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Does grief get more challenging as time goes on?

By Clare Gemima

You might have heard that grief gets better over time. For many, it does. Yet, contrary to this popular belief, grief can be more complex and nuanced than the common statement infers for some. Regardless, over time, grief tends to evolve and impact us in different and unexpected ways.

What makes grief harder sometimes?

Many reasons may cause one to feel that one’s grief over time has worsened instead of gotten better. Changes in one’s life can deepen the sparks of sorrow that smolder below the surface of the mind. This worsening feeling might result from:

● Lacking a support system

● Losing one’s “rock”

● Missing one’s person during times of stress

● Feeling the added strain in times of crisis

Why is grief often worse after the first year?

Over time, grief’s evolution can occasionally worsen after the first year. Some situations and life changes that trigger these stronger waves of grief can include:

● Isolation

● Struggling with self-identity

● Realizing the permanence of changes after a death loss

● Adapting to financial changes

● Facing the work that it takes to better cope with grief (sometimes this feels like a full-time job)

What is prolonged grief disorder?

Although grief is a natural response to a death loss, prolonged grief disorder is a new addition to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that describes a condition where one’s grief over time exceeds cultural, social, or religious norms. This definition separates grief and bereavement from similar forms of depression. Some symptoms of prolonged grief disorder include:

● Disruption of self-identity

● Avoiding reminders of one’s loss

● Intense grief-related emotional pain

● Difficulty reintegrating into healthy activities

● Feeling as though life is meaningless

One must seek support to help cope with grief over time. Support groups and professional therapists can provide valuable resources to help you cope with grief and heal the emotional and mental wounds that come with the death loss of your person.

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