C.O.M.P.L.I.C.A.T.E.D grief. Okay, now that I have your attention on the matter. I think that most people would agree that losing someone you love is one of our most difficult life experiences. Truthfully, there is not right or wrong way to grieve or mourn but even in some cultures there are particular customs in the grieving process (i.e. wearing all black for a predetermined amount of time). Oftentimes grieving and mourning are used interchangeably; however grieving is the thoughts and feelings associated with the loss, and mourning, is the outward expression of the grief. Regardless of the grieving process however, when the loss has not been adequately processed and dealt with, a gestalt therapist may term this "unfinished business," otherwise known in lay terms as "baggage." Normally, when losing someone it’s not unusual for people to experience symptoms of depression such as difficulty sleeping, a poor appetite and weight loss, which tend to be alleviated with time usually in approximately a couple of months according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR (DSM-IV-TR). However, when these symptoms continue to linger, an individual may develop a Major Depressive Disorder that then permeates and affects many areas of one’s life (i.e. relationships, vocation, and education). According to the Mayo Clinic, complicated grief also known in the literature as unresolved grief, is grief that becomes debilitating, does not ease with time, and the thought of moving forward without the loved one seems impossible. Although one can acknowledge on a conscious level the difficulty with the loss, I wonder what might be happening for some on an unconscious level (i.e. out of awareness). Sometimes I hear things from people like, "I don’t understand why I can’t just move on." In addition, some are not even aware that there is "unfinished business" with the loss of the loved one. In these situations, and during complicated or unresolved grief, it is important to come to an understanding and acceptance of the loss as well as the circumstances that surround the loss. Additionally, separating oneself (i.e. withdrawal) from the identification with the loss of the loved one will be important. Lastly, re-investing in old and new relationships will be critical in working through unresolved grief. Honestly, there is no set time on the grieving process; however, and as you can see, complicated grief is C.O.M.P.L.I.C.A.T.E.D.
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