Coping With Loss: Understanding The Types Of Grief

Coping With Loss: Understanding The Types Of Grief

Grief is a normal and natural response to loss – whether it is the loss of someone or something that an individual holds near and dear to them. Experiences with grief can vary and be influenced by the nature of the loss or the individual’s response to coping with such overwhelming and complex emotions. Some examples of losses that could trigger grief include losing a loved one, losing a job, ending a relationship or marriage, and more. In this article, we discuss the various types of grief that an individual might go through when dealing with loss.

Types of grief

As mentioned above, everyone grieves differently. Some individuals may find themselves feeling numb, while others may find it challenging to carry on with their everyday lives because they are overwhelmed with emotions.

Mourning can typically last for months or even years, and certain reminders may also trigger intense emotions and reactions in an individual coping with loss.

Here are some types of grief that people may experience:

1. Normal grief

The emotions that most people feel in the initial weeks or months following a loss are referred to as “normal” grief. Some of the common responses that people may experience whilst grieving include:

  • Crying
  • Changes in appetite, typically a decrease in appetite
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
  • Feeling lethargic and experiencing an overall lack of energy
  • Feelings of loneliness or emptiness, but still experiencing moments of happiness
  • Feelings of guilt or regret for not doing enough for the deceased when he or she was still alive

While there is no set timetable for the grieving period, “normal” grief typically will get better over time as people learn how to accept or cope with the loss. The overwhelming feelings or responses are usually temporary, and people are able to adjust back to their daily routines after the grieving period.

2. Chronic grief

In comparison to “normal” grief, chronic grief does not fade over time. This type of grief may leave the individual feeling “trapped” and unable to get back to their usual day-to-day lives. People with chronic grief typically experience similar responses as those with “normal” grief. However, they could also have trouble accepting the reality of the loss or finding hope in the future. This may lead to other severe issues such as self-destructive behaviours, substance abuse, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or suicidal tendencies.

3. Absent or delayed grief

Just because someone does not display the usual signs of grief, it does not mean that they are not grieving. Absent grief is when there is a lack of the typical signs of grief such as crying or being visibly upset. This type of grief is usually most common amongst individuals who experience a sudden or unexpected loss, which could result in shock, numbness, or denial.

Some individuals may even be completely unaware of the fact that they are indeed grieving a loss. Absent grief can also arise when there is a lot going on in one’s life around the time of the loss, so the individual does not have the time or capacity to fully process the intense emotions of loss. Sometimes, these feelings may be triggered at a later time – this is known as delayed grief.

Coping with grief and loss

Grieving is a process that is different for everyone. With time, the overwhelming feelings of sadness will likely ease, and you will be able to return to your daily life again.

However, if you are experiencing symptoms of the common types of depression, overwhelming feelings of guilt or just having a hard time coping in general, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. Unresolved grief may lead to other serious mental and physical conditions. A qualified professional would be able to help you work through your grief and re-establish a sense of control and direction in your life.


Our professional psychotherapist at Emotional Wellness has over 15 years of experience in various therapy services and can help you work through your grief so you can return to a path toward healing. Apart from grief counselling, we also offer professional counselling for depression in Singapore for those who are experiencing symptoms of depression. No matter the type of grief you are experiencing, with professional help, your life can start anew again.

Schedule an appointment with us today and let us help you cope with loss.