Reviews | Grief is a mental disorder – and love
While I sympathize with Devyn Greenberg’s grief, her Sunday April 3 opinion piece, “Grief is love, not a mental disorder,” missed the point. I have been a clinical social worker for 29 years, mostly in private practice. The American Psychiatric Association’s categorization of “prolonged” grief as a disorder has nothing to do with stigma. It is convenient.
Insurance companies use codes from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to determine which conditions are reimbursable. Mourning was not one of these conditions because its origins are not medical. It fell under “V codes”, which are not covered by health insurance funds. Couple consultations are not billable for the same reason. When a situational stressor causes prolonged anxiety or depression, clinical intervention is considered warranted and, therefore, medically necessary.
Elaine S. Belson, Waldorf
I wish I could offer Devyn Greenberg better news but, unfortunately, I can’t, and neither can Edna St. Vincent Millay. The pain of her father’s death will not fade with time; she will simply learn to live with it.
I lost my soulmate, Florencia Defina (Cavazos) Blackshaw, on the morning of October 26, 2015, and the pain is as fresh today as it was then. I was luckier than Mrs. Greenberg in that I was by her side when the end came. She should have died in my arms, but medical science and multiple catheters made that impossible. When the hospital threw her into the hospice, the hospice people kindly let me spend dinner and every night in her room. During the day, I took care of the house and the animals. Well I can only think that it was the same power that brought us together in that February blizzard over 32 years before that made me return to the hospice that morning to be with her when death came. A few days before, when she could still breathe to speak, she had told me that she loved me and indeed, we were given a love, one for each other, that still lives.
Robert Blackshaw, glenwood