Professionals have always agreed that grief is a complicated emotion. It has been associated with triggering anxiety disorders in some patients. Some research shows that grief takes specific processes to play out. Other research indicates that grief is never a straight line. One may experience symptoms today, but they won’t the next day. Still, they are not healed completely even though there are no symptoms at all.
Many hospice care services in Indiana will offer emotional care for their patients. The idea is to make sure that the patients are as fulfilled as they can be toward the sunset of their lives. Although every person’s grief will seem different, there are standard ways it can show up, and one may miss it without a trained eye. They include:
Absent and delayed grief
Patients who display absent grief act like nothing—no loss—happened. To the observer, these people do not mourn or grieve. They tend to become detached or ungrounded, preferring to go on as though there was never any death. It is common for one to feel emotionally numb. It is common for them to display maladaptive behavior when they do not know how else to deal.
In a delayed grief case, the patient will mourn way later. There may be pressing responsibilities such as planning the funeral, which the mourner has to attend to. As they do, they put grief on the back burner. Some people postpone grief until years after death. Grief rears its head when something happens later that is related to the first loss.
Inhibited and conflicted grief
Inhibited grief consists of situations where a person no longer performs activities associated with mourning. They will not settle for long enough to feel pain directly. Instead, they might develop mental health complaints or worse, an illness. This grief is characterized by the mourner choosing to mourn one trait of the dead, and not others. For example, they might focus on the positive aspects of the deceased.
In conflicted grief, the mourner will exaggerate the behavior that is typically associated with pain and suppress others. For example, they might show extreme guilt and anger. It is also common for some patients in hospice care to exhibit panic attacks or resolve to substance abuse. Conflicted grief, due to its nature, often goes on for long and is common with people who were attached to the dead.
The mourner will show intense reactions commonly expected in the early grieving stages long after the loss. There will be little progress in how the bereaved handles the problem. Their grief becomes a way to keep the loved one alive. This grief is often fanned by insecurity in the mourner. The bereaved are also likely to feel like the relationship with the deceased was irreplaceable.
The problem with complicated grief is that if people are unaware of it, they can cause it to extend for longer than necessary. In hospice care, the therapist will be looking to explore the feelings that the bereaved has avoided, whatever they are. A common thing to remember is that whatever the kind of grief, the patient will deny certain aspects of loss. Healing comes only after they realize the finality of the loss.