Grief is a natural response to loss. Complicated grief refers to a state in which you feel trapped in your pain and sense of loss after the death of your loved one(s).
It is important to remember that grief responses vary from person to person. Grief is typically transitional, which means the griever typically transitions through the following 5 stages of grief:
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
In the case of complicated grief, the griever not able to transition through the stages, or feels stuck in one stage. The prime indicator of grief becoming complicated is when your feelings worsen over time instead of getting better.
The following are some of the symptoms of complicated grief:
- Persistent, intense yearning or longing for the deceased.
- Frequent feelings of intense loneliness or emptiness
- Recurrent negative thoughts about life without the deceased or recurrent urge to join the deceased
- Preoccupying thoughts about the deceased that impair daily functioning.
- Rumination about circumstances of the death
- Frequent disbelief or inability to accept the death
- Persistent feeling of being shocked, stunned, or emotionally numb since the death
- Recurrent feelings of anger or bitterness regarding the death
- Difficulty trusting or caring about others since the loss
- Experiencing pain or other somatic symptoms the deceased person had, hearing the voice of the deceased, or seeing the deceased person
- Intense emotional reactions to memories of the deceased
- Excessive avoidance or excessive preoccupation with places, people, and things related to the deceased or death
The grieving process is challenging in itself. it’s best to see a professional counselor who can help you walk through this difficult time.