on those issues and to help resolve your grief, this may be a good time to seek support from and conversation about spirituality with close friends or people in your church.
  12. 12. Finally, watch out for depression > Reactions to loss can create feelings and emotions similar to those experienced by people with depressive disorders. > If your grief is extremely severe or long-lasting, you should talk to your physician or a counselor to make sure your grief has not transitioned into depression.
  13. 13. Anyone who's experienced it knows that after an important relationship has been lost, life will never be the same. > There's no way of knowing how long you will be acutely affected, how long you will be distracted and unable to concentrate, how long until your heart quits aching. > If your approach to life is to know what's coming and when it's going to come, you'll be challenged by the uncertain nature of grief.
  14. 14. Grief doesn't work in a logical way. There's no way of knowing how long you will be acutely affected, how long you will be distracted and unable to concentrate, how long until your heart quits aching. If your approach to life is to know what's coming and when it's going to come, you'll be challenged by the uncertain nature of grief.
  15. 15. The other choice is to go through the process of mourning, to arrive at a place in which we can let the person go. We can realize that in this time and space, the person we loved is gone, but that we must adapt to the loss, redefine our purpose and reconstruct our lives.
  16. 16. Think of grief as a block of stone in a field. It can be a stumbling block, causing you to trip and lose your perspective and be a barrier to your progress. > But it can also serve as a step, something which allows you to rise up and enlarge your perspective, giving you the opportunity to rededicate and re-energize your life. > Either way, the stone is the same. > It's what you choose to do with it that will decide your future levels of happiness and fulfillment.
  17. 17. Dr. Krishna is president and chief operating officer of INTEGRIS Mental Health, that provides adult and child/adolescent mental health services in inpatient, residential, outpatient & clinical settings; an employee assistance program; and crisis intervention services. He is also co-founder and president of the James L. Hall, Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit, an educational organization devoted to improving health through raising awareness of the healing power of the connection between mind, body, and spirit.
  18. 18. Author of VIBRANT: To Heal and Be Whole - From India to Oklahoma City, Dr. Krishna reveals the secrets to living a vibrant life while overcoming: • Anxiety • Trauma • Sleep dysfunction • Stress • Obesity • Emotional dysfunction • Depression • Addiction • Substance abuse • Loss • Anger • Unresolved issues • Relationship stress • Mental illness • Alcoholism
  19. 19. R. Murali Krishna, MD, DLFAPA >> Co-Founder & President, James L. Hall, Jr Center for Mind, Body and Spirit >> President & COO, INTEGRIS Mental Health >> President, Oklahoma State Board of Health >> Founding President, Health Alliance for the Uninsured >> Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Univ. of OK Health Sciences Center
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