Why Does Mourning Have an Expiration Date?

If you’re still sad six months after your person dies, are you doing it wrong?

This awesome article in Bitch Magazine explores the reality of grief, and why the medical world works so hard to pathologize this very human, #perfectlynormal experience.

From the article:

“Society’s tolerance for grief is finite, though this does not reflect the reality of how people respond to death, according to Megan Devine, a grief counselor who advocates for an approach that “doesn’t suck.” “All of this cultural training says you’re not supposed to be sad, [that] there has to be a gift in this,” Devine tells Bitch. Grieving takes time, something a busy society does not offer, despite the fact that each death is different, each mourner is unique, and everyone processes trauma differently. Does grief make us sick, or are we sick of grief? These expectations of a short, tidy bereavement period have become so intense that they’ve contributed to a literal pathologization of grief. “Complicated grief,” also known as “prolonged grief disorder,” is used to describe cases where mourners are experiencing significant impairment more than six months after a death…

…Devine disagrees with how complicated grief is conceptualized, arguing that such conceptions compound harm. “We have much prettier language to shame people with now,” she says, describing the psychiatric diagnosis as another way of policing grieving people that can make people feel like “freaks” if they don’t move on quickly enough. She identifies an intense anxiety on the part of those around the bereaved to “fix” them, and a sense of impatience when it is not possible to neatly paper over bereavement—two things that can contribute to shame over grieving “the wrong way.” These attitudes interact closely with the media we consume, which often contains what Devine describes as “transformation narratives” featuring plucky characters who experience a tragic death but find themselves happily righted by the end of the drama.”

Click here to read the entire article at Bitch magazine, and share it widely, friends.

Every mourner mourns differently; the societal failing to acknowledge that experiences of grief can vary has created a world in which we too often see grief as an illness. Click To Tweet

How about you? How have you experienced the cultural idea that there ought to be a time limit on your grief?

flame-heart-100Now, as always, the very best place I know to connect YOU with other grieving folks is inside the Writing Your Grief community. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there is always someone there: when you feel invisible inside your grief, these folks see you. When your friends have their own sh*t to deal with and you can’t lean on them, your WYG family is there. I mean it folks, this community is unlike any other place – online or IRL. The May session is open now and we’ve got room for you. Follow this link to join us, and pass it on.