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What is Complex Grief?

Complex grief, also known as complicated grief, refers to a prolonged and intense form of grief that significantly impairs your ability to adapt to the loss of your loved one. While grief is a normal and natural response to loss, complex grief is characterized by a persistent and heightened level of distress that continues well beyond the expected mourning period.

Here are some key features and symptoms associated with complex grief:

  1. Intense Long-Term Distress: Complex grief is marked by a profound and enduring sense of sadness, yearning, or longing for your deceased loved one. Your grief symptoms may persist for an extended period, often more than six months or longer.

  2. Difficulty Accepting the Loss: If you are experiencing complex grief, you are probably struggling to accept the reality of your loss. You may exhibit behaviors such as denial, disbelief, or persistent searching for the deceased person, even when presented with evidence of their death.

  3. Emotional Numbness or Detachment: You may experience a feeling of emotional numbness or detachment from others. You might have a hard time engaging in activities that you used to enjoy or have difficulty forming new relationships. 

  4. Intrusive Thoughts or Images: You may be experiencing repeated, upsetting thoughts or images related to your deceased loved one. These thoughts or images may feel stuck in your mind, making it difficult for you to focus on daily tasks or engage in healthy coping strategies.

  5. Avoidance Behaviors: You may actively avoid situations, people, or places that remind you of your deceased loved one. This avoidance can prolong your feelings of isolation and hinder your grieving process.

  6. Intense Yearning and Preoccupation: You may feel consumed with a persistent longing for your deceased loved one and experience a strong desire to be reunited with them. You may experience intense yearning and a profound sense of emptiness.

  7. Impairment in Daily Functioning: Your complex grief may be significantly impacting your work, relationships, and overall functioning. You may struggle to stick to routines, have trouble sleeping or eating, or show signs of depression or anxiety. 

It's important to note that the diagnosis of complicated grief requires a thorough evaluation by a mental health professional. Complex grief can have a significant impact on your well-being and quality of life. Seeking professional help from a therapist experienced in grief and bereavement counseling is crucial for you if you think you are experiencing complex grief. Therapy can provide support, help process emotions, develop coping strategies, and facilitate your healing process.

What if I have questions?

If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to us.

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