I have a hard time digesting the fact that in the DSM-5, Grief is not a treatable disorder unless and until it becomes complicated. We don’t come with handbooks that tell us how to grieve, when to start or even more importantly, when to begin to stop. Why is it so unfathomable then, that we can give ourselves permission to set a date to begin to heal from grief? Grief can cause an assortment of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems that can lead to an early death. Yes. You heard me right. Broken Heart Syndrome is real and is also called Stress-Induced Cardiomyopathy. I have this theory, that the physical manifestations of grief including heart attack, blood clots, fluctuating blood pressure as well as cardiomyopathy, can all cause emotional imbalances that lead to a weakened immune system due to the rise in the stress hormones that are being released, which also lead to intense mental pain that causes hopelessness and in come cases self-mutilation which leads right back up the ladder from mental, spiritual, and emotional pain right back to physical. Persistent efforts to ignore grief lead to denial and the effort to refocus the narrative leads to complicated grief which blocks reality so the body and mind cannot effectively integrate the person’s new reality. It’s a ferris wheel of denial and pain. Picture symptoms getting on and off while the pauses give the person some sense of relief so the denial factor grows. When in reality, what is happening is the stress on the body further increases and worsens the weakened immune system which prolongs ailments. What this may look like is if someone was a longterm caretaker and their loved one passed away their gout or arthritis may flare in the aftermath. As they grapple with the reality of having to go back to work or pay the longterm health care bills that had been piling up, they may discover that they are now ill themselves. But this does not have to happen. If there were a consensus on what this term meant, then others may possibly get funding for something so basic.
Giving oneself permission to grieve along with permission to choose a date when to begin to stop grieving and outlining steps to take to get there are necessary for a positive outcome. I will be publishing more in the days to come. Thank you.