Mental health of women
Lachman notes that American women are significantly affected by the death of their spouse, with 65% of the bereaved couples mostly losing a husband. He further notes that remarrying by the widows is uncommon and that they are likely to develop grief, depression and alcoholism, thereby being exposed to ailments. According to Lachman, it is important to differentiate between grief and clinical depression. Normal grief involves a feeling of misfortune and emptiness in the world while in depression the emptiness is felt with in the grieving person. A grieving person is capable of maintaining self-esteem and hope in contrast to a depressed person who may contemplate suicide and murder among other anti-social behaviours. Such people lack self-esteem and the meaning of life and may not want to participate in social activities. However, in both cases there are common signs such as insomnia, lack of appetite and deep sadness.
Lachman highlights four ways of determining whether a person is affected by depression through the “four Ds”. The first is distress whereby a person’s mental state is significantly affected. The second is deviance whereby the person is regarded as having an abnormality by the society. The third is dysfunctional in the sense that the person cannot effectively participate in the day to day activities of the society. Dangerous is the fourth aspect whereby the person is no longer safe to the society and can also harm him/herself. Lachman insinuates that grieving people need to understand the four Ds to help them in self-evaluation thereby understanding if their grief is normal or it is the level of clinical depression.
According to Lachman, grieving people undergo six stages of loss. First, they undergo catastrophe and shock which is characterised by terror and disbelief. Thereafter they enter the stage of segregation and consciousness of loss whereby they are overcome by pain and sadness. The third stage is characterised by reconstruction of the mind and reduced sorrowfulness. This stage is followed by irregular periods of normal sadness, which is followed by the final stage of renewal whereby the person gets back to normal life with new a vision separate from the previous one in which the deceased was part of. Lachman suggests that feelings of remorse fade between one and three years as the grieving go through the six stages.
One impediment to successful grieving highlighted by Lachman is the double whammy whereby the society tends to downplay the feelings of the grieving person as if it is nothing to worry so much about. Comments such as “you need to move on”, you need to forget” or “you will get over it soon” make the grieving person feel cheap thereby protracting the healing process. He points out the need to accept the loss and to strive to adapt to a new life minus the departed loved one. He further warns about self-imposed dilemma whereby grieving people entangle themselves in unnecessary quagmire such as trying to maintain the memory and affection of the departed loved one without feelings of sadness.
In conclusion, Lachman emphasizes the point that no other person can accurately understand the grief of feeling of losing a spouse. He notes that this is a weighty loss that should not be downplayed with comments such as “you need to forget and move on”. He encourages grieving people to allow themselves the freedom to experience the feelings that emerge and also to allow other loved ones to care for them.
Lachman, L. (2001), Grief and Loss: Caring for the Caregiver after Death, Viewed on 25th Jan. 2014 at<. http://www.drlarrylachman.com/people/caring-for-the-caregiver.php>.
Mental health of women