When Grief Doesn’t Go Away
Complicated grief is when grief doesn’t go away. It’s normal to feel numb, angry, sad or even depressed following a loss. But as time passes those emotions should lessen in their severity. If you aren’t feeling any better over time or are experiencing any of the following, you may be suffering from a condition called “complicated grief” or you may be experiencing actual depression. If left untreated, both complicated grief and depression can lead to significant health problems, emotional damage and more.
Signs of complicated grief
Grief never goes away completely, but it should abate with time. But some people may have a lot of difficulty accepting a death long after it has occurred. You may be so preoccupied with the person who died that it disrupts your daily routine and undermines your other relationships. That can be a clear sign of complicated grief; symptoms include:
- Intense longing and yearning for the deceased
- Intrusive thoughts or images of your loved one
- Denial of the death or sense of disbelief
- Imagining that your loved one is alive
- Searching for the person in familiar places
- Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one
- Extreme anger or bitterness over the death
- Feeling that life is empty or meaningless.
Signs of depression
- Pervasive sense of guilt
- Thoughts of suicide
- Preoccupation with dying
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Feeling numb or disconnected for more than a few weeks
- Unable to perform normal daily activities
If you think you may be experiencing complicated grief or depression reach out to a mental health professional to assess your emotional health. While sadness and grief go hand-in-hand, you should not be in unremitting emotional pain; a professional will help you ease the pain you may be experiencing daily.