I'll admit that the loss of my brother-in-law further complicated my own grieving process. Sadly, while I had hoped to be super-supportive to my wife as "someone who's been there," my own grief was renewed and amplified. I wouldn't wish the loss of a sibling to suicide on any family, having been through it myself -- and then I had a front row seat to watching my wife, her parents, and her four sisters go through this traumatic ordeal. CGD is something that is deeply personal in each and every case, and the best thing we can do is attempt to be empathetic, understanding, and supportive.
This article is not accurate and clearly the author is no expert and has derived her "opinion" from the inaccuracies of others who don't know what they are talking about. Tim, the very fact that you say your girlfriend has "refused to accept her loss from day one" is appalling. Who accepts a huge loss like a daughter's death "from day one?
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You and the author are wrong in your opinions and wrong in what should be expected in CG. Counseling does not help if the counselor has no education, experience or knowledge of CG. I had one therapist tell me she did not believe in CG but was happy to tell me all about her Buddhist beliefs.
12 Insights into Grieving After the Death of Your Loved One
I am deeply and profoundly sad. I am sad!! I have suffered other losses and recovered "normally" but there are some things that time will not heal, accepting it doesn't stop the pain, and your experience is not my or her experience. The best thing you can do is be quiet and listen. If you love her so much then just listen. Those who promote the anti-psychology movement are likely to be either Scientologists or Buddhists. Neither of these groups believe that psychology or western medicine, or the scientific method in general have any validity. Give me a break. Um, yeah, right. Sorry, I'm not buying either of these antiquated superstitious belief systems.
Go pedal them somewhere else. I'm neither a Scientologist nor a Buddhist and I'm generally pro psychology but I have a huge issue with the medicalisation of grief. The only cure for grief is grieving and the depths of your grief reflect the depths of your love. If grief is subjective then the time it takes to heal from the trauma is going to be different for each person, to invalidate someone's reality because it's easier to treat people like they're nuts and shove them on medication rather than to support them and listen is a huge dereliction of duty. Psychiatry is responsible for a lot of good things but also a lot of harm and to deny that is patently blue sky thinking.
It's easy to dismiss people who suicide out so that you can't be held responsible in any way, isn't it? Just put us all into that little "anti-psychiatry" box, ignore our experiences and past support and involvement in the field, and all the money we dumped into treatment that FAILED. Thank you for your post regarding Tim's and the article writers.
You seem to have a much better grasp of things. I read that post , and no matter how he tried to portray himself as a sensitive caring BOYFRIEND, all I saw between the lines was an impatient, perhaps not quite as loving individual as his girlfriend, trying to maintain the status quo in keeping a BEAUTIFUL woman, and not have to adjust, or allow for the possible fact that a child's death may alter her psyche permanently. I have complicated grief.
First my husband died by suicide. I was in counseling and under the care of a psychiatrist. Good thing cause less than 2 years after my only son died an OD death so I needed more counseling to deal with the grief, shame and stigma. I can say that 5 years later I have accepted my husbands death but entering the realm of reality that my son is dead tears me up. The best thing I have done is find an overdose support group where we mothers connect and support each other. There are some in the group like me whose losses are several years.
I've realized it's because we have no future with our child and that hurts the most. Ongoing support in a group that has suffered the same type loss is the best hope. As each future event brings on fresh pain. If you love her, go with her to such a group. It will give you insight what she is going through. I'm interested in your coping strategies and wonder if there's anything whatsoever helpful with complicated grief? I agree with you. It's been over three years since we found my mother in law dead in her wheelchair, after three years of my dedicated caring for her.
I'm still stuck, depressed, cry every day, unable to concentrate, unable to do the things I used to do without any effort at all I can tell you right now, the majority of clinicians out there are poison to me, they'll hurt me, take what little money I don't have, and leave me worse off than before. The field of Psychology has some pretty serious issues it's practitioners need to deal with before it can lay claim to any therapeutic success.
I've avoided seeking help because from past experience, maybe one in twenty five are good for me. Those are some mighty crappy odds. I don't know what to do, but this article's made it pretty clear at the very end what usually happens to people like me. Losing a child is like losing a part of one's self, one's connection to the future. When it's the only child, I can not imagine the grief.
Tim's reaction reminds me of when my 16 year old brother died. I was at work. I wasn't 'carrying on' in any overt way but everyone knew I was sad. God, they didn't know how sad. He was 17 years younger than me, more like a combination of brother and son. I was shattered by his death, still am 40 years later.
But anyway this co-worker comes up to me a month after his death and says in a snappy voice, "Aren't you over that YET?! Tim's nose is out of joint because he's not being the central focus of her life. Men in our society are often this way. They're raised to think they're smarter, better, deserve more than women and are supposed to be the most important person in any relationship. The woman's feelings and needs are always secondary. It can take a while to recognize this type of man.
My youngest granddaughter dumped a boyfriend of 4 years who was this type. I still can not talk about my brother, even read this article, without crying. I don't know why. I must have written hundreds of poems when he died. I went to seances where, truthfully, I was the only real psychic in the room. Sounds weird, huh? Believe me, if I told the rest of it, well, no drugs involved though.
I never needed those. I just wanted to contact my brother. That's how messed up I was. I'm glad I came across this explanation. I'm not really glad though that there are other people suffering the way that I've suffered and, ultimately, losing a child is still so much worse than losing a brother. We have problems with our oldest granddaughter and we live in fear of losing her. She has emotional problems and won't take medicine. I really don't want anymore of this grief! I was wondering if I have this condition after the death of my only child, my son, at the age of 25 in a motorcycle accident on April 1st, no less, in Now, I just want to offer my take on the loss and how I have coped, thusfar, these past 3 years.
I am a nurse and continue to be a caregiver, as it is my profession. As a nurse, I initially had access to grief counseling at the hospital where I work, It lasted a short time because I believe the psychologist determined I had a strong enough handle on it to be able to cope, My strength did and does come from my faith as an Orthodox Christian and my conviction that there is much more beyond this temporary life for all of us. Anyone who has lost a loved one - and each loss is as unique as the deceased was and the bereaved survivor is - would have to be a sociopath not to experience suffering over that which changed their world forever.
So, the question is whether to be destroyed by that grief or to go on even while enduring it. I would just say that without some conviction that there is more beyond this life, and reconciling death in context of such conviction - it could become unbearable to cope with such unfathomable loss. I believe in God. I believe our souls are eternal and live on after our physical bodies, including our brain and its inner working, has returned to this earth. Having said that, I , as a mother who lost her only and beloved child with no prospect of ever having grandchildren which represent our legacy in the future, do have to cope with the loss daily.
I have found that there are places in my heart that I cannot allow myself to go and still be able to function. Not that I love my son any less, but that I have to avoid to keep going. And I do keep going as a family member and as a nurse caring for others that I can be of some help to in this life. I do have to say that sometimes I fear that by catching myself, it has made me less human in some way. But I know this world and so many things - in fact, almost everything - looks different through the eyes of someone who has experienced such a loss.
So, in closing, I cope by relyig on my faith and remembering that the longer God requires me to wait to see my beloved son,- and my beloved sister, as well - the greater my joy will be when I do see them again. So, I do not question God because I cannot, as the created, question my Creator. One day, all will be known, and I thank God that he chose me, of all women, to be Nicholas' mother and shared him with me for a time in this life.
If I have this disorder, I do not know. I just go on and fight the good fight. God Bless. Your post seems to encourage a belief in a GOD or an afterlife, which is good for you if you're able to maintain this belief. However, some of us take a more scientific approach and do not have the crutches of belief to fall back on. That is not to say we do not experience prolonged grief, just need to find a more realistic approach or treatment in dealing with it. But the greatest of these is love. I would say that we can agree that all of us posters do share one thing in common I understand that psychoanalysis and certain medications can be useful in eleviating some of the debilitating symptoms of this grief, but I do not rely on science as the ultimate answer to this human condition.
I think of science as mankind's evolving progress in identifying, placing a name to, and utilizing everything in this world that - I recognize - God has provided. And doing so, BTW, with the minds and abilities He created within in us, as well. Point being, is that human understanding is subject to error and to change. God is not. While it isn't my intention to convince you or anyone of what I see as a more realistic perspective on life and death, it does seem that the more mankind discovers, it often assumes some state of self-importance that separates it from the idea any power greater than itself.
And there are those who think of anyone who has faith in God -who recognize our spiritual nature- is somehow deluded by antiquated superstitions.
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One thing is certain, until mankind can eliminate death-or resurrect the dead- none of us are that far behind our departed loved ones in the scheme of eternity. So, is this life all that here is? Is our love for those we, now grieve over pointless because there is nothing after this life? That is where faith- or lack thereof- comes into play. And, if love truly is the greater, we all should hope and pray that God does allow us, one day, to be reunited with our loved ones. My heart does go out to you, Mimi.
One epiphany this article triggered in me was that yes, if I believed in God, and afterlife, and other superstitious stuff, I'd probably be a LOT better off. Greta, thanks for all your well experienced and deeply felt comments, you are spot on. Although some of us can't leave their rooms, that to take a shower is a monumental effort and for what reason, all is gone. When the fury and the death that pervades blows a hole in your heart, why should I care what the pathetic human race has to tell me?
They are liars if they think they could come any where near understanding this constant feeling of disconnection with the world. Why should anyone listen to these charlatans? Perhaps she requires a more loving and supportive partner who is not trying to force her to heal faster than she is able to. Or perhaps you could use some sensitivity training???? I lost my 17 year old son to suicide 12 years ago. I have Complicated Grief.
Much of what you wrote in this article could be applied to me and my grieving process. One thing I do not understand from my perspective is the notion that somehow I derive pleasure from the pain I experience over the loss of my son. Sometimes I do better than others and I do take medication and see a Counselor.
I won't give up but this grief has changed me, changed my life and turned me into someone I don't like being. What's pleasurable about that? Yes, as someone else with Complicated Grief I agree that the idea that there is anything at all pleasurable about it is both inaccurate and horribly offensive. I have read many articles about complicated grief and they generally do not use this terminology. I think the writer of the article misunderstood--there is, indeed, some evidence that complicated grief is related to addiction in that the brain becomes "addicted," to the state of or perhaps the neurotransmitters involved in acute grieving, but that doesn't mean that there is ever any pleasure involved.
I think it might be better to liken complicated grief to OCD--people with OCD don't derive any pleasure from their compulsions. Hi Violet, I think your analogy is very interesting and certainly makes sense to me. I have had people tell me that my frequent tears after 12 years is probably related to other things not my son's death. Therefore any stress, problem etc. If I had not suffered such a devastating loss I don't believe I would be such an emotional wreck.
I don't want to feel this way and I strive to heal as best I can. Thanks for your input. Hello Gigi, i can totally relate to what you are saying. I lost my daughter to suicide which unfortunately made the news. News people were even at the funeral. I have a stressful job and i get people telling me to step up and take on more responsibility at work.
But like you i know that additional stress is also a trigger for me which will make me more upset. People telling me to step up does not help when i ask for advice. Hello, let me correct your understanding Violet of this research. It does not suggest that you or anyone else enjoys suffering the loss of loved ones. I wrote the article because I have empathy for the difficulty of mourning someone we so deeply love and miss. The research only suggests that the pleasure center in the mind gets stimulated--which doesn't imply at all that the person finds strange joy in the loss.
This is a big misunderstanding of what is said here. It just says that grieving the loss stimulates biochemical relief. That's all. Do you have any suggestions for treatment of Complicated Grief when the person you've lost isn't dead? Targeted Complicated Grief Therapy is heavily dependent on the loss actually being bereavement. I have even written Columbia University to see if they had any suggestions for treatment if the loss wasn't from death; they replied no, they didn't.
I would also be interested in finding out about this. I have recently suffered the trauma of 3 family members dying, a truly horrific time which I am still struggling to cope with. At the same time I lost a man I love and can't imagine being without. A man who gave me hope in humanity after years married to a man I now believe to be a sociopath.
How can I move forward when I love and want him so much. This loss just hurts more and more each day. Any thoughts would be much appreciated. My experience finding help believe it or not I DO have a great desire to recover , has been pretty dismal. My beloved died at the age of thirty from a pulmonary embolism. He walked past me as I was sitting in our living room and a moment later I heard a crash in the kitchen. I ran in to find him struggling to rise, I asked him what happened and called , he continued struggling to rise and did manage to make it to his feet.
He looked at me with shining, loving eyes and said " I'm sorry I love you" and then the EMT's arrived and he died This was 2 years ago and I am still in deep grief. The memories, the shock, the sheer loss of this magnificent person and his brilliant future Yes, I thought about suicide and was ridiculed for it, few people in my life have been supportive including sisters and parents who believe I should have "gotten over this" long ago.
Good luck finding a therapist knowledgeable in complicated grief. I do see a therapist and a psychiatrist but they think it is depression and push pills on me and offer advice like going to my safe place etc. There is no place safe from my broken heart. Yes - Second this! Looking for guidance on complicated grief after a breakup. I was looking to email the Columbia university as well violethour!
Anyone have any advice on this? I'm in a similar situation as you are in the sense that my loss losses does not involve an actual death. And I'm stuck. Have you made any progress since your post? Thank you for asking this question, I experienced Complicated Grief over a friend that did not die. He had a diabetic coma and lost all memories of the previous 15 years.
Including ALL memories of me. It was devastating, and I never really was able to deal with it, mostly for the reasons you've made clear here. Hi Gigi, the loss of a child especially to suicide is so devastating. First, lt me say how sorry I am for your loss. Of course, you find no solace, pleasure or anything of the like in your mourning. Of course. I'm so sorry for your loss Gigi. God bless him and you. Gigi, I wrote a response to Violet below about the meaning of that research.
So please take a look. The research only suggests a biochemical reliefit in no way suggests that you or anyone else feels great pleasure in mourning. Please know I have lost someone very dear to me and I understand first hand how complicated grief can be. So know that I wrote this article and every word in it with deep appreciation for the plight.
Any piece of the information in this article in no way is meant to deprive any of us of the experience and right to mourn our loved ones. Every person mourns in their own way. But, all of us eventually have to find a way to integrate the loss in their lives. This doesn't mean that we ever forget or will never mourn again. Of course we do. It simply means that there is a season and a time for us to understand, integrate and try our best to move forward. Warm regards to you dear Gigi. My heart goes out to you and to everyone of you who has experienced the loss of one so deeply important to us.
Deborah, Thank you very much for the information and your kind and compassionate words. I continue to try my best and move forward. I really did like your article by the way and it is wonderful that you give feedback to these posts. Most appreciated. Katherine Shear, discusses the symptoms of complicated grief, how it is different from acute grief and depression, and the importance of supporting a loved one who is suffering.
Complicated Grief Treatment CGT , a week psychotherapy that guides people through resolving grief complications and revitalizes the natural healing process, is also discussed. My husband died, in his sleep without warning of an acute myocardial infarction in April I am suffering from CGD. I have been unable to find any treatment or help. I have tried GP, who was wonderful but let down by the CMHT, psychologist and psychiatrist, who seemed unable to help other than to suggest medication and would not recognise CGD.
Cruse were hopeless. I had also been married for 34years. I have recieved no support from my church. My parents have simply turned their backs on me.
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My son has emigrated to Australia. I know now that the only thing which will end the daily suffering and constant yearning is to join my husband, who was the only person who loved and understood me. Hello Maggie. I am so sorry for your loss. Of course you are suffering He and you shared so much of life together.
Mary there are therapists who know how to help with CBD. I don't know where you live to send you to someone. His name is Dr Siszook. And there are other professionals he may know. Let me search some more. But also keep inundated that any professional trained in grieving and loss can be very helpful. Now you take care. Warm regards Deborah. My husband died in after a 3 year period of illness with prostate cancer.
Our life together was very complex within a context of a commitment to kindness. We had both come from very dysfunctional backgrounds. We both did such a good job of loving each other. Since his death I have become aware of coping extremely well at one level I have an autistic son who is 30 and in my care and a 40 year old son who suffers from an intermittent mental illness ; I exercise, eat well, maintain important relationships with friends and family. I am highly educated although unemployable. I am I am also aware of absolutely not coping at all.
My spirituality has evaporated. I have no sense of a future or what it may involve. I cannot read books, or engage with the ways of life I previously found rewarding. I read thrillers! I am seeing a psychiatrist and have recently begun taking anti anxiety medication because my anxiety levels were so debilitating. I was so interested to read your article. Mainly because I had just been talking to a friend about complicated grief and me saying that it felt biological. I also said that I was constantly frustrated by others 'not getting' at all what was happening for me as I appear to be 'doing so well' - when in actual fact I feel as if my internal world has been completely shattered and I am struggling to regroup.
I am shocked that I am so badly affected as I had have had so much therapy!! After having read both the article and all of the comments attached to it I feel the need to share something that changed my thinking and grieving long ago and might help some of you who are hurting so badly - including people who are more inclined to scientific thought than faith driven beliefs. Many years ago as a curious undergrad, I was interested in and studying the vast variety of spiritual beliefs in the world when I came across the work of Dr.
Insight #1: Grief is personal and unique.
Brian Weiss, a widely respected, traditional psychiatrist practicing in Florida. He was classically trained and unrelentingly conscientious about scientific validity in his practice and works. In his book, published in , he details his sessions with a female patient who was experiencing an array of debilitating symptoms, and his frustration at the lack of progress she was experiencing. During a session the patient agreed to try hypnosis to locate the source of her anxieties and nightmares. Weiss gave her an open-ended suggestion to 'go back to the time and place where her anxieties began' paraphrasing and was extremely confused when the woman began recounting details of an event and time period that could not have taken place in the woman's life.
Still, upon ending the session, the woman ceased to experience the particular anxiety they had been targeting in that session. Intrigued, Dr. Weiss continued open ended instructions in her hypnotherapy sessions and discovered scientifically, bit by bit, that there is more to our existence than the life we are living. The book is especially lovely for the people who are right now wondering why they spent the last three minutes reading this post - ie: the skeptics.
Weiss was one as well. This finding upended his entire lifetime of study, observation, and practice, but the patient made undeniable progress, so he proceeded as any good scientist would, to attempt to figure out what was happening. The book takes you through his thoughts, doubts, and discoveries session by session, and as you experience the changes in his thinking you at least I experience them right along with him.
I felt compelled to write this post because I read all of your painfilled posts and I know what it's like to feel unrelenting grief and loss. I know what it's like to doubt religion and spirituality and to view them as crutches, and fairytales, and unscientific weakness. I know what it's like to be present at that ominous moment when life ceases and loss begins and how incomprehensibly huge that invisible line is. And how unexpectedly quiet and uneventful that incomprehensible, invisible line can be. I know how crushingly disappointing work with therapists and help from meds can be.
I also know that since reading Dr. Weiss's books once I read one I wanted to learn more I have found a semblance of peace found from scientifically presented research into what our lives are really all about. The law of Conservation of Energy states that "Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Energy never disappears, but it does change form. It now seems most probable to me that as lifeforms of energy, we do not end but simply change form - and likely, as Dr.
Weiss has found, even return to this plane of existence with our loved ones over and over, in different forms and situations. Eventually, I found a practitioner and underwent a regression therapy session myself. While it was far less simple than I thought it would be - my skeptical, logical mind kept checking and interrupting my journey along the way - I did experience another lifetime and did recognize my dearest loved ones though our roles were different then. I also experienced a "between time" as described in Dr.
There is nothing more uncomfortable than grieving a death. That must be so hard. So do. And when you get to this point of truly imagining, you will likely find yourself with tears welling up in your eyes and a feeling of deep sadness. But for your friend, this grief is now a reality. It is something they have to wake up to and face each day. And it is the coldest, darkest and loneliest feeling on Earth. There is a difference! But sometimes I need you to pretend that you do. Lie to me. The compassion from your sympathy is nice at first, but what your friend really needs is you to put yourself in their shoes and truly try to understand.
Our unwillingness to empathize makes figuring out what to say to our grieving friends much more difficult than it needs to be. So, work on those empathizing skills! Here is an article with 9 great tips on how to get better at empathizing. There is a hard stop to any discussion about the deceased. No one talks about them anymore and it begins to feel like that to others, they never even existed. Days have gone by.
Insight #2: You are dealing with more than one loss.
Days have turned into weeks gone by. Sheets have been slept on. Meals have been eaten. Teeth have been brushed. Life has been created. Life has been taken away. The world is spinning, moving on around me. I am standing still inside, leaving fingernail marks in the Earth as it drags me unwillingly on its journey. For the person grieving, it is the loneliest most desolate feeling in the world.
Not only is your loved one gone and the Earth gives you no choice but to keep moving forward, but now it feels like everyone else has just forgotten about them. Opening the door in a non-intrusive way for your friend to share some great stories about their loved one will be a sigh of relief for them. It will also let them know you genuinely care. They might not share stories with you immediately, or at all. For a person grieving a profound loss, that is priceless. Maybe that is why you clicked on this article, to begin with.
Read on to discover what to say when someone dies.