Only a few friends and relatives know that I have taken some units in MA Psychology majoring in Clinical Psychology. And one of the subjects that really enticed me (which was also mind-boggling) was death and grief. That’s why when I attended the recently held webinar by PhilCare, one of the leading in the HMO industry, about Grief & Loss: How to Manage Your Mental Health last October 26, I have a sudden flashback in my memory.
The webinar is part of PhilCare’s series of online forums featuring medical professionals tackling some of the most pressing medical and health issues in the past couple of years. In time for this year’s observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, PhilCare organized this webinar to focus on the effects of grief and loss on people’s minds due to the pandemic.
For the past three years, I have lost some loved ones and every time I see something that is associated with my father, grandmother, and uncles, it prompts me to mourn again. And I know some people would say it is unhealthy.
I found solace in Dr. Mariel Kristine T. Rubia, PhilCare’s Director for Corporate Mental Health and the speaker in the webinar. She said, “It’s OK to let people know what you need and what you don’t. Grief can be like a rollercoaster. It is a difficult journey that has no shortcut or definite step-by-step procedure to overcome grief. It is a unique process for each person and judging and comparing yourself to others can only prolong it.”
So here are some of my takeaways about the webinar and this might also help those who are experiencing prolonged grief.
Everyone undergoes a unique process of grieving
One might move on quickly but some can take forever and they have to live with it. Sometimes, you might want a distraction to forget about it. Shutting down the noise and going to a quiet place can ease the loneliness. Well, that is okay because there is no profound rule about grieving.
Psychiatrist says that chronic or prolonged grief happens if strong grief continues for much longer. Normally, it could last a year for an adult to be diagnosed and six months for a child.
You can’t escape grief
Part of grieving is recognizing what you have lost. Grief doesn’t go away. And some people have learned to live around grief. Avoiding our feelings doesn’t make the grief go away; it will only make the grief persist. So, one should muster up the courage to face grief and re-learn to live without the presence of a deceased loved one. It is normal to struggle with different emotions. So, acknowledge what you feel. Imagine each emotion and avoid suppressing it.
Your loved one’s life is not just about death
At some point, people tend to just focus about the loss and death that they become so into it and forget about the good memories they have with their loved one who passed away. As cliche as it may seem, life must go on. Living without them may seem not quite the same again but remembering the laughter and special moments can help you come to terms with your loss.
As the weeks pass by, you will experience many firsts as you navigate life without that loved one. And it is natural to feel their absence.
Grieving is normal
In our society, one may easily be afraid to express grief due to fear of stigma. But no matter how challenging and overwhelming that stage of grieving is, you shouldn’t be ashamed to cry, hibernate, and whatever can ease your sorrow.
A grief counselor can help
Asking for help is never a sign of weakness; it actually shows strength and courage. But let us say you already opened up with your friends or relatives, there is no progress and you still feel like the grief has eaten up your mental and physical health. Then, seeking professional help is a great first step in managing your mental health while grieving.
And if you are worried about the professional fee of a psychiatrist or psychologist, there are some HMO companies in the country that can help you. PhilCare is the pioneer in innovating a product that specifically addresses the mental health of Filipino employees with its Mind Care line of prepaid health cards. It also believes that mental health is one of the most important aspects of a person’s overall wellness.
Under its Mindscapes program, PhilCare offers customized prepaid cards that will cover mental health services called Mind Care.
Mind Care Counseling provides a one-time (1) teleconsultation with a PhilCare Physician and a one-time (1) virtual counseling session with a Mind Care Counselor through the HeyPhil DigiMed app. It includes a mental health screening survey, viewing of results, counseling activities, and more.
Mind Care PRO is a single-use 2-in-1 health plan that allows you to have a 50-minute counseling session/consultation with a PhilCare Psychologist and a consultation with a DigiMed PLUS Specialist through the PhilCare Member Gateway.
Mind Care Plus is a prepaid health plan that allows you to have one (1) telemed session with a psychiatrist via PhilCare Member Gateway. Get access to virtual mental healthcare for concerns like schizophrenia, PSTD, delusional disorder, and other non-emergency psychiatric services.
After joining this discussion and learning that I can also avail affordable mental health services, I feel more positive to start moving forward. And though it is mentally challenging to overcome grief, I have high hopes that in the coming days, I will see a brighter future, prepared by those loved ones who surely smile back when they see the stronger version of me.