- Understanding Grief
- People Grieve Differently
- The Brain Fog of Grief
- The Vocabulary of Grief
- Grievers Don’t Need to be Fixed
- Misconceptions About Grief
- There Are No Orderly and Predictable Stages In Grief
- When Caring People Say Dumb Things When You’re Grieving
- What to Say to Others When You’re Grieving
- The Impact of Who you Lost and How you Lost Them
- Heavy Grief Days
- The Grief Letter
- Ways to Remember Them
- Permissions for Grievers
- Creating Bright Spots in the Midst of Grief
- Why Are Many Grievers Not Comfortable Crying In Front of Others?
- Why Grievers Don’t Need to Be Strong
- Do I Just Need Time to Heal From Grief?
- Why Do Grieving People Get the Message They Shouldn’t Be Sad?
- Is Staying Busy Good for Grief?
- The Isolation of Grief
- Can You Fill the Void Left by the Death of Loved One?
- How Long Does the Pain of Grief Last?
- How Do You Get Over Grief?
- I Don’t Want to Forget My Loved One Who Died
- Relationships Change After Loss
- Why Don’t Friends and Family Understand Your Grief?
- How to Tell Others What You Need in Your Grief
- Grief Can Cause You to Re-evaluate Relationships
- I Lost My Spouse and My Friends
- All the Phases in the Grief Journey
- I’m Grieving and Just Barely Surviving
- Why Do I Feel Like I Am Just Existing in My Grief?
- When Will I Be Ready for Grief Counseling?
- Can You Heal Your Grief?
- Living Again After Losing a Loved One
- How Grief Affects Mental Health
- Grief & Depression
- How Trauma Affects Your Grief
- Co-Dependency and Grief
- Should I take medication for my grief?
- The Uniqueness of Grieving A Suicide
- Suicide Shock: I Can’t Believe They Did It
- Feeling Blame and Shame After a Suicide
- The Abandonment of Suicide
- The Stigma of Suicide
- Interview with widow who lost two husbands by suicide
- Losing Your Husband to Suicide
- What To Do With Your Loved One’s Belongings After They Die
- No Cost Financial Coaching & Planning for Widows: Chris Bentley
- Hope When Shattered By Grief
- Answers to Your Questions About Grief
- Is Being Angry at God a Sin After My Loved One Died?
- Where Did My Peace, Joy and Gratitude Go after I lost my loved one?
- Can Grief and Hope Co-Exist?
- Why Does God Heal Some People But Not Others?
- Is Suicide an Unforgivable Sin?
- Why Do I Dislike Platitudes and Bible Verses?
- Why Did God Let My Loved One Die?
Grief & Mental Health
Foundations Of Grief
Misconceptions About Grief
Relationships After Loss
The Grief Journey
Grief & Mental Health
Grieving A Suicide
Conversations On Grief
Questions Grieving Christians Ask
Grief & Mental Health
Episode 3 : How Trauma Affects Your Grief
Trauma & Grief
When a grieving person has been moderately or severely traumatized related to a loved one’s death, they sometimes experience post-traumatic symptoms.
Let’s define trauma. To keep it simple for our purposes here, try to think of trauma as “An event, or series of events, that causes you to experience physical and/or psychological pain.”
In other words, any painful experience could be considered traumatic. But, most minor traumas will not result in having post-traumatic symptoms. If you have some trauma-related symptoms, that does not necessarily mean that you should be diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD is a specific and often severely impairing mental disorder.
Sometimes people can experience post-traumatic symptoms in addition to the many other natural and common symptoms they experience when grieving.
Let’s take a moment to consider what some post-traumatic symptoms might be. You might find that you are:
- Easily startled or frightened
- Highly vigilant about perceiving danger
- Having intrusive, unwanted thoughts or images
- Experiencing flashbacks of traumatic scenes
- Experiencing nightmares
- Feeling an exaggerated sense of guilt
Most deaths, fortunately, aren’t greatly traumatizing – though undoubtedly, some are.
Suppose your loved one died in a severely traumatic fashion, whether or not you were present. In that case, the impact of the trauma could have lasting post-traumatic symptoms, which can be very debilitating over time.
If you have such impairing symptoms, I recommend that you reach out soon to see a mental health professional (e.g., psychiatrist, psychologist, or other licensed therapist) to debrief with you and perhaps provide some early intervention.
The early professional intervention of this type may reduce the severity and length of time you experience trauma symptoms. And addressing a severely traumatic event early on may also aid your overall grieving experience.
If your trauma symptoms are not severe nor impairing to you, you may find that they will fade in time as you adjust and heal from your loss.
I have personally found with my clients that trauma responses sometimes remain – even after thoroughly processing their grief. So I treat their trauma symptoms separately. I use the EMDR method (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming). That’s quite a mouthful, so we just call it EMDR most of the time!! EMDR treatment has proven to be reliable and very helpful for my clients.
If you seem to be healing from your loss but still find yourself struggling with post-traumatic symptoms, there is a good chance that a well-trained and experienced EMDR therapist can help you overcome those symptoms. I know from personal experience that such treatment can be really helpful.
- Traumatic experiences that accompany the loss of a loved one are not uncommon
- Post-traumatic symptoms are also not uncommon and may require additional professional help beyond grieving the loss
- Experiencing post-traumatic symptoms does not necessarily mean that you should be diagnosed with PTSD.
- If you are concerned about your mental and emotional health for any reason, it is a good idea to seek professional help.
Spend at least a few minutes of your time reviewing your recent experience. Do any of the trauma symptoms or experiences I shared with you sound familiar? If you have trauma symptoms, are you distressed by these symptoms and want to overcome them? If so, consider reaching out to a mental health professional to address your experience.
Our minds are wonderful creations that allow us to feel passion, joy, wonder, and experience beauty. Our minds can also torment us with painful memories, unresolved issues, and rob us of peace and joy. There are gifted healers who can help you with the hell your mind sometimes retains or creates. Asking for help is a sign of health – not weakness.