In both The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball and some of my earlier blog posts, I've established that a single father may experience grief result not just from the death of a spouse, but also from the "loss," or the end, of a relationship like divorce. In many cases, successfully addressing grief to move forward toward a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life is a process that takes time, but one that most people eventually are able to navigate. Others, however, are not so fortunate.
For some, "feelings of loss are debilitating and don't improve even after the passage of time. This (condition) is known as complicated grief. In complicated grief, painful emotions are so long lasting and severe that you have trouble accepting the loss and resuming your own life.[i]" Symptoms of complicated grief may include, among others, extreme focus on the loss, intense longing, problems accepting the loss, detachment, numbness, bitterness, trouble carrying out normal routines, withdrawal, a feeling of hopelessness, irritability, and a lack of trust.
While medical professionals are just now beginning to understand complicated grief, current treatment includes medication in the form of antidepressants and psychological counseling. If you believe you may be suffering from complicated grief, it would probably be a good idea to contact a health care professional, perhaps starting with your primary care physician who may be able to better diagnose the condition. You may also visit ComplicatedGrief.org or email Dr. Karen LoSchiavo for more information.
[i] Complicated Grief: Definition. The Mayo Clinic Staff. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/complicated-grief/DS01023. Accessed April 12, 2013.