The Five Stages of GriefOct 12, 2022
We all experience grief whenever we incur a loss or a terrible event happens in our lives. Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first proposed the five stages of grief, they are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Understanding these stages is essential to healthily working through your grieving process. This blog post will explore each step in more depth and discuss how you can cope with the pain and sadness that comes with grief.
The grieving process can have several stages.
Bad things can happen in life. It can be the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the destruction of property due to a calamity, or the news that you have a life-threatening disease. We consider them terrible because these things leave a bitter aftertaste in our minds and feelings. They are not what we want to happen in life and go against our positive expectations. However, life is life. As much as we don't like these things from happening, they can indeed occur at some point in our lives and can be beyond our control. So what happens next once they occur? First, of course, we grieve, and that's pretty normal.
The grieving process has five stages, according to the Kübler-Ross model. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. At first glance, the five stages of grief may look like a linear path starting with denial, followed by anger, then until acceptance. However, one does not need to follow all the stages according to order. The grieving process for each person can vary, and one may skip a step or go back to a previous one after progressing to a particular stage. Also, the time a person spends for each stage can vary, and it may take a while before they move to the next step. Experiencing the grief stages can be a roller-coaster ride of emotions, but what's essential is that we let our feelings out, so we can eventually move into acceptance, which is a necessary step for moving on with life. Being familiar with the five stages of grief can help you be more mindful of your feelings so you can move forward better and not get stuck in life.
The five stages of grief, according to Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
Grief can be very overwhelming to the person, primarily when an unexpected event occurs that brings intense sadness and significant loss. When something happens against our preferable reality, that's when grief can come. It can be challenging to believe that a major loss has happened, and people will not usually be able to accept things have happened right away. We may not know how to feel yet about what has happened, so we may try to think that what has happened is not the reality. It may just be a nightmare, or you are hallucinating about what you see. Denial can be our initial reaction to something unfortunate that has happened to us. It serves as a prelude to our honest feelings about what happened to us.
Anger can get considered a negative emotion, but it is something tolerable as a response when we are grieving. We can feel angry over what has happened and may lash out at people or inanimate objects. We try to find someone or something to blame for what caused the terrible incident, but since we can't, we instead resort to anger. Anger covers up our honest feelings about the unfortunate situation. We feel sad and bitter over what happened to us, but since we may not be ready yet to let ourselves feel down, we then resort to anger. It's normal to feel this way, but it's also vital that we don't let our anger get the better of us, as we may hurt people who don't deserve to receive our intense emotions.
When your feelings calm down, you can start thinking more rationally but may still be prone to fantasizing about imaginary scenarios in your head. Bargaining is characterized by thinking about "what if" and "if only" statements in your mind. You think about ways that you could have done to prevent the unfortunate event from happening, but of course, you know it's impossible to travel back in time to correct things and alter events. You try to plead to some imaginary existence or power to change things for you. Amidst all these fantasies, the reality is that things have already happened, and we can't change them anymore. Bargaining is like giving yourself hope that maybe something can still go back to the way it used to be and delays your sadness and depression.
After having bouts of denying, feeling angry, and bargaining, you will eventually come to terms with the fact that there may be nothing you can do anymore to change the situation, such as bringing back to life someone who has died. Depression then kicks in, and it can show in various ways. You may feel drained often and lose interest in doing your usual favorite activities. You may also want to isolate yourself from others because you don't feel like mingling and having a good time with them. Pessimism and sarcasm can occur, and hopelessness may set in your life. Many people can get stuck in this stage, especially if they don't know how to move forward or don't get the proper support and help from others. Concerned people and loved ones should help a person who is feeling depressed, and it won't hurt to seek the assistance of a mental health professional if things get serious, such as when a person has been depressed for an extended period already.
Acceptance is the final stage a grieving person should try their best to reach. After all the ups and downs, you have come to accept that an unfortunate circumstance has happened in your life, and you are ready to move forward. It doesn't mean it's already a happy ending for you. Feelings of sadness and grief may still linger but to a lesser degree. The damage or loss has already been made, but you are more concerned now about what you should do next in your life. Adjustments may happen, and you may reframe how you see the unfortunate event in your life, such as treating it like a learning experience. The essential thing is that you are not stuck anymore and are ready to embrace the change.
The healing process for grief can take a while
People have varying degrees of how they deal with grief in their lives. Some can quickly bounce back, while others can take a long time before they move on and recover. What's important is learning to overcome our grief and not get stuck in any grieving process stage. For example, getting stuck in depression or denial can affect one's mental health and well-being. People will have various ways to move forward, and you should remember that others can help you overcome grief. Let your emotions out and react not in a destructive way. Calm your mind and learn to accept things; hopefully, everything can improve for you.