Dealing with Loss
Losing a loved one or family members can be an overwhelming experience and one of life’s biggest challenges a person has to deal with. The grieving process is a natural process with a major loss, but not everyone can cope with the reality and accept the devastating truth. Animals understand the pain you go through more than any human. At Healing Hearts and Minds, our horses will help you ease the pain through equine-assisted therapy.
What is grief?
Experiencing the loss of someone close often leads to a grieving process, a process with too many emotions you go through gradually to cope with the loss.
Losing someone close can be emotionally devastating. Be it a partner, a parent, a family member, a friend or a pet, the grieving process is a natural response and there is no right or wrong way of grief coping.
It’s common to feel intense emotions when a loved one is taken away, it is a major loss and you will have to adjust to major changes. You may experience an ocean of unexpected emotions from anger to disbelief, shock, numbness and a void of sadness.
The pain of bereavement can disrupt overall physical and mental health, making it hard to sleep, eat, or even think straight. And these are normal reactions to loss.
However, grief can also be related to indistinct losses in life like being homesick when you move away from home, graduating from college, or even losing a job.
The kind of major loss does not matter as you have lost something very significant in life. Equine-assisted therapy is a healthy way to cope with the pain, ease you from the sadness at the same time and help you accept reality. There are many physical symptoms associated with grief. Acute grief is accompanied by stomach pain, loss of appetite, intestinal upsets, sleep disturbances, and energy loss.
When to seek equine therapy for dealing with loss?
If the death of your loved one was unexpected, extremely stressful and disturbing, complicated grief can lead to clinical depression, psychological trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder.
If the loss has left you feeling helpless and hopeless, if you are struggling to deal with upsetting emotions, thoughts and memories that won’t go away for a long period of time, you may be traumatized.
With equine-assisted therapy, you can heal in a healthy way and try to move on with your life and give it new meaning.
Grieving is an individual experience. There is never one way to grieve. Grief depends on many factors, including one’s personality, way of coping, life experiences and faith.
Inevitably, the process of grieving and healing takes time. Some start to feel better in a couple of weeks or months, while the others healing process is measured in years. It is important to be patient with oneself and allow the process to unfold in the natural course of time.
These unfathomable emotions become less potent as one starts to accept the harsh truth and starts to move ahead in life.
When to Seek Further Help
However, if the process of grieving gets worse over time, there could be a chance that grief has turned into complicated grief or depression.
The void a person leaves in death cannot be filled. But it should not remain centre staged. If the grief is constant and keeps you from resuming your life, you could be suffering from complicated grief. The state where you feel like you are stuck in the same state of mourning forever.
The loss of your loved one may cause you trouble from accepting the fact or you tend to not believe the reality and be preoccupied with the person that not only disrupts your routine but also undermines your other relationships.
You may feel guilty about moving on or starting new relationships, which are common symptoms of grief. You may need support groups to help as well as support from close friends.
If grief is affecting your daily routine or you are not getting enough sleep as a result you may need professional help to help with the pain and sense of loss to help manage your feelings and ability to cope.
The loss of a loved one will affect your life and give you a sense of a big gaping hole in your life for a period of time.
Most people who lose a loved one in time can learn to live with the loss and deal with the death. They learn to cope with the memories and the person they have lost, and if it was a partner eventually re enter a relationship with other people and re start their lives with a new positive future.
What to expect in equine-assisted therapy?
Equine-assisted therapy is a holistic approach to healing emotional and mental health issues using horses as therapeutic healers. Horses are instinctive, unbiased and extremely perceptive with strong healing powers. They sense human emotions and respond to them.
Horses help people recover and handle emotional instability, improve self-confidence, develop responsibility and vulnerability.
The therapy does not always require the client to have verbal interaction about their thoughts and feelings. It gives them the opportunity to interact and spend time with the horse and the horse picks up on incongruencies and responds as per the behaviour.
Say for instance, if a person is around the horse and says he is not afraid of the horse, but in reality, he is really nervous and not comfortable, the horse picks up the emotion and responds to that.
How equine therapy works?
Equine-assisted therapy involves engaging the client in activities like feeding, grooming and leading a horse alongside an equine therapist and an expert horse handler. The therapy is nothing like the one that happens inside a closed room with a mental health professional or grief counselor.
Horse therapy gives therapy a new meaning. Young children and family members can go from feeling sad to a happy life with a little help the horses delve into emotional reserves in healthy ways.
The Healing Hearts and Minds Session
At Healing Hearts and Minds, the therapy session takes place in an open space on the farm surrounded by greenery, fresh air and ever-loving horses that will encourage you to relax and help you recover. The natural reaction of the person around the horse helps in keeping them calm and patient.
The therapy sessions are carried out in groups with people who experience similar emotional difficulties alongside specially-selected horses, where you may be given specific tasks to do as part of the support group.
Why are Horses Perfect for this Therapy?
Horses only know the language of love and empathy. They don’t shame, blame or judge. Unlike humans, they respond to human behaviour honestly without any judgement and rehabilitate in the process to help our clients.
Losing a loved one can be incredibly painful. You cannot put emotion in words. If you have never experience loss before it can be a huge shock to experience the overwhelming feeling of sadness.
You can be ok one day then certain things can trigger feelings and memories and make you think of the past. Not everyone finds it easy to talk, some prefer to deal with the pain themselves. This is where horses can help you and be very different from a person.
Some prefer being quiet and non-verbal. Horses do exactly that and empathise with you and help you heal in a better way. Create your own support group with a horse and truly connect to help with the grieving process.
The loss of a dear one can lead to many emotional difficulties, depression and anxiety. Equine therapy particularly helps people get past their emotional instabilities, reinforce patience, empathy and self-control.
We never forget, just learn to cope better
We never forget the ones we have lost, it is healthy to grieve. Two, Ten or Twenty years into the future you will still think of them and feel anger and upset about their death, this is perfectly normal. The important thing is to remember your life with them, talk about them and cherish their memory. It’s not about moving on or forgetting them, it’s about learning to deal with your emotions following their death and remembering their life with you not their death.
We are really sorry if you are here because you lost someone or something close to your heart. But hopefully we and our amazing horses can help you deal with your sadness and look to the future in a positive way.
At Healing Hearts and Minds, you will experience the unconditional love of the horses. Horses will strengthen your ability to cope with the change and help you move ahead with your life.