What is a profound loss?
15 May 2024

What is a profound loss?

What is a profound loss?

It’s important to understand the nature of a profound loss because it can trigger a midlife crisis, making you question who you are and what you’re doing in the world. It can raise questions such as ‘what is my purpose in life’ and Is this all there is?’.

A profound loss refers to a deeply significant and impactful experience of losing someone or something of great importance in a person’s life. It is the loss of something you have invested in with love, time, energy or money.  It often involves a profound sense of grief, sadness, and emotional upheaval. The term “profound” emphasises the depth and intensity of the loss, indicating its significant and lasting impact on an individual’s well-being and overall sense of self.

Examples of profound losses can include:

Loss of a loved one: The death of a close family member, partner, friend, or beloved pet can result in a profound sense of loss. The emotional bond, shared memories, and the void left by their absence contribute to the depth of grief experienced.

Loss of a relationship: The end of a significant relationship, such as a divorce or a breakup, can be deeply impactful. It involves the loss of companionship, shared dreams, and emotional support, leading to feelings of emptiness and profound sadness.

Loss of a job or career: Sudden unemployment, retirement, or a significant setback in one’s career can result in a profound loss. It involves the loss of financial stability, professional identity, and a sense of purpose, often leading to feelings of confusion and a re-evaluation of one’s life direction.

Loss of health or physical abilities: Experiencing a serious illness, disability, or a significant decline in physical health can lead to a profound loss. It involves the loss of physical functioning, independence, and a shift in identity and lifestyle, leading to a range of emotional and psychological challenges.

Loss of a dream or aspiration: Failing to achieve a long-held dream, such as a desired career, personal goal, or life plan, can result in a profound sense of loss. It involves the disappointment and grief associated with the relinquishment of a deeply cherished vision for the future.

Loss of libido: If your sexuality has always been a significant part of your identity, then the ageing process which naturally reduces hormones levels for men and women impacting your desire for intimacy and sex, can be experienced as an enormous loss. To replace this loss you may need to focusing more on less developed aspects of the self to replace ‘lost’ parts.

It’s important to recognise that the experience of profound loss is subjective and can vary greatly from person to person. What is experienced as a profound loss for one person may not be experienced as so impactful by another.  The intensity and duration of grief can also vary depending on factors such as the individual’s attachment to the lost person or thing, their coping mechanisms, support systems, and individual resilience.

While it can be difficult to prepare for or even foresee an event which you then experience as a profound loss, it is important to ensure you have the support of others in your life to help you through this difficult time.