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Not everyone experiences all stages of grief, nor do they experience them on a linear path. Everyone, at some point, will experience grief at some point in their life. However, how intense and long this lasts, is dependent on how close you are or the level of your attachment to the person or pet you have lost.
Complicated grief, occurs in 1 and 10 people. It is where grief does not resolve itself over a long period of time. Grief is a process. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The goal is to learn how we can best preserve their memory, while also maintaining your own functional capacity in life.
Grief rarely responds well to antidepressants whereas depression does. It is a distinct psychological and physiological event in the brain and body FROM depression. Grief is actually a motivational process. People who are in a state of grief, are in a state of pain and a state of yearning & desire. It puts us in an anticipatory state or a state of action. We are seeking how to resolve the craving even when we no it is impossible.
If we are deeply attached to someone on a deep level, our brain has episodic memories of things that happened (the conscious recollection of your experience of someone or something) and within that memory, you have an understanding of implicit knowledge of what this person is like or what they are doing in their life. When someone is taken from us, episodic memories persist for a period of time and are still linked to our feelings of attachment. Grief is the process of untangling that relationship of where people are in space, time, and our attachment to them. When someone is taken from us, our entire memory bank and our ability to predict when and where someone will be and when we can feed our attachment again - that whole neuroplasticity map is gone, except for the attachment. This persists and so the grief process is one in which you have to reorder to begin to understand where they are in space and time. This explains the first step of the stages in grief. Denial.
Your memory bank is not flushed out when someone passes away. The neural activity still continues (reverbitating activity). Our brain still functions in a way that continues to still expect to hear from them and get a reliable response. It is mentally disorienting.
If you've lost someone, it may start to make more sense as to why you keep looking for them. The prediction your brain is making, is in direct relation to how close you were to them.
The best way to move through grief DOES NOT involve trying to reduce your closeness or love for them. The idea that someone does not exist anymore is not something the brain can easily conceptualize. Our brain tends to rely more on experience rather than knowledge. We are not just in emotional disbelief, our neurons and memories persist. It pushes us to act in a way that still believes that are memories are relating to them when they were still here.
In our sessions, we will first hold space for your loved one, pet, or thing. Whether you had a loving relationship, or one that was complicated, we will honor the difficult feelings you are experiencing and for what you are going through. We will at a point in your treatment, begin to look at grief and loss from a neuroscience perspective. Leaning more about the science and process of grief can be incredibly motivating when a client is ready to initiate a path of healing with purpose. Then with my guidance, we will work on specific tools that can help you learn how to begin your healing journey.