Am I normal? | Cruse Bereavement Care

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The many different aspects of grief can come as a shock - at Cruse people often tell us that they feel like they're going mad, and one of the biggest questions people have is 'Is this normal?' 

Here are some of the feelings people have shared with us that have sometimes worried or surprised them. If you are wondering about something which isn’t on our list, please get in touch to let us know – email stories@cruse.org.uk

 

I’ve heard their voice and keep thinking I see them

It is quite normal to see a person who has died, to hear their voice, sense their presence, or find yourself talking to them. It can often happen you least expect it, as if the mind has temporarily ‘forgotten’ that they have died, or because the brain is trying to process the death and acknowledge the finality of it.

Find out more 

Seeing, hearing or sensing someone who has died


I’m so angry with everyone

Anger is a completely normal part of grief. You may find yourself facing family, financial and domestic responsibilities which you don’t feel able to cope with. You may feel angry with someone you feel is responsible in some way for the death. You may feel angry with the person who has died for leaving you. These are all normal responses to feeling out of control, powerless and abandoned.

Find out more 

Coronavirus, anger and blame

Feelings when someone dies 


I feel anxious all the time

People often feel very anxious after someone dies. Sometimes this can result in feeling panicky, breathless or having palpitations. A full panic attack can be a very frightening experience. It can make you feel dizzy or confused, faint or even be sick. There are some simple things you can do which some people find help, such as trying breathing exercises. But if the feelings don’t improve or you are struggling to cope you should contact your GP.

Find out more

Physical effects of grief and bereavement

Free leaflet After the death of someone very close 


I keep going over and over every detail of the last few days before they died

This is a common reaction, particularly where the death was sudden and unexpected, or occurred in traumatic circumstances. It is the mind’s way of dealing with what has happened. However sometimes after a traumatic experience people become very disturbed by mental images, which in a severe form can become Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD). You should consult your GP or ask Cruse for advice if you think this might apply to you.

Find out more

Grief and trauma 

Free leaflet Restoring Hope 


I don’t feel anything

Feeling numb is common in the early days after a bereavement. The shock can have this effect, and some people at first carry on as if nothing has happened. It is hard to believe that someone important is not coming back. Many people feel disorientated - as if they have lost their place and purpose in life or are living in a different world. Usually this passes but if you are having trouble feeling anything after some time, or if the lack of feeling is troubling you, you can contact Cruse for help.

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Feelings after someone dies 

Free leaflet After the death of someone very close  


I can't stop crying/I haven't cried at all

People react to grief in very different ways. Some people find they cry very frequently and may be overwhelmed by the strength of their emotions. Others may feel numb for some time, or feel unable to cry. Some people experience swings between extremes. All reactions are common. People’s responses are affected by many things, including personality, upbringing and culture, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect how you felt about the person who died.

If you are finding your emotions difficult to deal with or are worried that you are not able to feel things after some time has passed, it might be time to contact Cruse and ask for some more support.

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Feelings after someone dies 

Free leaflet Restoring Hope  

Free leaflet After the death of someone very close   


I should be over it but I feel worse than ever

Sometimes it is just when you think you should be feeling better that you feel as if you are falling apart. In the early days following a bereavement, family and friends often rally round and it is only later, when everyone has gone home and you are left with your grief, that the reality of the death hits you. The physical and emotional loneliness can be very hard to bear. There is no time limit on grief. If you feel that you are struggling with your emotions or that you are not coping with life, then it may be time to seek help and support.

Find out more

Free leaflet Restoring Hope  

Free leaflet After the death of someone very close  


I feel like I’m physically ill

Grief can affect your whole system. There are other aches and pains which people often report after they have been bereaved. It can also affect your sleep and digestion and reduce your ability to fight off minor infections. These are normal reactions to distress and loss, and should pass in time. But you may want to consult your GP if the problems persist or you need some help managing them.

Find out more

Physical effects of grief and bereavement


I can't sleep/I'm sleeping too much

Sleep disruption is very common after someone dies. You may find sleep is impossible, and your mind is constantly racing. Sometimes people are frightened to go to sleep – bad dreams and nightmares are common. Sometimes people tell us that they also dread those dreams where the person is still alive, and find the moment of waking and remembering each day very painful. Some people also find they need to sleep more than before and struggle to stay awake in the day. If sleep problems go on for more than a week or so consult your GP.

Find out more

We have some suggestions for what can help in our article Physical effects of grief and bereavement


I can 't eat/I'm eating too much

It’s common to lose your appetite and find it difficult to eat after someone dies, especially in the early days. It may feel impossible to swallow and food may taste strange. Some people experience the opposite and find they are eating more than usual, or without thinking. Digestive upsets are also common, and it can feel similar to being constantly stressed and anxious. It’s very normal but consult your GP if symptoms don’t ease, or if you find you loose or gain a lot of weight.

Find out more

Physical effects of grief and bereavement


How Cruse can help

  • Our National Freephone Helpline offers emotional help and signposting – call 0808 808 1677. Opening hours.
  • You can like our facebook page, or follow us on twitter or Instagram where we share lots of tips on coping with bereavement. 
  • Bereavement volunteers in our Local Services can also offer support over the phone or internet.