The Complicated Grief: ‘Living on the edge of the world’
The analysis of the families’ experiences will begin with their grief. The significance of grief has been strongly emphasized by those who have looked at the impact of mental illness on families (Creer 1975; Davis and Shultz 1997; Lanquetot 1988; MacGreggor 1994; Spaniol, Zipple and Lockwood 1992; Wasow 1995). As the first section of this chapter will describe, this grief is triggered by the apparently universal perception that there was a very marked discontinuity in the behaviour and being of their relative. It is important to note that this discontinuity was invariably seen as a negative change and that a broadly medical explanation was assumed. This aspect of the families’ experience is important. For all the various ways of understanding mental distress — whether as organic disease, as psychological disorder, social construct or as intolerance of deviance — this is how this group perceived their relatives’ difficulties.
KeywordsMental Illness Complicated Grief Grief Process Hostile Feeling Sexual Boundary
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