good help

frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Am I going crazy?
How long will this last?
How do I know if I need help?
What kind of help is available in the Pittsburgh area?
I’ve never been to a support group. What are they like?
Why is it every time someone close to me dies I relive my mother’s death?
Do children grieve?
Why isn’t my husband grieving?
What is the right thing to say to someone who just lost a loved one?
What can I do for someone who just lost a loved one?
When should I get rid of my loved one’s clothes?
Do people grieve before someone dies?
What is the right way to grieve?
Should I mention the name of the person who died?
What are some of the emotional symptoms of grief?

Am I going crazy?
It may certainly feel like it. Grief can affect people physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Everyone grieves at his or her own pace, which may be out of sync with social and cultural expectations. Validation and the permission to grieve are a powerful comfort to a bereaved person.

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How long will this last?
The grieving process is unique to each individual. Initially grief can be intense. The intensity is related to the degree of attachment to the person lost and the type of relationship. Seeking grief support can enhance your ability to cope. Grief has no timetable.

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How do I know if I need help?
Seeking the experiences of others and understanding the common threads of grief can be a helpful measurement. Continuous thoughts of fear, anxiety, the lack of the ability to function, thoughts of self-harm, or harming others are signs that help is needed. If you fear that you will harm yourself or someone else, do not act. You should call 911, visit a hospital emergency room, or call Contact Pittsburgh at 412-820-HELP.

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What kind of help is available in the Pittsburgh area?
GGC provides individual and group peer support in person and over the phone, as well as a library of books, audio and videotapes and a database of professionals and support groups in your area. Please visit or call us to talk or find what is available in your neighborhood.

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I’ve never been to a support group. What are they like?
Support groups are made up of individuals who are seeking an accepting environment with empathic listeners who are supportive and non-judgmental. A support group should offer comfort and hope. GGC has an extensive listing of support groups, so give us a call to find one that might be right for you.

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Why is it every time someone close to me dies I relive my mother’s death?
We unconsciously do not process our emotions immediately after a loss. It is common for subsequent losses to remind us of a particularly painful one.

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Do children grieve?
Yes, they certainly do. Children need encouragement to ask questions and talk about their feelings. We have excellent local resources for grieving children, including the Caring Place and the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents. For more information, please contact GGC.

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Why isn’t my husband grieving?
Everyone grieves in his own way and at his own pace. Society and cultural values do not always support outward or public expressions of grief, especially for men. Some people may grieve without showing it outwardly. Your husband probably is grieving but doing it in his own way.

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What is the right thing to say to someone who just lost a loved one?
We do not always have to speak to support a grieving individual. Many times it is more important to give a hug, hold a hand, give permission for someone to cry, or just listen.

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What can I do for someone who just lost a love one?
Be there for them. Ask if it is okay to keep in contact with them by phone or in person. Listen to their story as many times as they need to tell it. Offer to do specific tasks or errands to lessen their day-to-day responsibilities, thus giving them the time they need to grieve.

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When should I get rid of my loved one’s clothes?
You must decide for yourself when it is the right time to pack up your loved ones belongings. Some people prefer to do it very soon after the death while others find comfort by holding onto personal items longer. Whatever is right for you is the right time.

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Do people grieve before someone dies?
Yes, anticipatory grief is common when there is an expected death. It is helpful to talk about these feelings. Please call GGC if you have questions about these anticipatory grief feelings. Also, if you are the person dealing with a life limiting illness – you probably have your own thoughts and concerns about what lies ahead for you and your loved ones. Talking about those feelings is the best way of working through them.

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What is the right way to grieve?
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. The process is as individual as the grieving person is. Should the intensity of the loss be prolonged or if daily functioning is impaired, it might be necessary to seek help from a therapist or other health professional.

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Should I mention the name of the person who died?
Absolutely. It is comforting to the grieving individual to hear the name of their loved one. It also makes it easier for the grieving person to tell their story.

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What are some of the emotional symptoms of grief?
Sadness, anxiety, confusion, depression, anger, fear, and guilt.

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