“What’s Wrong With Me?” The Physical Effects of Grief

We all expect our emotions to be a mess when someone we love dies. What we don’t often anticipate is the toll grief takes on our bodies.

Is hiding your tears defeating the purposeScott, one of the principals here at Grief Compass, is a funeral director and at one point a few years ago he couldn’t figure out why he was having so much trouble concentrating at work—why no matter how much sleep he got, he was always exhausted.

His physical condition became so concerning that he found himself at the Mayo Clinic trying to diagnose what was wrong with him. For him to realize what was wrong, it took a friend, also a funeral professional, pointing out that Scott’s dad had just died a few months ago and what he was experiencing was the physical side of grief. Even someone who works around grief and loss everyday isn’t immune to the baffling physical effects of grief.

Man With Shoulder Pain - IsolatedSo here are a few common physical and mental symptoms of grief. Of course if you’re concerned about any of your symptoms please, absolutely, consult your doctor. Sometimes just seeing a doctor or getting a checkup can offer enough peace of mind to alleviate some anxiety. But here are some conditions that could be attributed to grief:

Fatigue
Hunger
Lack of Hunger
Confusion
Difficulty concentrating
Trouble falling asleep
Trouble staying asleep
Racing thoughts
Waking up tired
Shortness of breath
Irritability
Panic
Aches
Sore muscles
Flashbacks
Upset stomach
Nausea
Headaches
Exhaustion
Muscle tension
Jaw clenching
Mental fog
Lack of attention
Anxiety
Forgetfulness
Apathy
Mood swings
Hyperactivity
Frequent colds
Fear of injury or illness
Weight gain
Weight loss

After a loss it can feel like everything is falling apart, your body and brain included. It’s important to be aware of and attentive to your health. Know what common physical responses to grief are and know that regardless it’s best to talk to your doctor about any health concerns you might have.

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