As I mentioned, there are issues that complicate our grief journey. These are things that can knock us off course or cause us to drift from the sure path to joy. We all suffer setbacks along the way. No path is perfect. But there are signs to watch for in case we get too far afield.
Sometimes the grieving person shows none of the usual signs of grief. Sometimes even normal problems go on for months without any progress. And if these complications cannot be resolved by basic methods, professional help should be sought.
Here is a brief list of danger sign warning us of a serious problem. Suicidal thoughts or plans. Self-destructive behavior including drugs, alcohol, workplace failure, burning social bridges, and constant self-defeating talk. Severely mentally disorganized, unable to concentrate or focus, inability to learn anything new, loss of short term memory. Deep and ongoing feelings of guilt and remorse and regret. Violence in word or deed. Doing things that shock those around you, making sudden and radical changes in your life. These are all warning signs of a deeper need.
Just because you experience any of these things does not mean you are at risk of serious problems. But here are some guidelines to help clarify whether our grief is complicated or not. How severe and devastating the symptoms are. How long has this been going on. How dysfunctional has the grieving person become. Often this is a hard judgement to make. How long is too long? How bad is too bad? That is where a professional counselor can help diagnose the difference between complicated and uncomplicated grieving.
I have at times experienced complicated grief issues. That is what scared me enough to seek out help and that landed me at Griefshare. Complications need not be fatal; there is help available.