Grief is the normal response we all have to the loss of a loved one. It is our way of learning to gradually let go, and it takes time. There is no “right way” to grieve, and no timetable that applies to everyone. Grief is a very individual process.
Sometimes, however, we get stuck in the grief process. We call this “complicated grief”. Here are some of the signs: (courtesy of Cedars Sinai Hospice)
- Grief feels like a lifestyle and grieving behaviors are repeated over and over without relief
- Feelings of overly intense or inappropriate anger are frequently present.
- Disturbance of sleep and appetite which become chronic
- Chronic flatness or lack of emotions (pleasant or painful).
- Chronic lack of grieving emotions (strong denial) while experiencing excessive positive emotions.
- Over activity, restlessness; or need to always be occupied.
- Chronic sexual dysfunction which wasn’t a previous problem
- Chronic inability to function practically and effectively in areas of self-care, family and occupational responsibilities.
- Excessive illness or preoccupation with physical complaints.
- Withdrawing from life Refusing to recommit, reorient or reconstruct life
- Fear of intimacy. Refusal to commit to anyone or anything.
- Preoccupation with guilt and self-reproach
- Self-destructive or self-defeating behaviors (fighting, substance abuse, dangerous acts)
Complicated grieving can prolong your time of bereavement and prevent you from working through your loss If you feel you are experiencing any of the above, we encourage you to contact a professional and request help in evaluating your situation.