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The Burden of Loss Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jun 16th, 2021


In the process of developing the genogram and learning plan, which was largely based on collecting personal information and experience, several insights into how meaningful events influence one’s lifestyle and, accordingly, personal health and wellness were revealed. Thus, an evident necessity for the investigation of such an event emerged. The purpose of this paper is to provide critical reflective analysis of one meaningful event in life and discuss its impact. It is essential to discuss how this event affected my overall health in the context of six dimensions of health, the information that could be retrieved from contemporary scholarly literature, and, finally, to conclude on how this knowledge and experience influenced the change of my perspective on life.

Look Back

This paper is structured in accordance with the LEARN framework, which defines the choice of headings and the overall presentation of the information. The LEARN approach is used because it provides an efficient instrument for the investigation and reflection over meaningful events in one’s life. Accordingly, this section will dwell upon the introduction of the event, which will be reflected upon in the following sections.

As I was searching and collecting information for previous assignments, I identified numerous events that have a considerable impact on my current physical and mental health. However, it is possible to state that the most important event in terms of the significance of its influence on me is the death of my grandmother. It was an immensely traumatizing experience for me as well as my family as a whole because it was the first death of a close relative that I have ever experienced, and also my grandmother was the first family member to die within our family. Thus, I find it essential to reflect on the particular aspect of this event and its impact on my personal health and wellness.


Summary of the Event

Primarily, it is essential to elaborate on the event in more detail. It happened more than a year and a half ago, in winter, when my grandmother got sick. At first, it appeared that she had a common cold; however, she was not getting better in a long time, and thus she was hospitalized. When she was in the hospital, it was identified that she had pneumonia, which progressed continuously. In the weeks of her life, she was in a coma, and, eventually, she died. The whole family was involved as everyone tried to support her, but she was not getting better. At the time when this event occurred, I was in another city as I was going through the exams.

Personal Feelings and Perceptions of Self and Others

When I first heard the news about my grandmother’s death, I could not believe it, even though I knew that her condition was getting worse. I found myself in a position when I encountered an event that previously never happened to me, and thus I did not know how to react. Considering the perception of self, it is possible to observe that I was not feeling like a person that can continue to live normally. Also, the interaction with my relatives aggravated this feeling, especially as I saw the grief of my grandfather, who, needless to say, loved his wife very much.


The Issue for Analysis

It is essential to identify core issues related to the described event and reflect on it. As some time passed after the death of my grandmother, I came to the realization that the primary issue induced by this event was depression related to post-traumatic stress (Atwoli, Stein, Koenen, & McLaughlin, 2015). This problem is considerably common in situations similar to the one that I have described. However, every person has his or her individual reaction and perception of such events, and also the outcomes of the reflection over such events differ in their results for every particular individual. Therefore, it is essential to investigate this issue from the perspective of academic knowledge in order to later combine it with my perspective and retrieve meaningful conclusions.

Perspectives from the Scholarly Literature

As it is mentioned by Keyes, Pratt, Galea, McLaughlin, Koenen, and Shear (2014), “unexpected death of a loved one is common and associated with subsequent elevations in symptoms of multiple forms of psychopathology,” and it is also stated that such event is the most common traumatic experience, which is usually rated as the worst by respondents (p. 864). Atwoli et al. (2015) argue that the relationship between such experience and the emergence of posttraumatic stress disorder is evident. Additionally, the study by Burke, Neimeyer, Young, Bonin, and Davis (2014) indicates that complicated grief, defined as “a severe, prolonged response to the loss of a loved one,” is also considerably connected with spiritual complicated grief, which is “a spiritual crisis following loss” (p. 268).

It is also appropriate to mention the article by Cohen, Edmondson, and Kronish (2015), in which the authors state that such conditions as stress, anxiety, depression as well as symptoms associated with these conditions, have a direct influence on the physical state of an individual who experiences it. The authors mention cardiovascular disease as one of the most common manifestations of the physical effect of depression and stress.

Comparison of Acquired Knowledge and the Event

The literature research conducted for this assignment and, particularly, studying the articles mentioned in the previous subsection has contributed significantly to my understanding of the experience related to the death of my grandmother. The issues related to posttraumatic stress disorder and depression induced by the death of a loved one have a prolonged effect on the life of any individual who experiences such events, and thus it is essential to understand how to use coping techniques (Keyes et al., 2014).

Also, it is essential to mention that through the investigation of the academic sources on the topic, I have acquired a more profound understanding of the effect of the loss on six dimensions of health. It is apparent that the most direct and evident effect manifests itself in emotional, spiritual, and intellectual dimensions. However, the effect on physical, social, and occupational dimensions of health are also present, despite that they might not be represented as apparent as emotional effects.

The Emerge of a New Perspective

It is appropriate to state that the investigation of academic literature has helped me to acquire a new perspective on the given issue through new experience and knowledge retrieved from the articles. For a considerably long time, I did not know how to efficiently cope with the feelings of grief, induced by the loss, primarily due to the fact that I had not any specific knowledge about how posttraumatic stress disorder and depression are developed and how their negative effects could be diminished.


How My Perspective Could Be Changed

In this section, it is essential to revise the overall discussion of the analysis provided in the previous section. The significance of the knowledge acquired in the process of investigation of academic literature could be hardly denied. One of the most important aspects of my reflection on the experience of loss is the conclusion about the necessity of rational understanding of emotional problems, as it helps to cope with the depressive and stressful condition to a great extent. Thus, it is possible to state that my perspective has changed on a more positive and rational outlook on life.

The Rationale for Making a Change

Further, it is of high importance to discuss the rationale for making a change in my lifestyle and mindset. The previous subsection provides a basis for this rationale, and it could be formulated in the following way: it is essential to manage one’s stress, employing the guidelines from scientific research, in order to efficiently implement coping techniques and changes one’s life for better. It is also appropriate to consider an alternative coping strategy, proposed in the article by Burke et al. (2014), that is to change one’s spiritual beliefs and practices in order to positively influence the treatment of depression and stress-induced grief.

New Perspective

The final section and conclusion of this paper constitute the establishment of a new perspective as well as the identification of recommendations for future changes in lifestyle and mindset. It is possible to state that the critical reflective analysis performed in this assignment has helped me considerably. However, I also understand that the process of coping with stress and traumatic experience is a long process that has to be maintained in order to have a prolonged and profound positive effect.


Atwoli, L., Stein, D. J., Koenen, K. C., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2015). Epidemiology of posttraumatic stress disorder: Prevalence, correlates and consequences. Current opinion in psychiatry, 28(4), 307-311.

Burke, L. A., Neimeyer, R. A., Young, A. J., Bonin, E. P., & Davis, N. L. (2014). Complicated spiritual grief II: A deductive inquiry following the loss of a loved one. Death Studies, 38(4), 268-281.

Cohen, B. E., Edmondson, D., & Kronish, I. M. (2015). State of the art review: Depression, stress, anxiety, and cardiovascular disease. American journal of hypertension, 28(11), 1295-1302.

Keyes, K. M., Pratt, C., Galea, S., McLaughlin, K. A., Koenen, K. C., & Shear, M. K. (2014). The burden of loss: Unexpected death of a loved one and psychiatric disorders across the life course in a national study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 171(8), 864-871.

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