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About paulaj

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    psychology, the arts, music, reading, cooking, gardening
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  1. Dear Val, I have found grief to be a lonely journey. I make progress, then I go backwards. That's the way it has been. As it goes on, the steps backwards come less often, but they still come. I sometimes think most of me died with John. I don't think you're having a breakdown. You know what to do if you think you are in trouble. I believe what you're experiencing is grief. It breaks all the rules we are conditioned to expect. Know that you are in my thoughts. Sincerely, Mandala
  2. Depression

    Indeed W2 there are many different kinds of depression. Major depression or a chemical event like Bi-polar disorder among many are indeed mental illnesses. My point was that mild depression goes hand-in hand with grief and does not have to be a separate event. It is a normal reaction to loss. I guess you misunderstood my statement. Instead of having grief and all that goes with it viewed as normal, it has been turned into a disorder. You're agreeing with what I said. I will never get over John's loss. But the pain is not as acute as it was for years. And that is like a miracle. Sincerely, Mandala
  3. Depression

    I am talking about our mental health establishment. When I say *normalize* and expanding the definition I am trying to point out that depression is part of the process of berevement, which I believe started this discussion. How the dictionary defines a word and how the DSM defines it are two different things. I cited my source. I'd be the last person on earth to say there is a right way to do things - we are all unique. As a therapist, I respect difference and diversity. I agree, living through it and embracing it is the only way to get through it. There is no magic pill and it is impossible to follow any metaphorical herd. Please remember, I have been going through this for five years. I'm still going through the process. To see a ray of hope, is something I never thought I would see. I thought it may be comforting to someone. Pathology is indeed the study of diseases. What do you think depression and other mental illnesses are? What I am saying is that our culture through the psychiatric establishment has pathologized bereavement too. I am coming from a mental health perspective and the disservice it has done to people. I think we are speaking two different languages. Forgive my professional opinion. Sincerely, Mandala
  4. Depression

    To cut to the chase - our culture does not support grieving and has turned it into a *condition.* In the past, grieving was part of the culture. Since the topic of depression came up and people wondered what *normal* is, I'm trying to address it. The definition of bereavement needs to be expanded to say the least, in order to normalize what people are feeling. The reason I mentioned payer sources is bereavement has to be pathologized in order to be acknowledged. All of this permeates our culture. My journey has been a long one. Over time, I started to experience a break from the anguish now and again. Some days the pain is intolerable others not. You are welcome to write to me whenever you need support. Sorry about the jargon, there was no way around it. Sincerely, Mandala
  5. Hello aellenic! I'm so sorry for your loss. I can relate to the plant thing. I was the Angel of Death to plants up until this year when I decided to plant a garden. And it's actually growing. I was so spaced out for many years. Grief is a great distraction. I did remember to feed the cat, but I found myself walking into boiler rooms, broom closets, and once even the morgue, when I went out. I went to places I didn't know existed - I'll spare you the details. Hang in There, Mandala
  6. Depression

    Depression/Bereavement I find this discussion interesting for a number of reasons. Our culture has pathologized bereavement The DSM IV (diagnostic and statistical manual of the American Psychiatric Association) has bereavement classified under the category of what they call *V* codes. Insurance companies will not pay for a V code diagnoses. So some clinicians have to tag another disorder along with it e.g. depression, adjustment disorder, and others, to get paid. The definition of Bereavement leaves much to be desired. Bereavement V62.82 "This category can be used when the focus of clinical attention is a reaction to the death of a loved one. As part of their reaction to the loss, some grieving individuals present with symptoms characteristic of a Major Depressive Episode (e.g., feelings of sadness and associated symptoms characteristic of a Major Depressive Episode (e.g. feelings of sadness and associated symptoms such as insomnia, poor appetite, and weight loss). The bereaved individual typically regards the depressed mood as "normal," although the person may seek professional help for relief of associated symptoms such as insomnia or anorexia. The duration and expression of "normal" bereavement vary considerably among different cultural groups. The diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder is generally not given unless the symptoms are still present 2 months after the loss. However, the presence of certain symptoms that are not characteristic of a "normal" grief reaction may be helpful in differentiating bereavement from a Major Depressive Episode. These include 1) guilt about things other than actions taken or not taken by the survivor at the time of the death; 2) thoughts of death other than the survivor feeling that he or she would be better off dead of should have died with the deceased person; 3) morbid preoccupation with worthlessness; 4) marked psychomotor retardation; 5) prolonged and marked functional impairment; and 6) hallucinatory experiences other than thinking that he or she hears the voice of, or transiently sees the image of, the deceased person." Now, what's wrong with this picture? Depression does not have to be major. It ranges from mild to severe. And many of us on this list have experience *symptoms* well beyond two months . I think it's *normal* to have bereavement and depression running side by side. I'm not talking about suicidal depression with a plan e.g. "I wish I was dead and I have a gun at home I'm going to use." There can be no timeline. Their are so many variables involved with the reaction to a death, this definition falls short of the mark. The DSM IV is political document which adds change as the research grows. However, there are only so many issues the psychiatrist's on the committee can tackle at one time. And that is not to say that many clinicians will be satisfied with the outcome. In this information age, we can create change. Why does this list exist? Obviously, there was a need that wasn't being filled. I really don't think we're all crazy! Bereavement is a process, not an event we "get over." I wish I would have found this list sooner - it has helped me so much. I was becoming a professional recluse after 5 years, now I'm going out again. I've actually experienced joy and am making meaning out of my life. All this takes time, and I hope your journey isn't as long as mine. With Love, Mandala
  7. Do I post too much or say the wrong things?

    No, of course not. Who on earth would say that? Hang in There! Mandala
  8. Never thought I'd be posting here.

    Waltz2, I'm so sorry for your loss. Try and get some help for the substance abuse. The only thing it does is numb feelings and so prolong the grieving process. Caitlyncolfels, I can only give you my experience with time. It's been five years for me. Time puts distance between you and the event, so your emotions are not so raw. I don't think it heals. I can tell you, there isn't a day that goes by I don't miss John. But at this point, I'm not a wreck. I can think of him with love and not fall apart. Sincerely, Mandala
  9. Tough Time tonight

    I'm so sorry Mike. Everything seems overwhelming during this time. All sorts of feelings crop up and yours are normal. And they too will pass. lostblu, you can't play shrink in cyberspace or anywhere else, if you are not qualified. Mike has been going through enough. Hang in there Mike, Mandala
  10. Dreams

    Hi! Hope all is well with you. Do you think it's too late to try a digital camera 5 years later? As for skeptics, they will always be there. Despite my reading, I was still amazed when it happened to me. I don't care who believes me. With some people, even if you had a video they won't believe you. It's too far out of their frame of reference. All I can do is observe. What do you think of the knocks on the door? I owe you a PM. Will write later. Sincerely, Mandala
  11. Dreams

    Thank you Breath of Angel, So many things happened, I was overwhelmed. In life, John was a strong presence in life and so he is in death. I walked into my apartment one night and all the lights and electronic equipment were on. I was with a friend, so I know I saw what I saw. I never leave lights on. A few other times, I walked into my bedroom and the light was already on. I wish I would have documented these events. They were more frequent at first. Over the summer, I went to a training on grieving to keep up my license. I sat down next to an older woman, grey hair, sensible shoes, who had lost her husband a few years back. I asked her if she had any experiences with the paranormal and she said she had. Bringing this up in a training in a no-no (we're trained in scientific method), but she made a point to the class. "If your client talks about these events, don't tell them they are crazy or delusional." Most of the class were young women and I'm glad she said what she did. I've read extensively on this subject ever since I can remember. As an undergrad, I was into Jungian Psychology, which stresses comparative religion. All I can do is observe. Because some things cannot be measured, doesn't mean they don't happen. Sincerely, Mandala
  12. Thank you to all here

    Dear Kendi, Five years later, I'm still sorting through John's stuff. It took that long. It is a painful process. When he first died, I had to worry about people stealing also. Nice, huh? This site has done more for me than all the shrinks I saw and I am grateful. BTW, anybody on the East coast that went through that hurricane? We're back to normal, but other places aren't. Just wanted to see if anybody was hit hard and I hope their O.K. Mandala
  13. He Told Me Lately That He Loved Me.....

    Dear M-G, It's wonderful you're experiencing these validations from your beloved. I had more in the first few years after he died, but one in particular happened twice. Once here, I woke to pounding on my bedroom door. When I went to Fla. last year, the same thing happened. It's almost like he's telling me he's still with me. Other things have happened, but I want to take them one at a time. Was I dreaming? It sure didn't feel that way. Sincerely, Mandala
  14. He Told Me Lately That He Loved Me.....

    Dear M-G, It's wonderful you're experiencing these validations from your beloved. I had more in the first few years after he died, but one in particular happened twice. Once here, I woke to pounding on my bedroom door. When I went to Fla. last year, the same thing happened. It's almost like he's telling me he's still with me. Other things have happened, but I want to take them one at a time. Was I dreaming? It sure didn't feel that way. Sincerely, Mandala
  15. Dreams

    The first vivid experiences I remember shortly after John's death were two dreams. In the first, he looked wonderful, and told me "Paula, you cannot imagine how wonderful this is." In the second, he told me "I will always be with you." Other things have happened, I can't explain. Perhaps later. Mandala