Friday, June 18, 2004

Coping with the loss of a loved one: Mental Health

Thought this was good to know just in case .....

Mental Health

Feel like you're losing your mind? Living life without a road map? Forgetting everything? Your mind—like your body and heart—is going through a lot right now. But like other reactions, the mental fatigue will lessen as well.

Special Feature: Traumatic Events and The Mind
Read suggestions from the National Mental Health Association on loss from traumatic events and your mental state.

Is It Normal Grief Or Clinical Depression?
As Dr. Therese Rando explains in Grief, Dying and Death, "depression and despair are common reactions to important losses." However, it is important to understand the difference between the depression following the death of a loved one and a clinical depression requiring intervention of a professional mental health worker.

Dr. Alan Wolfelt in Death and Grief: A Guide for Clergy gives these possible distinctions between normal grief and clinical depression:

Normal Grief vs. Clinical Depression

Responds to comfort and support : Does not accept support

Often openly angry : Irritable and may complain but does not directly express anger

Relates depressed feelings to loss experienced : Does not relate experiences to a particular life event

Can still experience moments of enjoyment : Exhibits an all-pervading sense of doom

May have transient physical complaints : Has chronic physical complaints

Expresses guilt over some specific aspect of the loss : Has generalized feelings of guilt

Has temporary impact upon self-esteem : Loss of self-esteem is of greater duration

"Why do I keep thinking and talking about how she died?"
Talking about the way our loved one died helps us grasp the reality of the experience. This is a life-changing experience so it is natural that it will be a vivid memory. As you work through your grief, you will not need to talk about the death in as much detail.


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