Social support is the most effective way to heal. Dealing with grief alone can be incredibly lonely, making the experience even more painful than it already is. It is normal in the beginning to want to retreat and isolate yourself from others as you deal with the initial shock of the trauma, however, eventually you should reach out to friends, family, or others for help.
Reaching out does not mean you are weak. It means you are strong. Being able to rely on others and lean on them in your time of need will help you regain strength. Grief leaves you with a large amount of emotions that are hard to keep inside and can be a huge burden to bear on your own. Accepting assistance from others can help with this. Discussing how you feel with others is an important coping method.
Your friends and family want to help, they just may not know how or what to say. You may need to speak up and let them know how they can help, which will help them know how to respond as well. Sometimes, even if they don’t say anything, having someone sit with you or just listen is very helpful.
It can be very difficult to engage in social activities, but keeping a “normal” routine after trauma is important. Staying connected with friends and family makes the grief feel less lonely, and more doable if you have the support of others.
Reaching out does not necessarily mean you have to talk to everyone about what you are going through. Don’t feel as though you need to express your emotions all the time, because this alone can be exhausting. However, you should find a few close friends and family members that you can talk to when you need and can be there to hold you while you cry. Getting the emotions and feelings out of your mind helps lessen the weight of the grief.
You can start by doing something simple, such as inviting a friend out for lunch, returning phone calls and emails, or going to the gym or doing another activity with someone. Continue to do things you did before the trauma, and easing back into social contact, although it may be difficult.
Another very beneficial thing to consider is social support groups for trauma survivors. There are numerous trauma support groups in most every city, for all types of grief and trauma. Being with others who have experienced similar things, and may be experiencing similar emotions as you can help reduce the sense of isolation. Hearing how others have coped and what has helped them in their healing process can be inspiring as well.