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Experiencing Complicated Grief Written By Zoe Avery of True North Counseling

Experiencing Complicated Grief

Written by student intern Zoe Avery. Zoe is currently attending University of Louisville for Couples and Family therapy and has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Murray State University. Learn more about her work on our staff page

Experiencing grief can be one of the most intense seasons of some people’s lives. Often during our grieving processes, we feel as though the pain we feel has gone on forever and may not ever end. While these thoughts and struggles are normal parts of our individualized grieving processes, some people may experience extreme or prolonged versions of grief after the loss of a loved one. 

What is Complicated Grief? 

Following a loss, a multitude of symptoms are considered normal and expected, being applicable to both normal and complicated grief. The primary difference between these two is the length of time these symptoms are experienced. When someone experiences complicated grief, their severe symptoms may last over a year, never fading or tapering as with normal grief. Complicated grief may also be characterized by symptoms worsening over time, inhibiting healing and moving forward, back to a life similar to before the loss. 

Symptoms of Complicated Grief

  • Intense sorrow, pain and rumination over the loss of your loved one
  • Focus on little else but your loved one’s death
  • Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders
  • Intense and persistent longing or pining for the deceased
  • Problems accepting the death
  • Numbness or detachment
  • Bitterness about your loss
  • Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Inability to enjoy life or think back on positive experiences with your loved one (1)

Causes and Risk Factors

While exact causes are not fully known, complicated grief may be more likely to occur in individuals with previous mental health disorders. There may also be a link between complicated grief and the nature of the loss experienced, such as violent deaths or the death of a child. Seeking help or support early on in the grief process may be helpful in subsiding or decreasing the symptoms experienced. 

1.Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, June 19). Complicated grief. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/complicated-grief/symptoms-causes/syc-20360374 

Adding Self-Care to Our Social Media Habit by Zoe Avery

Adding Self-Care to Our Social Media Habit

Written by student intern Zoe Avery. Zoe is currently attending University of Louisville for Couples and Family therapy and has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Murray State University. Learn more about her work on our staff page

As a child of the internet world, raised to be “tech savvy” and inundated with all of the fun (but not actually fun at all) side effects of a technology centered society, I’ve often sought out ways to be intentional about my social media usage. If not transforming all of my accounts to purely self help, providing myself with breaks from the usual and sometimes harmful aspects seen online. By taking time to intentionally curate a safe space on my social media, I’ve worked a level of self care within these various social accounts that I just can’t seem to delete.

Tips for Taking Care of Yourself While Still Using Social Media

Adding/following friends that add positivity to your feed.

For most of us it feels fairly unrealistic to delete all social media. This being said, we can still incorporate self transformation or just a mental break into our following list. Whether this is a directly therapeutic account, religious, spiritual, or just an account that posts kittens in different sized buckets, these can be helpful in grounding us during our internet usage. 

Limiting Our Own Usage.

Yes, most of us are adults, free to do as we please, but we are never too old to benefit from a little structure. By limiting our social media usage, we can be mindful of the amount of information we are absorbing from the internet and refocus our mental space on other interests. To make this more fun or easy, you can use a friend as an accountability partner, or download an app that records your time spent on various platforms so you can’t say you lost track of time! This tip rebukes the all or nothing mindset that is typically discussed around social media, and allows us to have a little bit of social media time as a treat (because we deserve it)!

Creating Our Own Safe Space.

Remember that social media can be whatever we want it to be, so make yours safe. Set firm boundaries, be authentic, and take care of yourself. Do what you need to feel safe and held within the community you create on your pages. Whether this includes having private accounts, being selective with friends/followers, not posting at all, posting everyday, use social media in a way that pours into you instead of draining you. 

My Personal Respite on Instagram

I’d like to highlight some of my favorite therapist accounts on instagram, who offer me useful and positive information daily: