14th April 2015 – Complicated Grief
How to Recognize Complicated Grief
It is a guarantee that all of us at some point will experience the loss of a loved one. It is difficult to describe the extreme emotions one goes through when someone close to us dies. As every individual is different and every relationship is unique the resulting experience cannot be predicted, yet the process of bereavement is something we all have to go through.
Although we will all experience it differently the majority of people will feel an overwhelming sadness, a numbness, or anger as they come to terms with the loss. Even a ‘normal’ bereavement can impact us for a number of years.
However there are times where the death of a loved one is so significant or traumatizing, or that other life events distract us from our true focus that the we no longer experience the bereavement as clean as it could be, If ignored, what is known as complicated grief can take hold.
Complicated grief often disrupts relationships with friends and family and makes the bereaved person feel cut off and alone. Complicated grief can make it difficult to function effectively or even to care about functioning. Maybe you know someone who has lost a child, a spouse, a partner, a parent, or a close friend – and you are wondering if they are suffering from complicated grief. If a person has many of the following symptoms for more than six months after the death of a loved one, they may be suffering from complicated grief:
- Strong feelings of yearning or longing for the person who died
- Feeling intensely lonely, even when other people are around
- Strong feelings of anger or bitterness related to the death
- Feeling like life is empty or meaningless without the person who died
- Thinking so much about the person who died that it interferes with doing things or with relationships with other people
- Strong feelings of disbelief about the death or finding it very difficult to accept the death
- Feeling shocked, stunned, dazed or emotionally numb
- Finding it hard to care about or to trust other people
- Feeling very emotionally or physically activated when confronted with reminders of the loss
- Avoiding people, places, or things that are reminders of the loss
- Strong urges to see, touch, hear, or smell things to feel close to the person who died