I had a rather shocking, but welcoming surprise last week. What has commonly been referred to in the therapy community as complicated grief has now been recognized as a real mental health condition. It is called prolonged grief disorder (read more here) and was recently entered into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The symptoms have been defined and classified by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which you can read more about here.
In short, the DSM is the handbook used by clinicians and psychiatrists in the United States to diagnose psychiatric illnesses. It covers all categories of mental health disorders for adults and children, including anxiety, depression, OCD, addictive and eating disorders. Why is this so important to point out?
Continue reading “What the (*) ? I now have 2 disorders. Prolonged Grief Disorder just became a real thing!”
Sadly, I had a reminder recently of just how much our grief culture today remains unchanged from sixteen years ago, when I lost my daughter (and decades before). One of my family members shared with me the difficulty they had in knowing what to say to an acquaintance, who has a family member who is critically ill with COVID 19.
Given our own bereavement and the isolation we all felt as a result of it, I was somewhat taken aback to learn that this encounter for my family member still felt extremely awkward, despite everything we’ve gone through after the suicide of my daughter. It turns out that the bereaved can be just as tongue-tied when having an unexpected and/or unpleasant conversation with someone going through stress, worry or trauma. In this case, someone coping with the serious illness of a loved one that could potentially lead to their death.
Continue reading “Grief Culture Today”