When we lose a loved one, grief is inevitable. Grieving is a natural response to loss and can take many forms, ranging from sadness to anger to denial. However, in some cases, grief can take a pathological turn, making the healing process more challenging. In this article, we will explore what pathological grief is and how one can overcome it.
What is Pathological Grief?
Pathological grief, also known as complicated grief, is a form of grief that deviates from the norm due to its duration, intensity, and its impact on the individual’s daily life. Unlike normal grief, which tends to lessen with time, pathological grief persists and may even worsen over the months
Symptoms of pathological grief can vary, but they often include intense and prolonged distress, an inability to regain a sense of normalcy, obsessive thoughts about the deceased person, excessive guilt, and a loss of self-esteem. People experiencing pathological grief tend to be isolated and may even develop physical and mental health issues related to their grief.
Causes of Pathological Grief Pathological grief can occur for various reasons, including:
- Complex relationship with the deceased: If the relationship with the deceased person was tumultuous, filled with negative emotions, or unresolved, grief can become pathological.
- Lack of social support: A lack of support from family, friends, or a support network can exacerbate pathological grief.
- History of mental disorders: Individuals with a history of mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety, are more likely to develop pathological grief.
- Circumstances of death: A sudden, violent, or traumatic death can make grief more challenging to manage.
How to Overcome It?
Pathological grief is not a dead end. With the right support and strategies, it is possible to begin the healing process. Here are some important steps to overcome pathological grief:
- Seek professional help: Consulting a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist can help you cope with your grief in a healthy way.
- Find a support network: Sharing your pain with friends and loved ones can be therapeutic. Joining a grief support group can also be beneficial.
- Take care of yourself: Ensure you eat healthily, exercise, and get enough rest. Taking care of your physical well-being contributes to your emotional well-being.
- Practice mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness can help you manage your emotions and center yourself.
- Accept your pain: It is normal to feel sadness, anger, and other emotions during grief. Accept them and give yourself permission to feel them.
Pathological grief is a challenge, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are resources and support available to help you through this difficult time. By seeking help and taking care of yourself, you can gradually overcome pathological grief and move toward a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Remember that the grief process is different for every individual, and there is no fixed timeline for healing. Be patient with yourself and seek the help you need to progress on the path to healing.