The Christian’s Guide To Understanding Grief and Loss
After the loss of someone close to you, it is common to feel overwhelmed by grief and despair. We can even feel grief over the loss of precious things in our lives like jobs, homes, and relationships, but at what point does it become more than the normal emotions of someone going through hard events?
Previous installments of the DSM, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, categorized grief for longer than two months as a symptom of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), but the newest installment has removed all bereavement related classifications.
Some took this to mean that any form of grief is now classified as being a mental disorder, but the truth is “the DSM-5 doesn’t label ordinary grief as major depression shortly after the death of a loved one. It merely says that the diagnosis of major depression will not be withheld when a person meets the full symptom, severity, duration and impairment criteria for major depression shortly after the death of a loved one” as Ronald Pies, M.D., explained in On Grief and Diagnosing Depression.
The truth is, normal bereavement is almost independent of depression. Loss can trigger depression which may have been lingering, in remission, or waiting to blossom in the heart and soul of a person predisposed to MDD, but depression can also make normal grief last longer and be more extreme than the average person experiences. However, simply being overwhelmed with sadness doesn’t mean you are depressed, and how long that grief lasts can be entirely personal.
That said, normal grief can still be an extraordinarily painful experience for any person to go through. But, the lord offers support and guidance through even our most difficult times. He is there to mend broken hearts and heal broken men and women. The Christian Broadcasting Network offers a comprehensive guide to navigating grief and loss, which walks believers through the emotions they are experiencing as well as offering tips to help the light of God heal you.