The Hole in Your Heart

Thousands of people come to me after the loss of a loved one has left them paralyzed by grief. Many want a sign or direct connection to help them know their loved one in spirit is okay and at peace. I tell everyone that we are all mediums. I just happen to trust what I hear, see, and feel, which gives me confidence that I am truly bridging the gap between this world and the next. Just like an instrument, if I use it daily, it fine-tunes and the output is a beautifully orchestrated flow of information.

There are many stages to the grieving process but everyone grieves differently. My friend, Marianne, whose amazing son, Jesse, passed five years ago, informed me about a recent proposed fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for the American Psychiatric Association. The proposal suggests that if you have lost a loved one, you have two weeks to grieve before they diagnose you with clinical depression.

So, if you’ve lost a child or close relative and you’re feeling sad, uninterested in things, can’t sleep, or don’t want to go to work—after two weeks, according to the manual—you are majorly depressed and need drugs. Who writes this stuff? Drug company executives?

I believe many people benefit from medication to help with depression and other challenges. However, if this suggestion is adopted, many people who experience completely normal grief could be mislabeled as having a psychiatric problem.

Even the current manual proposes an unrealistic standard of two months of grieving before one is considered clinically depressed. I don’t think the answer for most people grieving is a diagnosis such as this and a prescription for pills for life. Reach out to a grief counselor and discuss your options to help you sleep and get through the day, but don’t fall for the pharmaceutical’s field day on grief.

They say time heals all wounds. Grief is a different story. The hole in your heart will always be there, but over time you learn to fill it with little pieces of joy. I call it "heart spackle."

Find out about upcoming programs with Maureen Hancock at Kripalu.

Excerpted from The Medium Next Door: Adventures of a Real-Life Ghost Whisperer, © 2011, by Maureen Hancock.