Modern grief —Compulsive Internet Searches After the Death of a Loved One

Stages of Grief

According to the work of a scholar who studied loss there are five stages of grief that take us from immobilized devastation to, ultimately acceptance. The theory focuses on our internal states, like denial, or bargaining. I propose adding a modern action to the grief process: Compulsive Internet Searching

Yes, Internet Searching➡️Grief Process

After I found my friend (I don’t know what to call the relationship) dead in my kitchen, I developed a habit. I searched for his name online. I tried different search engines, no middle name, with an address, without an address, phone number, email addresses. I looked for every scrap of info I could find. I even joined one of those background checking sites for $25. I learned some new things, minor stuff like in the past he might have wanted to act. But eventually there was nothing new to add to his bio so I was simply reading, re-reading the same facts. Weeks, months of this until I gradually stopped. I never mentioned it.

Recently I picked up a book. One of the characters had not spoken to her sister in 18 years and she did the same compulsive internet searching, including the review of unchanging information. I thought, “I bet this is a thing.”

I’ve Been Asked To Give Wisdom

The irony of anyone looking to me for insight is obvious, although I have been through some things that could provide info. Therefore, from the depth of my experience with my own grief, a fiction novel, and a powerful hunch, I say if you find yourself stuck on OCD internet searches, that’s part of the process. The habit will naturally taper off. I speculate that we need to exert some kind of control when we are most powerless and the searching allows us to do something. It is ok to go through your process.

What Helped Me

about obsession? Let the phone keep track of your screen time. How much of your day are you searching for his name in the year 2002, when he lived in Kansas? Are you searching for her name and her rabbit’s name to see if there are Facebook posts you haven’t seen? I have been there: “Caroleena, ,Sniffie, 🐇Topeka.” I might have searched these terms a whole lot. I understand if you’re doing something similar. Gone overboard? Seek counseling and give details about your specific practices to get informed advice.

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