Feeling sad and feeling anxious are two common signs of ambiguous loss. Dr. Pauline Boss, one of the world’s leading experts on ambiguous loss. In this podcast, she shares insights and research in her newest book, The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change.
Dr. Boss has accomplished a lot in her life. She’s a psychologist, thought leader, emeritus professor, and author of the seminal books Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss, and The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss In A Time of Pandemic and Change.
It’s so cool that at the age of 87, she’s having a moment!
A delightful guest, Pauline freely shares some of her personal journey and how her experiences of loss changed the scope of her newest book even as she was writing it.
What is Ambiguous Loss?
She says that ambiguous loss is “an unclear loss.” And that many people don’t realize they’re grieving. The result can be that the grief then becomes frozen.
Once we understand that how we’re feeling, and why we’re feeling it is because we’re grieving an unclear loss, our lives can begin making more sense.
Examples of ambiguous loss include
- the Covid pandemic,
- leaving one’s home and/or country as an immigrant or refugee, romantic relationship breakups,
- family disintegration,
- caretaking an elderly spouse, partner, parent, or adult child with physical and/or mental health issues.
Pauline Boss makes it clear that most caregivers are not depressed. Nor should they be labeled with a pathologizing diagnosis they don’t deserve.
Feeling Sad, Feeling Anxious in Santa Fe NM
What many caregivers are is sad. And it’s a sadness that’s very normal and understandable given the circumstances.
The idea that we can have closure on our normal grieving is a myth. Grief doesn’t end.
Further, if we’ve loved someone or something, we want to remember. Because we’re remembering with love.
Pauline offers helpful counsel for increasing our tolerance for ambiguous loss. She also has thoughtful advice on how to continue moving forward with our lives, even as we hold what’s dear to us in our hearts.
The truth is that feeling anxious is connected with the normal sadness of grieving a loss, whether it’s an ambiguous one, or not. But sometimes you can’t seem to get past the changes, and the feelings of anxiety don’t settle down. Then, you can get stuck in a quietly insidious cycle that compounds the trauma of the loss itself.
If that happens, you may need some professional help to begin reaching out into the world. You can learn how to start living again, knowing that there’s no such thing as closure and that you’ll be OK.
My Approach to Feeling Sad and Feeling Anxious
I’m Melanie, the Santa Fe Therapist. My compassionate, creative approach to grief counseling in Santa Fe NM weaves together my ability to hear below the surface of the words, advanced degrees, years of specialized training, professional experience, and personal experiences healing from loss.
Clients usually work with me once a week for 8-12 months. As we work together, you’ll process your sadness and loss in an emotionally safe space, and begin learning how to step into the world again, on your terms.
Please know that I welcome ongoing conversations about making therapy the best experience it can be for you.
If you’re feeling sad, depressed, confused about how to move forward after a traumatic change, or if you’d like to explore grief counseling in Santa Fe, please reach out and schedule a free 15-minute phone consult.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and schedule a session, won’t you?