Losing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences we will have. When it happens we aren’t always prepared for the emotional aftermath – the grief.
Normal grieving is the experiencing of an intense emotional process as the person adapts to a new life without their loved one. The feelings that arise can be painful, confusing, and distressing. Over time, the intensity softens and people are able to move forward in their lives. Sometimes, though, grieving can become detrimental to one’s well-being.
When Grief Becomes a Problem
For some people, grieving is more difficult. The intensity doesn’t soften over time. Their grief affects their ability to function in their daily lives. Sometimes referred to as “prolonged” grief or “complicated” grief, this type of grief becomes debilitating and creates significant distress for the person. They simply cannot move past their intense feelings of loss long after the loss has occurred.
Symptoms of Prolonged Grief
Some of the indicators of prolonged grief include:
- Intrusive thoughts related to the loss
- Intense feelings or emotional pain, sorrow, or pangs or grief related to the loss
- Confusion about one’s identity (e.g., role in life, feeling that a part of oneself has died)
- Difficulty accepting the loss
- Avoidance of reminders of the reality of the loss
- Inability to trust others since the loss
- Bitterness or anger related to the loss
- Difficulty moving on with life (e.g., making new friends, pursuing interests)
- Numbness (absence of emotion), feeling stunned, dazed, or shocked by the loss
- Feeling that life is unfulfilling, empty, and meaningless since the loss
- Clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
- Duration at least six months from the onset of separation distress
Having some or even all of these indicators doesn’t necessarily mean your grief is prolonged. What sets prolonged grief apart is the amount of time that passes from the time of the loss and the breakdown in functioning due to the intensity of the grieving.
Grief Counseling Help in Houston, TX
Prolonged grief requires the help of a trained grief counselor. Thriveworks in Houston, TX can offer grief counseling, as we have experienced grief counselors who can help you work through your grief and to a place of healing.
If you or a loved one is struggling to cope with your loss, call Thriveworks Counseling in Houston, TX today for your confidential appointment.