National Grief Awareness Day is asking to: Make it mandatory that on all medical history or intake forms we ask patients about their grief history. Founder, Angie Cartwright

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I truly belive we need to be addressing grief and the grieving in our medical field. Grief and depression can have similiar symtoms and sometimes grievers are diagnoised with depression and they are grieving. I wish to share my own experience with you in hopes it will help. I have never read any intake form that asked me if I was grieving or lost anyone in my life. Here is why I think its important:

I have spent a lifetime with sadness on my lap, even when it seemed there was nothing wrong. I eventually would go to the doctor when it would get to be too much and many times the results came back that I was suffering from depression. I seemed to wrestle with this most of my life. At times I experienced a loss or something sad, I could understand the sadness. But when life was good, why was I so sad all the time? It must be a hormone thing? Physical problems were a relevant issue since I had been in surgical menopause, had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a few ruptured discs in my back. All of these health issues can cause depression and that makes sense. So I would take the pills prescribed and work on any problems that came my way. Eventually the monster depression would come back and I would set there baffled and hopeless one more time. Am I always going to feel sad? I need to find a way to accept it. Yes! Acceptance is the solution. So I threw myself into different ways to accept my depression, and surrendered the fight to something that was a part of me.

In 2010, I experienced a horrific loss that left me shattered. My mother was in her early fifties, and passed from a drug overdose. This was not my first loss in my life, I started losing loved one at the age of five. A sister, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, husband, cousins, a father (not sure if he was my real father), several friends, three beautiful pets, and now mom. Not to mention being raised in alcoholism, drug addiction, and abuse. I was abandoned many times in my childhood and would be given to the foster care system.

I am definitely a fighter and a survivor because I would always make a strong comeback. What did I miss last time? What did I need to do better? Yet the hopelessness would win every time. So back to the doctor, another round of medication, and therapy. Days after my mom passed I ran into a lady whose son had committed suicide. She had a certain look in her eyes. At first to be honest, I was like, “I’m glad you’re happy.” I was in the dark grief world. The place between living a death, and wanting to die. I said nothing to her, I just watched and listened from a distance. The day came when I approached her with a lump in my throat, and my eyes full of tears. May I ask you something? She said, “of course.” How is it that you are free and your eyes seem to sparkle? What is it that you do? You lost your son, but you seem at peace?

She started sharing her story with me about how she went on her journey. She talked of a handbook called, The Grief Recovery Handbook. She told me that this handbook had saved her life. Being desperate and completely out of ideas, I ordered the book. Within the first few chapters my life was changed forever and had not even started the work. My life was running through my mind. Come to find out all the sadness I was experiencing wasn’t depression it was grief! I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t remember one doctor’s form I ever filled out mentioning anything about grief. The only time I spoke to a doctor about grief is when my husband was killed. The doctor himself had heard of what happened to him. He prescribed tons of anxiety medication, and sleeping medication. My world opened up and finally there was hope. I had been treating my grief as depression my whole life. It’s like taking a bar of soap out to fix a flat tire, it just won’t work.

I went on to work the book and have had wonderful results and I highly recommend it. I am not a doctor but this is my experience. I truly believe depression exists and should to be treated. I went to my doctor with my new found information and she was very supportive and even encouraged me to do the work. It has been almost three years since the loss of my mother and I can say I feel much better. I still have my days so don’t get me wrong. But today I know that I’m sad, not depressed, that I’m grieving. It’s normal and natural to grieve.

I send you blessing my grieving friends,

Angie Cartwright

The Grief Recovery Method

The Grief Recovery Handbook

If you are suffering from depression or grief. I strongly suggest speaking with your physician. Please note, grief many times has been misdiagnosed as depression. Please share your concerns with your doctor.

If you are suicidal please get help, there is hope.

1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

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