Grief that is Aggravated by Separation Anxiety

An adult's grief over the loss of a loved one may be radically compounded by "separation anxiety" when a current loss exposes anew an old, old, old wound.

I am very compassionate toward people with multiple losses - and I am NOT a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, so please read me as a peer. I have been thinking long and hard about certain grievers within a sample of people that have all experienced losses due to violence or severe trauma.

I speak of it only because sometimes it is of benefit to name your enemy.

For some of these people, the name of their enemy is not "grief." The enemy's name is "separation anxiety."

Separation anxiety may absolutely cripple a person who otherwise joins the rest of humanity in this painful grief process when a loved one dies. It is a wound of childhood that can become like a thorny briar patch in grief.

The messages that accompany separation anxiety may torture a grieving person and keep them in a mire.The results of this old condition that was partly or fully avoided also may become mixed and confused with grief in such a way that the person - and those who care for them - may not recognize the problem for what it is.

In grief, one may experience a trait of anxiety. But grief coupled with separation anxiety may  result in the "trait" becoming a full-blown "state" of anxiety.

A trait of anxiety could appear as the following:
 Alternating being with people and being alone (not wanting to be with people and not wanting to be alone)
Being afraid to eat out alone in the beginning
Worrying over bills that you are not accustom to dealing with
Occasional insomnia over sleeping alone
Occasionally being pulled by the trauma of the circumstances of the death
Concern about your future well-being

A state of anxiety could appear as the following
So afraid to eat out alone that you withdraw
Fear over bills and hiding/ignoring them for months or years
Daily insomnia over sleeping alone
Frequently replaying the trauma of the circumstances of the death
Abject fear about your future well-being
Always wanting to being alone but finding acute pain in the alone-ness

For the person without separation anxiety, levels of resilience are available to them in time, when they need it, to keep them afloat.

The person with separation anxiety may find no resilience and sink fast and furious. Negative thoughts may be frequently intrusive for them, a profound sense of futility overcomes them.

"I blame myself." "I am somehow at fault." " I am not worthy of companionship." "My unworthy nature has caught up with me."

This kind of situation needs expert psychological support. Normal grief support groups and peer support are not enough to help a person struggling with separation anxiety and grief to improve or even sustain themselves. They can mix attending grief groups and working with a therapist to good effect.

Whatever unresolved problems we have had will become blistered by grief. I would like to encourage people to take excellent care of themselves. If you ask yourself about your grief, you can begin to sort the grain from the staff and see where the old pain is needling you and begging you for assistance.

Be well.