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by John M. Schneider, PhD
Is there a loss?
Maybe/maybe not
What do you think about?
At times, you may be obsessed with the loss. At other times, you can think of other things.
Often obsessed with yourself and how this loss is unfair or a punishment.
What are your dreams & fantasies?
Vivid, clear dreams, sometimes of the loss, which can sometimes be comforting.
Flashbacks, nightmares, same disturbing dreams over and over.
What is the physical effect?
Gain or lose some weight;
Exercise a lot or stops entirely.
Have trouble getting to sleep.
Feel tired a lot.
Weight change is extreme.
Exercise is also at extremes.
Have trouble getting up; awaken with disturbing dreams.
Always restless or always sleeping or tired.
What is the spritual effect? A connection is felt to something beyond the self, e.g., a belief in God and that this is happening for a reason. Able to challenge, revise, or maintain previously held beliefs.
Especially a year or more past a loss, a persistent failure to find meaning and a continued focus on "why me," on the unfairness & meaninglessness of the loss. Resist any "pat" answers when you question beliefs. Tends to discard previously held beliefs.
How do you feel? Moody: Shifts in mood from anger to sadness to more positive feelings in the same day.
Can be hard to "read" emotionally, or you can be at an extreme, either crying all the time or not at all, angry all the time or not at all.
Rarely feel "good."
How do you respond to others? Generally respond to warmth, pressure, and reassurance. You appreciate being left alone but not ignored.
Either can't stand people at all or can't be without them. You respond to promises and urging or you remain unresponsive. Often feel abandoned and unloved when alone.
What happens to having pleasurable experiences? As long as the pleasure isn't something that only came from the loss (e.g. sex after losing partner), it can be okay.
Either extreme-you eat, drink, and are merry or you experience no pleasure at all.
Pain as the absence of pleasure.
How do you attach and relate to others? Likes to have close friends or someone who will listen to your story.
Misses being loved or able to love others.
Feel unloved and
incapable of loving.
Often go about proving it!