Chapter 2: A different kind of loss

Impact on your body, thinking, and memory

I've been there
Nicole speaks about how grief can be exhausting for her.(3:22)Video transcript
The grief expert says
Alex speaks about how trauma impacts thoughts, organization and sense of stress.(3:22)Video transcript

Both grief and trauma can affect you physically. It’s easy to forget this while paying attention to the emotional impact.

Click on switch below to learn of how grief and trauma can affect your body.

Common Grief ResponsesCommon Trauma Responses
  • Sleeping and eating disturbances
  • Sensations of “butterflies” or tight chest
  • Fatigue, aches, and pains
  • Nightmares; vomiting
  • Panic attacks
  • Severe fatigue or pain

Keep in mind that these are examples, and you may experience any, all, or none of these responses. If you or others are noticing trauma responses, it’s important that you seek professional help as early as possible. This will support you in finding ways to cope that work for you. It’s equally important to see your family physician to rule out other causes of physical symptoms.

Grief and trauma can also affect how you think and how you remember.

Common Grief ResponsesCommon Trauma Responses
  • Revisiting the death or other past events
  • Not thinking clearly; being more forgetful
  • Re-evaluating values and beliefs
  • Flashbacks (“reliving” events)
  • Not being able to remember significant details about the event; avoiding reminders of it
  • Loss of trust or faith in self or others

Knowing about some of these common responses can help you to normalize your experience, and to judge whether or not you might benefit from seeking professional counselling from someone with experience in grief and trauma.