Five Stages of Grief That Everyone Goes Through!
People from every walk of life eventually find themselves experiencing a form of grief or loss. Mourning and grief come in many forms across various cultures, and mourning itself is a very individual response. Loss comes in the form of death, either of a loved one or an animal. It could also come in the form of a broken relationship or a terminal illness. There are five stages of grief, and that people spend different munts of time within each stage. Here we take a look at these stages of grief.
Denial and Isolation
This is commonly the first reaction when faced with death, loss, or terminal illness. This is a stage in which a person denies the reality of the circumstances and what has happened. It’s a very normal response to a traumatic loss, and it is a coping mechanism to manage and rationalize overwhelming feelings. Denial itself is also a defense mechanism.
This works as a buffer for the immediate shock of grave loss. It is normal to experience emotional numbness and dullness. It is also normal for you to forget or blank out certain experiences in a traumatic situation. This temporary responses typically lasts only so long as to protect you from the initial wave of pain.
Intense emotions are sometimes deflected and then redirected as an expression of anger. You might end up directing this anger towards inanimate things, friends, family, or even strangers. One might even start directing it at the deceased, or the dying loved one. Of course, reason tells us that you should not blame the person. But emotionally people may come to resent the person who has died or is dying for having caused them such pain. It becomes a vicious cycle of feeling anger, then feeling guilty for being angry, which leads to more anger.
It’s also a normal reaction to feel helpless and vulnerable in the face of loss. This means indulging in ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ type statements. This method is a weaker line of defense that also exists to protect people from the harsh reality. Guilt does frequently accompany bargaining. This is a stage in which people begin to believe that there was something that they could have done differently to have somehow prevented the inevitable form happening.
Experts link mourning with two types of depression. The first kind is a reaction to practical implications that relate to the actual loss. Regret and immense sadness predominate this type of depression. This stage can be clarified and eased by reassurance form other loved ones. Kind words and helpful co-operation can help people pull through this depression. The second kind of depression is a subtle kind and more private. It is more of a quiet preparation to separate from the loved one who lost their life.
Reaching the acceptance stage of grief is not easily afforded to all. This is a phase that is characterized by calm and withdrawal. It is different from depression. Most people misinterpret the stage of acceptance with people coming to believe that someone in acceptance is simply ‘okay’ with the loss. However, it is a stage where there are more good days than bad ones. It is a stage all about accepting reality and allowing life to move on.
Acceptance is about learning to live with the loss and adjusting to the new norm according to which you must now live. Acceptance is a good space to find when dealing with loss as it allows people to move forward with their lives. The common problem is that people feel guilt at living their lives. Thy start to feel though they are, in some way betraying their loved one. Of course, this is not the case and merely another flaw of humankind.
It is important to recognize that the five stages of grief do not necessarily occur in any specific order. People generally shift between the stages before they come to a peaceful acceptance of their loss. Not experiencing grief in the order above is perfectly normal. Also, people grieve differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Embrace every stage of grief and allow yourself the time to heal before moving to the next stage. Acceptance is the ultimate goal.
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