death of a loved one, depression, depression after a death, life, mental abuse, mental health, suicide, suicide survivor

Complicated Grief after a Death of a Loved One or Severe Relationship Abuse

Complicated grief can occur after the death of a loved one, after the suicide of a loved one, and also after a narcissist discards you. 

Complicated grief is like being in an ongoing, heightened state of mourning that keeps you from healing.  Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic Lists the signs and symptoms of complicated grief as follows

  • Intense sorrow and pain at the thought of your loved one
  • Focus on little else but your loved one’s death
  • Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders
  • Intense and persistent longing or pining for the deceased
  • Problems accepting the death
  • Numbness or detachment
  • Bitterness about your loss
  • Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Inability to enjoy life or think back on positive experiences with your loved one

The problems of complicated grief are severe.

People lose touch with their friends and tend to isolate themselves. It is a mammalian response to want to go crawl into your cave and hide. You want to get away from any triggers and have no desire to be around other people.

It can result in losing one’s job and friends. If it continues, complicated grief can lead to very severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

There are factors which can cause a person to be unable to accept the death of a loved one. The death may have been senseless or violent. The death may have been of a young child or teenager. 

This can be a result of miscarriage or still birth. Any death of one’s child can cause mental trauma.

Some people can experience Complicated Grief after the death of a spouse, especially if they are now left to care for a child with no other parent.

The child’s grief only serves to compound the grief of the parent. They have to carry their own grief and the grief of their child for the lost parent. The more the surviving parent claims, internalizes and feels responsible for the suffering of their child, the more likely it will result in Complicated Grief that they cannot seem to recover from.

The child is a constant reminder of the lost partner. The child is grieving the lost parent. This can easily overcome the strongest of people, who are struggling to keep their child and themselves together, in the midst of their own grief.

There is seldom time for them to deal with their own feelings, because they are dealing with their child’s trauma over the death. This repression of feelings, in order to keep going, can cause the grief to not be resolved. The parent needs to get help with their own feelings.

Sometimes people do not understand why their loved one is still in the same state of grief that they were in months ago.

When they comment that the person should be better by now, it makes the person draw into themselves more, which is the opposite of what needs to happen.

There are any number of circumstances in combination with the person’s mental state at the time of the death, that can lead to ongoing grief that does not heal normally.

This is a very serious mental health disorder. It may need to be treated by a mental health professional. Telling a person to “get over it” or making them feel bad for continuing to feel grief, will only cause the person to further isolate themselves.

Complicated grief can also occur after the victim of narcissistic abuse is cruelly discarded. Their reality has been corrupted intentionally by a psychopath or a narcissist. When the abuser discards you, the world that you know completely falls apart.

There is a chemical addiction that the victims of narcissistic abuse suffer from and there are actual physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. There is also a sudden, rude awakening of the reality as they knew it, being shattered.

The realization that you were with someone in an intimate way, that was very dangerous, can be frightening and cause you to question humanity itself.

So, victims of narcissistic abandonment can go through a similar but different experience of Complicated Grief. As I said, it is a severe mental condition and can cause the victim to contemplate suicide.

Not all people that suffer from complicated grief will become suicidal but it does not make their condition less important to get help with. There is a lack of being able to accept the reality of what happened. Every day the person wakes up and re-experiences the death all over again.

Every day is the same trauma replaying itself.

People cannot go one with this level of severe grief and still live and function normally. It can cause destruction to their mental health and to their functionality in life.

If you are or have experienced the symptoms on the list above, you should reach out for proper help. Do not let people tell you that you “should” just get over it. You cannot get over this condition all alone.

It is not a choice that someone makes to stay have Complicated Grief or PTSD.

It is a state that your brain goes into. Your brain is always trying to protect you, but sometimes it does the wrong thing in the process.

The brain is causing the amygdala to work overtime. You become in a state of post traumatic stress. The brain decides to put the fear centers and the pain centers of the brain, into alarm mode. It is trying to defend you against more trauma.

The problem is that you cannot live and function if your brain is keeping the alarms on all the time. We were not designed to tolerate stress and anxiety in an ongoing, continuous manner. 

The fight or flight mode is a chemical reaction in the brain, that wakes up the amygdala and the frontal cortex. It is supposed to get your body ready to fight or to run. It is like that super adrenaline rush you get when someone does something on the road that is about to cause you to crash. 

It is like if someone were to hold a gun up to your head. It is like any kind of severe life threatening situation occurs. One example might be if you saw your baby in severe danger. Your entire body would feel that. Your blood pressure would rise, your heart rate would increase  etc.

PTSD and Complicated grief are similar in that the alarms are in a permanent ON position.

Someone traumatized from narcissistic abuse may have both of these condition –  PTSD and complicated grief. The grief causing the severe sadness and lack of acceptance. The alarms are on that have to do with not wanting to accept the trauma that you have to experience about the death.

People who have lost a loved one and were not prepared for it, can end up with complicated grief. If the death was violent, or there were circumstances that the person’s brain just cannot accept, then they may also have PTSD.

The conditions of  PTSD and Complicated Grief can exists as comorbid conditions in the same person’s brain. 

What the exact thing that is going on the brain is not as important as the fact that the person is in a severe mental disturbance. It is not sustainable for them and they cannot live normally with this ongoing critical mental disfunction.

God bless and protect those that suffer,

Please reach out for yourself and catch the hand of others who are sinking,

Much Love,

Annie

bipolar disorder, depression, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, suicude

What if You Can’t “Just Get Over It” ? Depression, Trauma, PTSD, Death, Suicide,Mental Illness

Life is hard. It really can suck sometimes. Let’s be truthful about this.

People might be telling you to “suck it up” …  “move on”… “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”  These people are not inside of your head.

You know this and you know that your inner world is different from theirs. Somewhere in your brain, is this voice saying “What is wrong with me? “

Pretending everything is okay with your mental state, is not easy and if it is continuous it will lead you to misery and a mental  breakdown.

No, everyone does not want to listen. No, everyone does not care.

Yes, there are people who are going to say to you “Haven’t you gotten over that yet?”  …and …”everyone has it hard, you have to get over it”

Well, fuck !  Sometimes things happen that you CANNOT just get over. They don’t magically go away. There seems to be no one to talk to.

Im lost too

It is like being in some nightmare land where you speak such a different language than anyone else that you are completely alone with your pain and your perception of life.

Your perception and faith in humanity can be damaged.

Certain things can damage our perception of humanity as a basically good and safe thing to be a part of.

Abuse and trauma rape the soul and the mind. If you have been through something that you cannot seem to heal from, then it probably raped your soul and infected your inner core of being.

It does not have to physical abuse that causes trauma to your inner core of being. Mental and emotional abuse can be severely damaging to your inner being.

If your reality has been messed with by someone who caused you to believe that the world is different than it is, then you are likely to have trouble recovering and “getting over it.”  Narcissistic abuse is one thing that can cause mental disfunction. 

The nature of reality itself can become in question. Your ability to trust people and to feel confident in your ability to know who is safe, can be deeply affected.

Other things can cause us to question our perception of reality. Witnessing things that are personally traumatizing to our psychological state and being in traumatic events, can cause our brains to become ill.

Certain events can cause us to question our purpose to be here. They can even lead to suicidal thoughts. If left without any validation of your real feelings, this state of mind is dangerous to you.

When a loved one dies or becomes terminally ill, your entire world is affected. Some people have different coping skill that other people.

You working with your own past and whatever you have been wired with, in order to evaluate cope. No one is just like you.

People may say  that you should be handling things better, but they are not inside of the entire mental and emotional  package that is in you.

If you are not okay, then you are NOT okay.

That is just  how it is for now. It does not help to shove your feelings down, just to make other people more comfortable. Yes, you have to keep things to yourself a lot of the time, but you cannot do it constantly and permanently.

When did it become such a taboo thing to not be okay?  Why should you be condemned for suffering?

All cultures are not like this. All traditions are not like this.

The world seems to be becoming more narcissistic, as far as what is acceptable for people to do and say. This ever growing acceptance for people to be less empathic and compassionate, is making the gap between people with mental illness and the “normals” greater and greater.

Mental illness encompasses a wide range of disorders and conditions. It can triggered by events and circumstances in your life. Traumatic events can cause PTSD. Deeply sad circumstances and losses can cause depression.

When does being depressed or having anxiety become a mental disorder?

You have a disorder when your life becomes disordered. It is difficult to do the regular things.

Your feelings about doing the things that you enjoy have changed. You do not want to or cannot just get through the day like you feel you should be able to.

When your work, your relationships. your daily functions become impaired, then your condition has turned into a disfunction.

What Matters?

Pain is pain. Mental suffering is mental suffering. You can’t always “just shake it off.”  You matter and your mental state matters.

It is easy to fall into feeling guilty, because people think you should  be fine and you are not. You are not a big baby and you are not inferior to these other people.

You might just be deeper and more sensitive than other people tend to be. There is a small percentage of humanity that is empathic and more sensitive that others. 

If this is you, then you are going to feel things more deeply and emotional events are going to affect you much differently than other people.

Add on top of it, a high intelligence and ability to be abstract and creative, and you have a high potential for developing a mental illness. 

Why? It is the way of things. You internalize things in a deep way and you ruminate over things more deeply and more obsessively than other people, who are more shallow than you are.

They can shake things off, at times, easier than you can. They tell you that you “should” be able to be like them, but are you like them?

If you have had any mental abuse in your past, then your brain is already wired differently from other people, and you are not going to perceive and respond to situations in the same way that others do.

Your personality may be a blessing and  curse. You have found yourself in circumstances that other people do not end up in. You process life events, betrayal, death, disloyalty , and lack of fairness in the world in your own  personal way.

Your mind is unique. For someone to understand why you cannot “just get over it” …or “Move on already”..they would have to enter the world of your mind, and your perception, in addition to understanding what has happened in your past and how it affects you.

You are alone in a way. On the other hand, you are not alone and do not have to be.

Keeping your feelings buried underground, will eat you alive. Finding someone to talk to can be difficult. Keep your mind open to talking to someone because they might turn up in the most unlikely of places.

Use your blog to communicate about your real feelings. You can set up a second blog, if your is not anonymous. If you use a separate email address then it will not link to your other blog.

Find ways to get your real thoughts and feelings out. Do not criticize yourself for being mentally or emotionally stuck in any situation. You are stuck because there are still things you need to work through.

Blessings,

Be Yourself,

Feel what you feel so you can get through it,

Annie ❤

anxiety, depression, mental health, mental illness, miscarriage, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder , The Invisible Illness in the Brain

Life is hard and we have had to endure trauma and pain. Many of us have had too much trauma and it has caused illness in our brains. The brain has different parts to it that are supposed to work in a coordinated way.

When the brain is functioning properly, the chemicals are balanced and the proper signals are sent to our bodies at the proper times. The parts of the brain that are supposed to light up (they light up in an MRI scan) do their job and light up at the proper times and turn off at the proper times.

When we have been through extended periods of time of  severe threat and when we have been forced to endure severe trauma to the brain, the normal functioning of the brain becomes altered. Our bodies and our brains are supposed to protect us. The natural mechanisms are set up to keep us safe from being injured both physically and mentally.

Sometimes , in cases of severe situations , when our brains or bodies are under threat , the natural mechanisms for protection overreact or do not know when to shut off. I am going to give a personal example of a physical trauma I experienced in which my own body almost killed me, in its attempt to protect me.

I am doing this in order to compare what happens when the body goes too far trying to protect itself with when the mind goes too far trying to protect itself.

I was pregnant for the second time. My first daughter was about 4 years old. I got through to 5 months of the pregnancy. I had already set up the baby room and hung up the baby clothes and folded the little blankets and played with the little booties. I was very excited and happy to have another baby.

tw-sign6 trigger warning

Yeah, here it comes…sorry …Trigger Warning … If you have past trauma (as I do ) from a miscarriage, please don’t keep reading. You already know what it to come because you have been there. No need to read on, you already can make the comparison from the body going too far to protect you and the mind going too far to protect you.

The bleeding started with a few spots. They were bright red, which is not what you want to see at 5 months of pregnancy. Then it got a little worse. I was seen by the ER and the obstetrician at the hospital said the miscarriage was imminent.

I will not describe all of my emotions and all of the situation surrounding why I still have post traumatic stress from this. That is for another post. I am just going to talk about the physical part.

The Dr told me to come back to the ER if the bleeding reached a certain level, which she told me how to know. She said if could just be ok to have the miscarriage at home but I might have to come back to be treated.

Well it did get worse and worse and worse and worse. Very quickly I was hemorrhaging buckets of blood. My husband drove me to the hospital as I I felt the blood pouring out.

The doctor at the ER said that my body was trying to clean itself of an unwanted substance,  The brain knew that the pregnancy was compromised and that anything there had to be flushed out. She said she hoped the bleeding would stop on its own, once the body was satisfied that everything was cleaned out.

But it did not stop. It poured and poured and … I lost so much blood that my face turned white and I was light headed. In fact  had anemia for 3 months after this and was very very sick, because the doctor waited too long to start calling the OR and setting up the surgery.

So the body was trying to help me but it was killing me quickly. When I had to sign all the paperwork (yeah..they dumped paperwork on top of me on the bed and described all the things that could go wrong with the surgery to terrify me even more)

I asked her what would happen if I did not sign it. It seemed like they were giving me a choice between surgery and no surgery because they were asking me if I would agree to the disclaimers and dangers of the surgery.

She had no bedside manners at all. Some day I will tell you all the rest of this story. There is even more horror that I am describing here but I can’t get into it because it is too traumatizing for me.

She answered my question about what would happen if i did not sign the paperwork. She said “You have lost over a liter of blood. That is over a third of all the blood in your body. You have about 45 minutes at best before your body sends all the rest of your blood out.”

So I signed the paperwork and I am here to tell you the horrifying story.

As my brain and my body were coordinating  together to protect my body from a foreign substance or invasion of sorts, it was washing me clean with my own blood. My life was being flushed onto the bed and onto the floor. It is horrible.

Our brains do the very same thing. When we experience a severe trauma to the mind. One that the mind cannot tolerate. One that the mind wants to protect us from, it over does it.

The brain goes on Red Alert. There is a threat. There is danger. It goes into a hyper alert state and turns on the amygdala, which is the fear center in the brain.

It turns the fear center on so hard and for so long that it is not safe for us. The brain is not designed to have the amygdala on super alert, overload for more than a few minutes. When the brain forces those parts of the brain to light up for extended periods of time, we become sick. Just like I was  very sick for months after the miscarriage.

I could hardly get our of bed. I had debilitating headaches. I became disabled to work or even help myself around the house for months.

Our brain becomes sick. It was in terror and trauma for way too long. It could not recover and just go back to normal.

Sometimes people go into a catatonic state from trauma. This is another way that the brain tried to protect itself but causes a dangerous situation for itself, in the process.

In the wild, animals go into the fight or flight mode when threatened by a predator. They either fight to the death or they run fast to escape. The amygdala sets all systems of the body into a state ready to fight strong or run fast. This is not a sustainable state for the brain to endure for more than a few minutes. Humans are the same.

Post traumatic stress disorder is invisible to others. They think we are just too emotional and we should have been able to get over it by now. But we are no more able to “just fix” the broken brain and go on with our business as usual than I was able to function after losing almost half of the blood in my body (by the time the Operating Room and the anesthesiologists were ready and the time it took to do the surgery) .

We have a broken brain. The brain tried to protect us but in the process it broke itself. It happens and that is just how it is. We did not do it on purpose and we cannot just make it fix itself right away , anymore than I could pour new blood into my body when I did not have enough blood for 3 months.

It takes years to heal post traumatic stress and for many of us, it lingers more than a few years. I know this was a horrifying post but it does put post traumatic stress into a new perspective in order for people to understand. If you have a loved one that does not understand why you are not “Better” yet, feel free to let them read this.

Sometimes people need an analogy of a physical thing in order to understand a mental thing. Unfortunately I had to choose a horrifying physical thing to compare PTSD to, because it is the only way for someone to see how horrifying PTSD is.

I had nightmares about the experience and I ended up with PTSD from it n top of the physical sickness. I have to say that between the physical sickness and the mental torture of the fear and the nightmares I had for 6 months or more, the mental torture was worse.

I still have post traumatic stress lingering from this experience. As I said before. there were more horrors surrounding the situation that I did not choose to torture you with.

If you have PTSD I hope this post will help you to be able to explain it to someone that you need to understand you.

Blessings,

Annie