Recently, risqué photos surfaced of Prince Harry. While for common folk, having pictures such as these posted to Facebook would call for a round of embarrassment. However, it is whole 'nother ball game, and rather unbecoming, for it to happen to the 3rd in line to the throne.
Papers commented, "How could he engage in this behavior on the anniversary of his mother's death?"
I wonder if anyone has considered that he might be acting out because it was the anniversary of his mother's death.*
Anniversaries of traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or any other loss, can trigger feelings of depression, anxiety, and can trigger relapses into addictive behavior. And the kicker is that you may not even be aware that your behavior is connected to an anniversary.
It is normal for people to act out (externalize) feelings of grief, or withdraw/experience physical symptoms (internalize) when they are grieving. When anniversaries roll around, grief may take someone over again. Anniversaries can especially trigger feelings of grief when they are the one year, five year, 10-year, 20-year, or 25-year anniversaries. In our culture, numbers carry a lot of weight.
Therapists may do a "family genogram" to determine the relationships among people in your family, and also dates when people were married, divorced, and died. When doing a genogram, you may notice that you fall into a depression a week prior to, and the week of, the anniversary of your mother's death. Once you make this connection, it is a big step towards working through your grief.
While you may always experience feelings of grief during anniversaries, being fully aware of why you are experiencing those feelings can help them become less intense with time. One day your happy memories of your loved one may outnumber the traumatic memories of his or her passing.
* I am not a therapist for the royal family, nor have I met Prince Harry. If I was a therapist for the royal family, I most likely would not have time to write this blog.
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