During grief, more commonly right after the loss of a loved one, it is natural to feel numb, sad or angry at anything. With the power of time, these acute emotions should become subtler as you start to accept the loss and move on. If you are not feeling any better over time, but instead feeling worse off than before, it might be a clue that your grief has grown into a more complex situation, such as Complicated Grief Disorder (CGD) or clinical depression.
Complicated Grief Disorder (CGD)
The pain of losing your loved one will never be gone completely; however, it should never remain at the centre of your life. If the pain of grief is so intense and unstoppable such that you are unable to function well in your daily routine, you may be suffering from complicated grief. Complicated grief is as though one is trapped in an extreme state of mourning. You might still be unable to accept the death of your loved one which causes you to be dysfunctional in your life and sabotages your other relationships too.
Symptoms of complicated grief include:
- Intense longing and yearning for the deceased
- Searching for the person in familiar places
- Intrusive thoughts or images of your loved one
- Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one
- Denial of the death or sense of disbelief
- Feeling that life is empty or meaningless
- Imagining that your loved one is alive
Clinical depression and Complicated Grief Disorder (CGD) are very similar in terms of their symptoms, nevertheless, we can still tell the difference with other symptoms unique to depression only. Grief can be an emotional roller coaster to some where there are still times where you will feel happy. However, with depression, you are constantly in an emotional slump unable to escape.
Other symptoms that suggest depression, not just grief:
- Intense, pervasive sense of guilt
- Slow speech and body movements
- Thoughts of suicide or a preoccupation with dying
- Inability to function at work, home, and/or school
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
You can find professional support from: