Recently, I have noticed a long list of movies, books and television series’ that focus on the un-dead, the living dead or the zombie pseudo dead. As I have watched these topically based productions, I have been intrigued by the similarities of these half dead/half living persons compared to a survivor who is caught in a continual cycle of debilitating grief.
When a person is caught in a cycle of grief that continues for an extended period, we say that he or she is experiencing “complicated grief.” In other words, the grief cycle seems to have trapped him or her, significantly retarding their recovery time table and negatively affecting their ability to re-enter normal functionality.
One wonders why one individual over another, finds him or herself unable to recover from a loss and exit the grief experience. Quite possibly, one does not ever recover completely from the loss of someone they love. They simply adjust their life’s existence, enabling them to survive without the debilitating ache that finds its way into their hearts once loss has occurred.
Generally, when one finds him or herself in this extended state of grief, we recommend that they enter grief counseling or in extreme cases, psychotherapy. The advantages of counseling or therapy are that the professional grief advocate can intervene, and help the survivor identify habits that have trapped him or her into this undesirable state of non-recovery. This undesirable psychological state seems to hold these unfortunate survivors hostage as the un-dead, a state of mind where they exist, but they do not experience. Prolonged existence such as this will eventually land the grief stricken person into a state of serious depression and eventually psychosis. At this juncture, the depressed individual truly needs and should benefit from psychotherapy.
A qualified psychotherapist can help the grief-trapped individual identify habits and cycles of behavior that are inconducive to grief recovery. The counselor or psychotherapist can set into practice a positive growth experience; possibly yielding a sound recovery plan, that the survivor has been unable to identify, or obtain on his or her own. If the survivor has been trapped in this cycle for years on end, recovery may be a slow and complicated process. Their psychotherapist may utilize the benefits of prescription therapy to enable and enhance the recovery process.
If you find you have a friend or loved one trapped in the zombie pseudo experience of complicated grief, love and understanding may not have been enough to help them recover. It may be time to suggest something more substantial for their grief experience. Grief counseling or psychotherapy may be of great benefit to them.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly articles and brief tips on understanding and coping with grief. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.