Ways grief could make you physically sick

Did you know there are many physical symptoms of grief? Apparently, there is, and I have some signs for you to look out for:

So one of the many doctors I’ve seen since getting sick, pondered out loud to me that perhaps one of the reasons I wasn’t getting a concrete diagnosis , was that there is an emotional element to my symptoms.

I immediately thought this was gaslighting because I am physically ill, my blood test shows it, my physicals prove it and my symptoms remind me all the time. So my reaction was… “This is definitely not psychosomatic.”

However, I did some research and turns out grief can make you physically ill. And if it’s paired with pre-existing conditions, it can worsen your condition.

My story

Over the last few years, I have lost so many people close to me. The most recent trauma has been watching my father and his sibling group of six be diminished to only three. Coming from a close-knit family means every loss is felt deeply. Because these are the people who witnessed my first step and heard my first word. These are the people I’d turn to for support, for love, for understanding and suddenly the guest list for family functions has dwindled quite a bit. I dream about them and wake up to the stark reality that I can’t phone aunty Carol to tell her about my new book, go laugh with aunty Des andvent to aunty Eunice. My grandfather isn’t here to read to my son and Rob’s dad never got to see how much Aidan takes after him.

There’s a deep sense of loss and it might be making my health situation worse. Because as it stands my heart beat is irregular, my glucose levels keep dropping and not even blood transfusions can get my iron count up to a passable level – to name a few.

What the experts say

Grief is a natural reaction to the death of someone important to you. It’s common for grief to cause physical symptoms. But you may find it frightening if you do not know why you’re having these symptoms. And you might be worried that you have an undiagnosed health problem, or that grief is making you ill. I found the following on Marie Curie, the UK’s leading end-of-life charity, which provide frontline nursing and hospice care, a free support line and a wealth of information and support on all aspects of dying, death and bereavement.

Common physical symptoms of grief

These are some of the physical symptoms of grief that you may experience:

If you are struggling with grief www.griefshare.org hosts support meetings around South Africa.

One thought on “Ways grief could make you physically sick

  1. J says:

    This is so true my husband died almost 2 years ago and it was such a traumatic experience for me because of how it happened. Now suddenly raising two kids on my own is a lot to cope with. Most days it’s so difficult to just get up and get on with life. Grief affect your life in so many ways and it doesn’t stop and it’s not easy to live with.

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