Grief is the acute pain that accompanies loss. It is deep, because it is a reflection of what we love, and it can feel all-encompassing. Grief can follow the loss of a loved one, but it is not limited to the loss of people; it can follow the loss of a treasured animal companion, the loss of a job or other important role in life, or the loss of a home or of other possessions of significant emotional investment. And it often occurs after a divorce.
Grief is complex; it obeys no formula and has no set expiration date. It is an important area of ongoing research. While some experts have proposed that there are clear stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance—many others reject this structure and emphasize that grief is a highly individualized emotion and not everyone will grieve the same way.
Grief is sometimes compounded by feelings of guilt and confusion over a loss, especially if the relationship was difficult. Some individuals experience prolonged grief (also known as complicated grief), which can last months or years. Without help and support, such grief can lead to isolation and chronic loneliness.
Many of the symptoms of grief overlap with those of depression. There is sadness, and often the loss of capacity for pleasure; insomnia; and loss of interest in eating or taking care of oneself. But the symptoms of grief do tend to lessen over time, although they may be temporarily reactivated by important anniversaries or at any time by thoughts or reminders of the loss. Unlike depression, though, grief does not usually impair one’s sense of self-worth.
Temporary Placeholder Content Source