When Trauma Blocks Grief
Losing a loved one in a sudden or unexpected way — a car accident, heart attack, murder or suicide — may result in a traumatic reaction that hinders the grieving process. This sense of shock can also occur when the death is expected, as in the case of a long illness.
If a person is run down psychologically, suffers from anxiety or depression or has endured previous traumatic experiences, it’s more difficult to handle another setback. As a result, additional grief symptoms can be unbearable. In order to cope, the traumatized individual may attempt to avoid grieving altogether.
The National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder highlights broad types of symptoms that differentiate trauma from grief:
😔Re-experiencing Symptoms: Mentally replays the trauma while awake or asleep.
😔Avoidance Symptoms: Avoids trauma-related activities, places, thoughts or feelings.
😔Numbing Symptoms: Loss of emotions, especially positive ones.
😔Arousal Symptoms: Difficulty concentrating and sleeping, and a heightened sense of being on guard.
Over time, if symptoms continue to influence life at work and home, counseling is advised. In addition to support groups, treatments that are both comforting and effective are available. Grieving the loss may be painful, but it is necessary to allow healing to occur.
Credits – Patricia Johnson