Anxiety. What does that word mean to you?
The text book definition:
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome
If I were to unpick that definition, I could tell you, broadly, it’s spot on.
Now, I can’t talk for anyone else who suffers with an anxiety disorder because everyone who suffers has different triggers and there are just so many different categories of anxiety; you’ve got OCD, GAD, Specific phobias, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety, situational anxiety, social anxiety… there is a whole load of anxiety disorders that can be listed and maybe even some that have not been categorised yet.
I personally don’t fall into one particular category. My anxiety has been caused by several different life events leading up to here and now. One reoccurring factor though, is this life-altering thing we all experience at least once in our lifetime, this is a term known as grief.
Anxiety is not a common symptom of grieving, but many people experience and develop symptoms of anxiety because of a loss. I’ve mentioned grieving in several blog posts on here and in a way, it’s because I find blogging some sort of inner relief. That and I just don’t talk about the deepest parts of my life anywhere else.
It’s been said that when a person doesn’t allow themselves to feel grief or go through the process of mourning their loved ones, they can become depressed, or anxiety can occur.
Just recently, I’ve learned of this term known as ‘Complicated grief’ or as it is now categorised in the DSM-IV and ICD-10 ‘Prolonged grief disorder’. Apparently only about 10% of people who have been affected by bereavement suffer from this syndrome. This is because to be diagnosed officially with this disorder, a person must be completed incapacitated by grief, so focused on the loss that it is difficult to care about much else.
What makes it so different from the norm of grieving? Well, grief is a normal human process – accommodating to a new life without a loved one is tough and often, sometimes unbearable. However, as time goes on, most bereaved survivors manage to find new meaning in their lives. Although normal grief remains far into the future, its ability to disrupt the survivor’s life dissipates with time. Insert time heals all wounds crap(!)
Whereas, with Prolonged grief disorder, an individual has an intense, persistent, disabling and life-altering issue with the loss of someone. This grief can then become somewhat of a threat to the survivor’s identity, sense of self-worth, feeling of security, safety or hopes for future happiness.
Prigerson et al. proposed a handy little criteria for PGD featured below:
After doing some more research on this relatively new concept, I came across certain risk factors and clinical correlations that link to PDG and surprise surprise, little old me could tick off a number of them.
Since researching into this a little more, I’ve decided it might be helpful for others to be aware of it because information, I feel, isn’t widely available. I didn’t have any idea of what it was or if it was even a real thing, but it is very real. Painfully so.
The point of this blog was to shed some light on a certain concept that I’ve recently been made aware of, and to also reiterate to myself in particular, that the battle is hard. The battle doesn’t get easier but you can get stronger.
I’ve been neglecting a few of my loved ones as of late. I know I have and I’ve been a really shitty person. Unfortunately its because I’ve been dragged down by intrusive thoughts of guilt and my old friend grief. But I am working on it. I’m pushing out and pulling myself up. Slowly and surely. We can all get there.