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Trillian's avatar

Grieving process. When is it too long and maybe a mental issue?

Asked by Trillian (21111points) January 29th, 2010

I was answering a question and as I answered this incredible sadness washed over me and I haven’t been able to stop crying. I had to leave my SO. There really was no choice, he’s so far gone with the drugs that he’s now homeless. I guess he was never who he represented himself to be. The man I loved and miss is a figment, or maybe it’s who he could have been, had he not been so messed up himself. So, I loved an illusion. Fine. I left and carried on smartly. So how ridiculous is it for me to miss something that I know wasn’t real? Am I ok grieving, or am I a nut who needs psych meds of my own? It’s been almost six months. Shouldn’t I be over it?

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25 Answers

janbb's avatar

We beat ourselves up with too many “shoulds.” Your feelings are your feelings; six months doesn’t seem that long to me to be still grieving for something that meant a lot to you. It’s funny how you can see all that’s wrong with someone but still have strong feelings for them but we all do. Be kind to yourself, don’t beat yourself up and you will come through it.

TheJoker's avatar

No, I dont think so. There is no set manual for grief… the amount of pain you suffer after a break-up is entirely dependant on how important the relationship was to you. The way I’d put it to you is, it’s only been six months since you were forced to end this, what sounds like it had becaome, traumatic relationship. Take it slow & just learn how to be on your own, because it’s going to take some time to fully get over, & even then it’ll probably sneek up on you from time to time.

Sophief's avatar

6 months is nothing, there is nothing wrong with you. You are human and you are hurting, there is nothing wrong with that.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Grief can extend over a long period of time, especially when the loss is complex, as it sounds like it is with this relationship. Not only do you have the loss of the relationship and the emotions, but the disillusionment that the person was not who you thought he was, but the sadness of someone with fine potential not being able to actualize it, and ending up in a homeless state.

It will take lots of time.

liminal's avatar

It sounds very normal to me. When we grieve there seems to be so many layers. Things wash over us “out of nowhere”. Sometimes, I think there is really no end to grieving. Time may teach us how to move forward and find our selves on solid ground, yet a smell, a word, a place, an “anything”, can stir us and cause us to remember and/or notice an absence. Being able to feel sad, even be a downright mess, is not only a response that makes sense, it is a response that is needed.

pearls's avatar

The grieving process is different for everyone. One thing is you don’t ever get over it, but you learn to deal with it. Some people it may take years and others weeks.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Let the time wash away your past. Many people have faced this situation but their live still go on.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Six months isn’t a very long time to unwind from feeling bonded to someone. Whether the man was who you thought or wanted him to be doesn’t matter so much, it’s the belief in the relationship part you need to let yourself grieve. If you push yourself to get over it quickly by denying what it mean to you or downplaying it then you might end up actually prolonging your healing. It really does suck to give up on people.

Cupcake's avatar

I’m sorry you’re in pain.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Grief lasts however long it lasts. You can’t put a timetable on it. But it does recede, even if it never fully goes away. There is a point where you start to live your life again, even after being sad for a while. If it’s been more than a year, then I would get help to cope, but only 6 months? And you’re probably thinking that “if I’d only done more,” (which you couldn’t have, it was all his choice), then those feelings have to be dealt with alongside your grief. Know that you did your very best for your friend, but it has to come from inside him to make the changes he need to make to save himself. It’s still a bit of a fresh wound, yet.

If your grief and guilt feelings are heavily interfering with your life now, where you can’t do anything else except think about this, then that’s another story. I’d go see a counselor, or I’d find a Narcotics Anonymous chapter in your town and talk to someone about what you’re going through who can lead you to a place where you can get this sorted out.

Good luck to you. And I’m sorry you’re going through this.

Judi's avatar

Everyone grieves differently.
About 7 years ago I had a best friend who I loved dearly. It turns out she was just hanging out with me because my husband and I had money. When she realized that we loved her but we wouldn’t bail out her life every time she and her husband made a bad decision she dumped me like a hot potato.
I loved her probably more than I loved my own sister. When I realized that the love was not reciprocated and that I was just being used I was devastated. My heart still aches and I have crying days.
Grief is kind of like a scar. It never goes away, it just begins to hurt less, but it still leaves a dark mark on your life.
Get counseling if you need it and cry when you need it. You are normal.

marinelife's avatar

There is no set time limit on grief. I think a year or even two years for grieving the loss of a significant other is not too long. Especially when you know he is out there, homeless.

You deserve props for leaving and staying gone.

Please take care of yourself and be gentle with yourself as you grieve.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I know that 3 months is no time at all (that’s where I’m at). I’m forcing myself out of my hermit existance only because it’s getting worse. Maybe getting back into the world and doing something will help. I have a farm to run and a degree to finish. Grieving is going to have to go to the back part of my mind instead of the front place it currently occupies. My lady never wanted me to be a hermit wallowing in self-pity.

marinelife's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land After reading your past posts, it is good to hear you say that. I agree that she would not have wanted you to suffer to the point of not really living.

faye's avatar

Trillian, you describe my life except it was booze. I am unable to watch movies than have a love theme! Sometimes I feel it’s all my fault- didn’t I see what he was?, how stupid am I? and I often feel very sad- for what I don’t have. I am sure it will get better with time and summer! You will feel better and you will look back at this and just shake your head!

marinelife's avatar

@faye It was not your fault. There is nothing we can do to save someone from themselves.

filmfann's avatar

I think a good rule of thumb is to figure how long you were together, and divide that by two.
If you were together for a year, and you haven’t gotten over it in 6 months, you might need to talk to someone.

JLeslie's avatar

I usually say 4 to 6 months of intense grief is normal, but after that up to 2 years for waves of emotion to hit at unexpected times. The waves might be intense, but usually let up in a few hours to a couple of days.

Trillian's avatar

Everybody who’s taken the time to respond, I want to thank you. I know that I’ll be lots better at some point, and really until yesterday at that moment, I pretty much had been. It came out of nowhere and brought me to my knees. I was VERY low.
I’m feeling better today. Thank you all.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s such a subjective thing that no one can say with any clarity what is “right” for someone else—or even for himself. It depends on the depth of your feeling and how much you had counted on this relationship, on the amount of yourself you had invested into it, and the time you spent on it from inception until “now”. I think it also depends on how the relationship ends, and this seems to be a pretty awful way. It’s like a suicide in a way, since it leaves you with unanswered questions, but it’s not even as final as a “completed” suicide.

It also depends a great deal on how deeply you allow yourself to feel it in the first place.

I’m sorry for your loss.

candide's avatar

it’s never too long and grief is never a mental disorder -you take as much time as you need. Some professionals say a year, some say three, others say seven; OI have known people to grieve much longer, but it is important to realise that it is part of life and, even if it hurts, it is now a part of your life and who you are. It will come in waves at times, too, and other times as a bittersweet memory, but do not expect that it will ever completely go away, and do not think that you are mental if it does not!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Grief in itself is not a mental illness, but it can set you up for depression, anxiety disorders and other nasty things. These things are treatable (I hope) but you have to ask for help.

smilingheart1's avatar

@Trillian, my heart goes out to you….It takes as long as it takes. There is loss of the relationship, death of a dream, sadness for your SO’s inability to grasp as the help that was offered him. Six months things can be quite recent and quite raw. Love yourself, cut yourself slack and keep one foot in front of the other and let the day by day walk you through the woods out into the eventual clearing. Remember the old song “Gonna wash that man right out of my hair?” Nada. It just doesn’t work like that. The universe will support you as you keep gong forward. Huggers!

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