Understanding Anticipatory Grief

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  1. 1. Understanding Anticipatory Grief Todays Moderator: Dana Nolan, MS LMHC Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  2. 2. What Is Anticipatory Grief (AG)? The normal feelings and reactions that can occur before an actual or potential loss. In this case, anticipatory doesnt mean looking forward to a pleasant or joyous event such as a holiday or wedding. (877) 626-5916
  3. 3. When Can We Experience AG? The most common time to experience this is when we have a loved one who has a life- limiting illness, and we are hurting because we believe we will lose them. (877) 626-5916
  4. 4. Common Reasons for AG Caregivers and mesothelioma patients may experience AG for different reasons: Loss of ability to work in the future Fear of losing energy because of treatment side effects Loss of financial stability because of medical bills Loss of your expected future (877) 626-5916
  5. 5. Caregivers May experience AG because they fear they wont have as much time as they want with their loved one, and they are grieving their future plans. (877) 626-5916
  6. 6. AG vs. Normal Grief The symptoms of AG and normal grief are similar. However, their trajectory may be different. In normal grief after the death of a loved one, the pain and emotional distress tends to gradually lesson over time. In AG, the emotional distress and anxiety may worsen over time in anticipation of the actual loss. (877) 626-5916
  7. 7. Common Symptoms of Grief These days, the commonly used stage model of grieving (denial, anger, bargaining, etc.) is being replaced by a collection of symptoms that are completely normal and may occur at any point during grieving. Shock, numbness and disbelief that loss is happening (or could happen). Ruminating thoughts about the actual or perceived loss. (877) 626-5916
  8. 8. Symptoms (cont.) Anger and anxiety Frequent crying, sadness, longing for the time before the loss Poor appetite and sleep Loss of interest in socializing or engaging in fun activities (877) 626-5916
  9. 9. Coping with AG Caregivers and mesothelioma patients may experience the thoughts and feelings of loss in waves. These feelings may be triggered by things such as doctors appointments, holidays, birthdays, etc. (877) 626-5916
  10. 10. Coping (cont.) Normal grief and anticipatory grief are not mental illnesses that need fixing. They are normal reactions to unplanned life events that lead us to expect a loss. Accept that AG is normal for mesothelioma caregivers and patients. Some people say they feel guilty (or are made to feel guilty) if they are experiencing anticipatory grief. (877) 626-5916
  11. 11. Coping (cont.) If the feeling of AG is overwhelming and frequent, try to refocus on your values and the present. If you have mesothelioma, take a moment to remember what you can still do, not ruminate on what may happen in the future. If you are a caregiver, try to acknowledge that the future in unknown and enjoy your time with your loved one. (877) 626-5916
  12. 12. Coping (cont.) Communicate your feelings and fears through: Journaling Blogging Support groups Individual counseling Sharing with family and friends (877) 626-5916
  13. 13. Coping (cont.) Some people mistakenly believe that AG is actually grieving in advance and that the pain of an actual loss will be less if you have experienced AG. Remember that everyone is different in how they grieve, and there is no right way to grieve. We dont grieve the same way twice. (877) 626-5916
  14. 14. Contact Information 1-877-626-5916 (877) 626-5916 Facebook.com/themesocenter @TheMesoCenter