Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Complex grief

My husband's mum passed away in 1999. Gareth was devastated then and he is devastated now - 13 years on. A lot of people don't understand why he "won't" move on - why he can't just put it in the past and get on with it. They don't understand because they don't want to understand. They would prefer that Gareth played nice, never brought the subject up and stopped mourning - because it makes them feel uncomfortable! Well, tough! I'm so sick of ignorance and people unwilling to educate themselves in order to try to understand others especially those we are close to.

Grief is traumatic enough without adding other factors into it. If a bereavement is allowed to go unresolved for whatever reason the consequences can be devastating. Our culture here in the UK does not promote healthy grieving - other countries sob unreservedly in the street - here it's a quiet, respectful affair, everyone in black, everyone shuffling along uncomfortably avoiding looking at the one that's breaking down in the corner - "take her outside!"

People with personality disorders do not always have normal emotional functioning so dealing with loss can be even harder. Falling mentally ill is a loss in itself - losing years of your life, losing friends, family, your personality, self-respect, self-worth.

Gareth asked me if he could write how he feels about the loss of his mum and this is what he said,

"To speak of my mum in detail is far too hard so I'm just going to say a few words. The day my dear mum passed away was the day that changed my whole life and was also the day a part of my heart was ripped out. There isn't a day goes by where I don't consider committing suicide. I know this is a completely selfish attitude to take but it's the only way I would (hopefully) get to see my mum again straight away. I only told my mum once in my whole life that I loved her and that is the biggest regret of my life. There is so much more I want to say but I just can't right now. I may write more one day. Gareth"

Sadly how Gareth feels is not uncommon. The DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) due out in 2013 is looking at including Complicated Grief Disorder. I hope it does because then the world may start to realise that it's not a case of just "getting on with it".

No comments:

Post a Comment