First of all, let's begin with a definition of 'Bereavement.
That period of mourning while you try to make sense of what has happened and figure out how to move on.
If you've experienced bereavement or grief from a loss you will understand how it can seem crippling and lead to feelings of hopelessness and intense sadness that can sometimes feel overwhelming.
However, it is not only a tragic loss that can lead to a person experiencing these same strong emotions.
Imagine the end of an important relationship. Particularly of you didn't see it coming. It's demise has come completely out of the blue. You were under the illusion that everything was fine, life was good and as a family you were moving in the direction that you hoped. Then it all changes. It's over. The future, as you imagined it, ceases to exist.
This set of circumstances is going to lead a person to question everything about their life. It's hard to believe that everything will be ok because you never expected things to be like this. You're unprepared. You are sad. You may feel hopeless, especially if you are trying to make things better but it's not working.
Sadness, hopelessness, shock, uncertainty, lack of direction, inability to believe things will be ok, struggling to make sense of what has happened.
These are all symptoms of bereavement. The only difference is that the loss is the end of a relationship not the death of a person.
You may even experience what is known as the stages of grief and exhibit feelings of anger, depression, denial and bargaining before reaching acceptance.
The same could be said for the loss of a job. If you are almost 'defined' by your job or career, or you feel it gives you status or a sense of purpose, to lose it can have a devastating effect. All the same symptoms of bereavement triggered by the loss can come flooding into your life soon after.
Understanding that they are, in fact, dealing with a bereavement following a loss can help many in their recovery. For many it can help them be a bit easier on themselves for the struggles they are having. They can ease up on telling themselves they 'shouldn't be feeling this way' or suggesting they are in some way 'weak' or to 'pull themselves together', when they realise just how serious things are.
When a major loss occurs in your life, when something so significant that formed part of your world disappears or is taken away, don't be surprised if you grieve that loss. You are likely to go through a period of bereavement.
If you can treat yourself more sympathetically, knowing you are grieving, perhaps your recovery could be smoother.
If you do find yourself struggling with something similar to this and feel you need some support then you may benefit from speaking to a professional. More information can be found here.