Chronic grief is grieving that lasts for a prolonged or extended period of time. There does not seem to be any significant reduction in emotional distress. It does not seem to end or decrease in severity across time.
A person who is experiencing this continues to feel extreme distress. This person’s loss feels as fresh as when it first happened even though some time has passed.
Some experts contend that those people who were overly dependent on the deceased are more likely to suffer from this disorder. They keep their bereavement close as a way of hanging on to their loved one.
We must not rush to assume that all people who mourn a long time are struggling with this condition. People who have experienced the traumatic death of a loved one may take longer to work through the bereavement process.
That can be especially true in the case of murder or accidental deaths. They may be involved in a long legal battle that causes them to relive the incident surrounding the death repeatedly.
It seems that the key difference between healthy bereavement and unhealthy grief is whether or not a person is continuing to progress through the steps. Have they become stuck in one of the stages, especially the intense reaction stages?
A person who is suffering from prolonged anguish very likely will need the help of a good grief counselor. A counselor can help them to work through the stage they are stuck in. Then they can continue the healing process.
Talking to a family member, friend, pastor or counselor is essential. We must accept what we are feeling and work through it. None of what we are experiencing is pleasant. It is extremely painful, but it is part of the journey. We cannot bury our heads in the sand (stop living)….we must go forward.
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