Ami Shroyer: How to Cope with Grief and Loss
We all know that human beings are mortal beings, and some come and go. When it comes to death and dying, grief has five stages including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Remember that not all people in grief experience the five stages, there are some who will report more stages, and others have their own set of grieving stages because it is a unique experience. The first stage of grief is denial, wherein the world becomes overwhelming and meaningless, leaving someone in the state of shock. This is the stage when a person feels numb, and not seeing how he can move on with life. The denial stage serves as your protection form your inner violent thoughts and emotions, but as you become stronger and ready to face them, denial will start to fade.
It is acceptable to feel anger after the denial stage, and this is a normal element of the grief’s healing process. Anger results to crying, shouting, and physically harming yourself and others, and this is a normal stage of the healing process, but you must be careful hurting yourself and other people with your seemingly limitless anger. Some people blame other people for the loss of their loved ones such as doctors, family, friends, relatives, and even God. You feel abandoned and deserted. Anger becomes your bridge to the open sea, giving you a structure from the empty denial stage, so you tend to become angry towards a relative who did not attend the funeral or the doctor who attended to your loved one when he was sick. The intensity of anger also reflects the intensity of love to the departed loved one. Then comes the bargaining stage, wherein you promise to do anything just for your loved one to live. The bargaining stage involves “what if” statements with so much guilt, lasting for weeks or months. The guilt inside you leads to self-blame, remembering the past and wondering if things got much better when you have done something better.
The most painful part is the depressive stage, wherein you feel the impact of reality that you no longer have the person you were just talking to before, and this is pure sadness and loneliness that may seem to last forever. While there are people who get too depressed, this is not a sign of mental illness, it is a normal response to a great loss. A person may retract completely from his social circle in the depressive stage, but as soon as he talks about it and begins to socialize again, a grieving person starts to enter the acceptance stage.
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