What's Your Grief Podcast (Understanding Grief)

Relief is one of the more common grief emotions and yet it is one that people often feel ashamed to mention. So today we're talking about relief in grief - what it is, what it isn't, how to understand it, and personal experiences with it. 

About us: Eleanor Haley, MS and Litsa Williams, MA, LCSW-C are the co-founders of What's Your Grief, one of the largest online grief and bereavement support communities. Both are mental health professionals who have lived through significant death and non-death losses. Since late 2012 they have been growing WYG as a resource for grievers who are looking for something beyond the walls of traditional therapy and support groups. 

We don't have ads or a patreon. What helps us most is if you join the WYG member community for grief education, connection, accountability, a grief book club & more.  It is only $10/month and it is a big part of what keeps the podcast going - https://whats-your-grief-community.circle.so/    

Also, if you like the podcast we're pretty sure you'll like the book! And you can get it in print or on audible, for those of youOur book is available anywhere you buy books:

Social stuff:







Direct download: Relief.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 2:27pm EST

Whether you were grieving before the coronavirus crisis or you've just lost a loved one and are navigating through the dark days of early grief, the current crisis is changing the way we grieve. We have heard from people all over the world and we've been touched personally, so it seemed about time to end our long hiatus to offer some observations, thoughts, and hopefully even support for everyone coping with grief right now (which just so happens to be a lot of us).  

Direct download: Whats_Your_Grief_NDP_EP_1_MIXED.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 12:33am EST

A loss of any kind can lead to difficult identity changes. Shifts in one's sense-of-self, roles that no longer need to be fulfilled, and added responsibilities culminate to create overwhelming stress and confusion as a person has to figure out who they are in the context of life after loss.

In this podcast, we discuss the many ways that loss leads to identity changes. We also discuss ways to stay focused on the pieces of you that will stay the same and how to remain flexible towards the elements of your life that will have to change.


Direct download: Coping_with_Identity_Changes.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 3:06pm EST

One emotional experience that many grieving people find particularly confusing is the realization that their thoughts, emotions, and needs occasionally seem to conflict with one another. In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast, we discuss the sometimes conflicting emotions of grief.  We also answer a reader questions about seeking therapy after a loss.

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/forty-eight

Direct download: conflicting.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 3:06pm EST

People give up homes for various reasons. Sometimes the circumstances are in their control (such as making the choice to sell a house and move to a new one) and sometimes they aren’t (like in the case of foreclosure, house fire, natural disaster, or death of the primary resident). Leaving a home can be very sad and emotional regardless of the reason. In today's podcast, we discuss the emotional experience of saying goodbye to a home and grieving places from the past.


Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/forty-seven

Direct download: saying_goodbye_to_home.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 5:09pm EST

There is a common misconception that death is the only loss that results in grief.  Although the loss of a loved one is one of the most devastating types of loss, there are many other circumstances - such as addiction, mental illness, infertility and/or the loss of a relationship, home, job, pet, health, hopes and dreams, faith, identity. etc - that might cause a person to grieve.  In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast, we encourage people to expand their understanding of grief and loss so they can better understand their own relationship with loss and so they are better able to recognize grief and loss in others.


Show Notes: http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/thirty-three

Direct download: Loss.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 3:17pm EST

After the death of a loved one, things like feeling better, letting go of belongings, making changes, and just generally living life after the loss can be complicated. Things like when to remove your wedding ring, give away your loved one's belonging, and even when it's okay to laugh again are very personal and often difficult decisions to make.  In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast, we discuss the guilt and hesitancy many people feel when taking steps forward (or even laterally) and making changes after the death of a loved one.


Show notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/thirty

Direct download: letting_go.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 10:11am EST

After the death of a loved one, it is easy to find yourself engaged in negative coping.  These types of coping allow for people to avoid grief triggers, difficult emotions, and tough situations. Ultimately, though, they can be part of a cycle that prevents you from truly processing your experiences and from learning how to live now that your loved one is gone.

Many people don't realize that negative coping exists on a continuum, where 'normal' behaviors become maladaptive. It is easy to recognize some of these behaviors - like substance use and negative coping- while others - like staying busy and prioritizing the needs of others - can be a bit more difficult to identify.  In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast, we break down the concept of negative coping and help listeners to identity the types of behaviors that could present a barrier in coping with grief.

Show Notes: http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/twenty-nine/

Direct download: negative_coping.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 12:28pm EST

Feelings of guilt and regret are common after the death of a loved one. These two complicated emotions often go hand in hand and, for the person experiencing them, can cause quite a bit of confusion, shame, and distress when left unresolved. In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast we discuss the differences between guilt and regret; the ways in which society, our internalized biases, and our support systems can cause us to minimize and avoid these feelings; and we discuss constructive ways to acknowledge, understand, and cope with our own individual guilts and regrets no matter how big or small they are.

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/twenty-two/

Direct download: guilt_and_regret.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 10:15am EST

Simply put, grief can make you feel like you're going crazy.  Anyone who's experienced a loss knows how disorienting grief emotions and the demands of adjustment can be.  In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast, we discuss a few of the ways in which grief makes you feel crazy and explain how they can actually be pretty normal.

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/nineteen

Direct download: April_28.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 10:58am EST

Grief re-writes your address book. Sometimes the people you think will be there for you aren’t. It can be easy to just hole-up in your house feeling angry and bitter that your friends aren’t there for you the way you thought they’d be. It can be even easier to feel like you will never connect with people in the same way again, no one will ever understand your loss, and you will live on your own little grief island forever.

When you lose a loved one you become part of this tragic little club that you never wanted to be a part of. But, if you can open yourself up to talking to some other members of this club you may just find yourself a grief friend – someone you can connect with, who can support you, who you can support, all without judgement.  It may be someone at work, church, school, online, in a grief support group, or at the dog park; grief friends turn up where you least expect them.  In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast, Litsa and Eleanor discuss the awesomeness of having grief friends.

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/seventeen

Direct download: grief_friends.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 8:38pm EST

The death of someone you love can create a ripple effect of losses or secondary losses.  From loss of faith to loss of financial security, secondary losses are profound and require coping and adjustment on the part of the bereaved.  When conceptualizing grief, many people don't take secondary loss into consideration resulting in confusion and struggle when these losses occur days, weeks and months after the death of a loved one.

In this episode the mental health professionals behind the grief website What's Your Grief attempt to define secondary loss and explain common examples.  Additionally, they shed light on the ways in which secondary loss can cause confusion for grievers and those who seek to support them and explain why these losses can be taxing for all involved.

Show Notes:  www.whatsyourgrief.com/thirteen

Direct download: secondary_loss.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 10:46am EST

Although most of us feel we have a good understanding of our support system, during times of grief or other hardship we're often surprised to discover who is there for us and in what ways.  Disappointment often occurs when we feel members of our support system don't step up and meet our expectations.  Although it's easy to blame friends and family when they don't know what to say or how to help us after a loss, it's also necessary to look at ourselves to determine how we're contributing to the problem.

In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast we discuss common pitfalls that lead to misunderstandings between grievers and their family and friends; the importance of identifying your own needs; keeping and open mind and accepting help; and thoughtfully and effectively using your support system.

Show Notes:  http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/twelve


Direct download: Support_System.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 10:06am EST

A grief trigger is anything that brings up memories related to a loss. Triggers may be obvious and easy to anticipate – like a birthday or a holiday – or they may be surprising – like spotting someone who looks like your loved one in a crowd. A grief trigger might tie to an obvious memory or emotion or it may be something that flashes into consciousness and merely leaves you with a sense of sadness and yearning.

For those who’ve recently lost a loved one, knowing these triggers are out there can cause a fair amount of anxiety. You might fear being blindsided by reminders of your loved one, their death and their absence, especially right after a loss when your emotions are raw and labile. Some grievers will respond by trying to eliminate and avoid reminders such as objects, people and places; others will try and battle their way through, growing less and less embarrassed by each public outburst of emotion. In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast we get specific about grief triggers; discussing their origins, why they are tough to face, and how to handle both expected and unexpected triggers when they arise.

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/eleven

Direct download: Grief_Triggers.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 4:43pm EST

The theory behind the 'five stages of grief', laid out in Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's book On Death and Dying, seems to be the grief model for the masses.  On first glance this model appears intuitive, easy to grasp and easy to prescribe, but in reality this theory is far more complicated than people realize.

One really needs to dig deeper before they can apply the 'five stages of grief' to their own experience or to the experience of anyone else. In this podcast the girls behind the grief website What's Your Grief discuss the five things people should know about the five stages of grief.  We strongly recommend grievers listen before deciding their grief is abnormal simply because it doesn't follow a specific pattern or timeline.

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/ten

Direct download: The_5_Stages_of_Grief.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 10:27am EST

The type of grief one experiences after a death or other loss has a profound impact on the kinds of grief related emotions felt and their intensity and duration. Type of grief also influences how grief is processed and understood and may have an impact on one’s interpersonal relationships and interactions with the outside world.

Although there are many different types of grief, most people think there are only two categories, normal or abnormal Lack of knowledge about the different types of grief sometimes leaves grievers feeling confused when their emotions and experiences don’t follow an expected course.

In this podcast the girls the girls behind What Your Grief set out to explain the ten most common types of grief in ten minutes (because any longer would probably be boring). Their aim being to introduce listeners to the different types of grief and to help grievers find understanding for their own experiences.

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/nine

Direct download: types_of_grief.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 12:02pm EST

Do you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert? Although many aren’t sure what these terms really mean or where they naturally fall on the introvert-extrovert continuum, this element of your personality has a large impact on how you view and interact with the world.

People tend to think extroverts have it easy in a world that favors the outgoing and gregarious, but after a death your natural tendencies can make things both easier and, at times, more difficult.  In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast Litsa and Eleanor discuss the many ways extroversion can impact the grief experience.

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/eight

Direct download: Extroverts_and_Grief.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 10:48am EST

Do you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?  Although many aren't sure what these terms really mean or where they naturally fall on the introvert-extrovert continuum, this element of your personality has a large impact on how you view and interact with the world.

Introverts face their own set of unique challenges when coping with a death.  In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast the What's Your Grief girls break down what it means to be an introvert and discuss how one's nature might affect how they grieve and how they wish to be supported.

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/seven

Direct download: Introverts_and_Grief.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 10:45am EST

Grievers are often challenged to find effective coping tools to help explore, understand and process the complicated experience of grief.  The tools that prove most helpful are those that fit with the grievers personality, strengths, weaknesses and preferences; so in order to address a diverse range of needs a braod understanding of what is considered "coping" is necessary.  

In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast Litsa and Eleanor discuss the wide spectrum of what should be considered coping.  They also disucss their unique approach to coping which requires grievers to recognize their predispostiions and preferences and to choose coping skills that compliment their rational, creative and emotional leanings.  

Show Notes:  www.whatsyourgrief.com/six

Direct download: Coping_With_Grief.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 5:07pm EST

It's hard to imagine what grieving the death of a loved one is like until you've experienced it first hand.  Many grievers find themselves suprised by the physical, emotional and logistical toll grief has on their lives and misconceptions about grief and coping often have them wondering if they're doing something wrong.

In this episode of the What's Your Grief Podcast Litsa and Eleanor address how common misconceptions about grief have an impact on our understanding of the grief experience.  They discuss the wide range of what is considered a normal grief response and provide their listeners with reassurance that they are not going crazy.  

Show Notes: www.whatsyourgrief.com/three

Direct download: Misconceptions_About_Grief.mp3
Category:Understanding Grief -- posted at: 8:57pm EST