Complicated grief is more likely when a husband and wife were extremely dependent upon on one another for companionship.
My wife died last May, almost six months ago. We were so devoted to each other that we didn’t need any friends. I don’t go to pubs or clubs and am very much a loner. Now, I seem to be pushing people away in case they want something I’m unable to give them. I don’t know where to turn for help.
I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s natural for someone to feel a profound sense of loss after the death or a
spouse. In fact, more than 50 percent of widows and widowers suffer from major depression in the first few months following their loss.
Although there are a wide variety of normal reactions to the death of a spouse, some people don’t feel much better with the passage of time and are unable to get past their grief on their own. For example, the surviving spouse may:
- Be unable to stop thinking about the death or about the deceased partner;
- Feel depressed, angry, lonely, or helpless;
- Withdraw from people;
- Be unable to enjoy life, function as usual, or find purpose in living; and/or
- Feel like he or she wants to die.
When this occurs, therapists call this “complicated grief.” Complicated grief is more likely to occur in instances when a husband and wife were extremely dependent upon on one another for companionship.
If you are having a hard time recovering from your loss after this period of time, it may be helpful to speak to a mental health professional. A therapist can provide support so you can begin to feel better about yourself and see a future ahead of you—although it will, no doubt, be markedly changed from your past.
Try to remain connected to people who care about you, whether they are family, friends, neighbors, fellow congregants, or other members of your community. You may also want to find out whether there are
support groups in your community where you can meet other individuals who have shared a similar experience to your own and will be able to make new connections, at your own pace, without undue demands.
Again, my condolences on your loss. I hope these suggestions are helpful.
My best, Irene