When a loved one dies, the world can become chaos. Everything has changed. The way you drive a car, the way food tastes, the way you even talk to people can feel different and wrong and weird. It feels like you are – for lack of a better term – going crazy. How far apart are grief and mental illness? The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), the standard reference for mental illness, says that if you’re still messed up from grief six months after the death of your person, you have something called Prolonged Grief Disorder.
For Megan Devine, an author and psychotherapist who specializes in grief, the sudden loss of her partner Matt meant being at the grocery store and temporarily forgetting how money worked. But she says that’s not a problem. That’s a truthful response to a horrifying event. That’s just being horrified.
Megan rejects the idea that being upset for as long as you need to be is a problem. She advocates recognizing the personal truth and reality of what’s going on inside yourself.
Megan’s website Refuge in Grief – https://refugeingrief.com/
Our previous episode with Stephanie Wittels Wachs, which gets referenced a lot – https://maximumfun.org/episodes/depresh-mode/stephanie-wittels-wachs-and-the-pain-and-frustration-of-watching-addiction-happen/
Get your copy of Megan’s books, How to Carry What Can’t be Fixed: A Journal for Grief and It’s OK That You’re Not OK here or wherever books are sold. Follow Megan on Twitter @refugeingrief and on Instagram @refugeingrief.
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Help is available right away.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, 1-800-273-TALK
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741.
International suicide hotline numbers available here: https://www.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines
The Depresh Mode newsletter is available twice a week. Subscribe for free and stay up to date on the show and mental health issues. https://johnmoe.substack.com/
John’s acclaimed memoir, The Hilarious World of Depression, is available here. https://read.macmillan.com/lp/the-hilarious-world-of-depression/
John is on Twitter @johnmoe.
About the show
Join host John Moe (The Hilarious World of Depression) for honest, relatable, and, yes, sometimes funny conversations about mental health. Hear from comedians, musicians, authors, actors, and other top names in entertainment and the arts about living with depression, anxiety, and many other common disorders. Find out what they’ve done to address it, what worked, and what didn’t. Depresh Mode with John Moe also features useful insights on mental health issues with experts in the field. It’s honest talk from people who have been there and know their stuff. No shame, no stigma, and maybe a few laughs.
Logo by Clarissa Hernandez.