The sudden death of a loved one due to a brain aneurysm is a deeply distressing experience, leaving us shocked and searching for understanding. Unfortunately, 40-45% of those affected by a ruptured brain aneurysm do not survive, with approximately 15% dying before reaching the hospital due to rapid brain injury from bleeding that medical interventions cannot correct.

During grief, our minds often generate irrational thoughts like guilt, anger, or self-blame, intensifying our pain. For instance, someone who loses a loved one to an aneurysm may unjustly feel responsible for not predicting the event, deepening their sorrow.

While seeking meaning is natural during grief, it’s important to recognize that it can lead to unnecessary suffering. Irrational thoughts frequently emerge in the aftermath of loss and, if left unchecked, can cause long-term emotional distress. It’s crucial to identify and challenge these thoughts, discussing them openly with others to gain perspective and effectively manage feelings. Professional support can also help navigate through these difficult emotions.

Guilty thoughts

Many mourners blame themselves, thinking, “I should have seen this coming,” or “It was obvious she wasn’t well… why did I ignore it?” This self-criticism can lead to lifelong guilt and feelings of worthlessness. However, it’s unrealistic for non-medical professionals to predict medical events like aneurysms. Most people lack awareness of aneurysms and lack the expertise needed for prediction, even trained medical personnel face challenges without CT scans or other diagnostic tools.

Angry thoughts

It’s common to feel anger towards the deceased, thinking, “How dare she leave me in this situation?” or “He shouldn’t have smoked all those years… he would be alive now if he had listened to me.” Such anger is often followed by guilt, though irrational, after an unexpected loss.

Asking, “Why did this happen to me?” or the deceased can be extremely destructive, fostering intense self-criticism. This question implies a belief that one deserved the tragedy, contributing to feelings of worthlessness.

These attempts to comprehend a sudden loss can lead to prolonged grief. If persistent thoughts become uncontrollable, seek help from a professional clinical psychologist trained in recognizing and managing irrational thoughts effectively.