traumatic grief; is everything normal?

We are experiencing a pandemic. While we live in a world where for most of us we don’t even know what it is, we are now learning what it is like to live in our lives and accordingly. This was perhaps one of our hardest learnings, because what we are trying to protect with masks, disinfectants, distances is death. Death is a concept that is always present in life but that we are not aware of until we live it.

Death underlies all phobias, whatever one does in the world is a reaction to death; epic works of art, huge buildings, civilizations… A person who escapes death never thinks that it will happen to himself and his loved ones, both unconsciously and consciously. You can’t even live thinking about it. However, there is a distinction in our relationship with death, such as forgetting it and completely denying its existence. Forgetting keeps us in life, while denial prevents us from living a meaningful life. For this very reason, being unable to deny death any longer, sitting in the middle of this world order that completely denies death and declared war against everything that reminds of it, and that says I am here, has been the most difficult experience of the pandemic. He is going through a period in which a life is pumped so that he will not get old, be the healthiest, get that company he has always aimed for, get the most likes on Instagram, daily death numbers are announced, he lives according to the precautionary decisions, and he fears that his loved one or himself will be one of those numbers. This situation is unique, deserves the best of everything, and even if he has suffered a loss, having to explain that his grief is so different from others that he has to explain whether it is because of the corona… This situation brings the concept of traumatic grief to us.

Grief is conceptually defined as severe and long-lasting pain and grief experienced after loss, and it causes some symptoms as a natural and healthy consequence of the loss. These are experienced as emotional symptoms such as surprise, shock, anger, sadness, cognitive symptoms such as inability to decide, disbelief, loss of orientation, and physical symptoms such as insomnia, loss of appetite or overeating and difficulty in breathing.

What is the Difference Between Grief and Traumatic Grief?

Grief is a healthy process that needs to be experienced, and it is considered normal for it to last between 6 months and 1 year, depending on the characteristics of the loss (closeness, expectation, etc.). According to Kübbler Ross, this grief has 5 different phases; denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While expressing a normal and necessary grief, traumatic grief is defined as experiencing the loss in an unexpected and unusual process or perceiving the grief as traumatic due to social, psychological or economic reasons.

After the traumatic grief, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as constant thinking of loss, inability to focus on any thought, purposelessness, loss of control, inability to accept, denial, anxiety, numbness, numbness are experienced. Traumatic death and traumatic mourning processes experienced during the pandemic process may be the most important danger waiting for all of us in this period. Experiencing loss and grief outside of normal can be the most difficult process that a person can go through when the concept of normal has been lost.

Traumatic Law Transformation of Grief

There are some basic factors related to the transformation of grief into traumatic grief. The first of these are the basic needs that are not adequately met during childhood, the psychological structures that prevent people from experiencing the natural process of loss, the person’s dependence on the person they lost or having unfinished problems, the person’s sudden, unexpected and bad loss, and finally the individual’s feelings of mourning due to social restriction. is unable to live. The restrictions and impossibilities related to being with the person’s loved one at this moment of the losses during the pandemic process and fulfilling their last duties towards him pave the way for people to experience their losses in a traumatic way.

In this process, the most important factor for a healthy life in the grieving process is the support of the family and social environment. However, in this period, it is not possible to even hug and cry before performing religious rituals, and there is no support other than the inner strength of people regarding their losses.

While all this emphasizes the importance of the support we can give each other and the sensitivity we will show, we should consider that those who have lost during the pandemic process are in a much more difficult process than the natural loss of death, and we should avoid sharing and questions that will deepen this pain, even if we have good intentions.

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