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Why You Might Experience Chronic, Complicated, or Extreme Grief

Category: 

Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Feb 01, 2017

Why You Might Experience Chronic, Complicated, or Extreme Grief

There's “normal” grief, which everyone feels after the loss of someone near and dear to them, but then there are deeper levels of complicated and extreme grief. They are sometimes lumped together as chronic grief. They have the same symptoms, which revolves primarily around an inability to let go of the person who died or to fully accept her or his death. But what causes these deeper types of mourning? Why do you feel this poignant, lingering depression but no one else around you does?

Your Relationship to the Deceased

You may experience complicated or extreme grief when you lose someone to whom you were extremely close, such as a spouse, a parent, or a child. In fact, you may not have this type of grief regarding any other death. In other words, just because chronic grief manifests with one death, that does not mean that it will always happen. A close, intimate, or loving relationship can act as a trigger and send you into a deeper, sadder spiral.

Body Chemistry and Genetics Can Play a Part

A predisposition to depression, emotional responses to loss, or complicated grief are all possible causes. The body chemistry bit isn't entirely scientific, but a genetic length certainly makes sense. Are there relatives in your immediate family who experience extreme grief? Think back to scenes you witnessed and stories you heard. It's possible that this is a familial trait.

Personality Can Spark a Reaction

It's even possible that your personality makes you more likely to go into a deeper depression after the death of someone you love. The science of this possibility isn't concrete, either, but if you're highly emotional, sensitive, dramatic, or histrionic—no judgment, those are simply traits—then it's entirely possible for certain deaths to hit you harder.

Environment Plays a Role

Your environment plays an enormous role in how you process grief. In an atmosphere where you're both encouraged and invited to talk about your feelings and express your emotions, you have the freedom necessary to come to terms with your bereavement. However, in an environment where you are not free to express yourself or your sadness, then grief can cling, sink deep, and slowly take over your life.

Simply put, you often have no control over the type of grief you experience. If you suspect that your bereavement is complicated, extreme, or chronic, then you should reach out and talk to your loved ones, a therapist, or a counselor.