Trauma Experience (07:18)
The old model of a broken humpty dumpty does not adequately characterize the human experience of traumatic events and loss. Sonali Deraniyagala lost her family during a tsunami in Sri Lanka.
Understanding Loss (07:04)
Unable to comprehend the death of her family, Deraniyagala had to teach herself loss; she relived her previous life through grief counseling. After the tsunami, Deraniyagala did not return to London for four years.
Mourning Periods (07:24)
Deraniyagala ignored advice to return to London and resume her life after the death of her family;she attended therapy and wrote a book. Extended periods of grief are uncommon among non-human primates and recovery from grief is difficult to measure.
Memory and Loss (06:46)
Remembering is a biological event that creates a new experience with every memory. It is easier to be distracted by guilt and analysis than feel loss deeply.
Honesty in Grieving (07:25)
In therapy, Deraniyagala resurrected her family in a calm and safe space to overcome her fear of remembering. After self-medicating for a short while, Deraniyagala avoided mentioning her loss due to shame and sadness.
Trauma Recovery (06:03)
Survivors of traumatic loss demonstrate variability in resilience and recovery time. Allowing survivors to imagine their life without loss can be creative and fulfilling.
Humor in Healing (07:54)
Before accessing her emotions of deep loss, Deraniyagala could joke about her children and remember them through humor. The line between dead and alive is fluid for Deraniyagala; she is most attached to those not with her.
Emotional Healing (05:55)
Survivors of traumatic loss need others around to keep them safe and assist with coping. A balance of privacy and connection are necessary during mourning.
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