What you need to know
Life can be fun and full of good experiences for us all. But life can also throw bad stuff at us all, like bereavements/ losses, health issues and family breakdowns (separation and divorce).
Going through these bad things as a young person can be especially hard, so here are some tips to help you through.
Losing someone important to you or losing a beloved pet can be one of the hardest things to go through in life, especially when you are young, and you feel like you should be having fun.
When someone close to you dies, it can feel as though your world has crashed down all around you. It can feel especially lonely because you may find that none of your friends have gone through anything like this yet, so they may not understand or know what to say for the best.
Grieving comes after someone dies and it is how humans recover from the loss; although everyone will have a different experience of this there are common feelings and experiences that come along:
- Relief (if there was a long illness before and someone was suffering)
- Guilt and regret about things you said/ did or didn’t say/do
These feelings might feel very intense in the first weeks and months after someone dies. You might find it hard to get used to your new life without them. Working out new routines and habits might feel difficult too.
Over time most people find that they can enjoy their life again without these feelings taking over as often and this is OK. This doesn’t mean that you are forgetting about the person or pet that you lost. It just means that you are getting used to your new way of life without them.
There will be times in the months and years to come though when these grief feelings will come back; this is completely normal although it might take you by surprise.
There are some things you can do to help yourself through a bereavement or loss, these include:
- Trying to eat, sleep and keep physically active (if you can); these foundations will keep you feeling well and make it easier to deal with hard thoughts and feelings
- Talk to someone you trust about how you feel
- Share your memories of the person you loved with other people. This helps you keep a good connection to them too.
- Be patient with yourself, these things do take time, speak to yourself kindly
- Let your feelings come out; some people like to write down how they feel in a journal or others like to get creative and let feelings out through artwork or music.
These websites and blogs are good for sharing information and tips for dealing with grief:
How To Deal With Grief and Loss: Young Minds
- You can also call the Cruse Bereavement young people's helpline on 0808 808 1677
- If you are struggling at school or college, speak to a school nurse or one of the teachers to get some more support
- You can always talk to your GP, if you start to feel as though you can’t manage things by yourself. They can discuss options for counselling with you.
If your parents or carers are going through a divorce or separation, it is highly stressful and upsetting for everyone involved, especially for young people and children.
You might feel sad, worried, guilty, angry, or relieved and this is all normal.
It is also common to feel lonely because you might be the only one of your friends who is going through this situation and your friends don’t understand how you are feeling.
There are many reasons adults decide to get a divorce; feelings can be complicated, and life can get hard for them. It can also be confusing to make sense of what has happened when you love your parents or carers, and you have experienced your life so far with them together.
In rarer situations there may be some terrible things happening in your family (violence, verbal aggression, illnesses, or problems with drugs and/or alcohol). In these cases, it is more common for relationships to get damaged and break up.
Whatever the situation there are some things that you can do to help yourself through it so that you can move forward to the next part of your life:
- If you can talk to your parents or carers and tell them how you feel then this is good, if they are supportive this will help you
- If talking to your parents isn’t possible, there is always someone who wants to listen. You can ask at school/ college for help from teachers or school nurses who can advise you
- Try to remember that you are not the reason that your parents or carers are separating. It is easy to take on blame for adult problems when you are younger, but it is never your fault
- Try not to get involved or get in between the conversations that your parents or carers are having; you don’t have to pass messages between them if you don’t want to. Adults need to be handling their conversations, not you
- Stay focused on your strengths as a person, the people who love you, and the dreams that you have for your own future. This will help you feel safe when everything around you feels wobbly
- Hopefully things will settle over time and you will be able to keep a good relationship with your parents or carers. Remember your other relationships too; friends and other family are important so seek out those who are positive and supportive of you.
- The Good Grief Trust provides some information and support for young people.
- Here is a helpful guide on how to best support your child/ children if you are going through a divorce: Divorce and separation: Young Minds