Grief is universal. At a certain point in everyone’s life, there will be one experience with grief. It could possibly be the loss of a job, from the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, or another change that alters life as you know it.
Grief is also very personal. It is not very neat or linear. It does not follow any timelines or schedules.
You may cry, will shout, become angry, and withdraw, feeling alone. None of those things are wrong or unusual.
Everyone grieves differently, however, there are a number of commonalities in the phases and also the order of feelings experienced through grief.
Where did they come from? The stages of grief:
In 1969, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross (a Swiss-American psychiatrist) wrote in her book “On Death and Dying” that grief could be divided into five stages.
Her observations came from years of working with terminally ill people.
Her concept of grief became known as the Kübler-Ross model. While it was initially devised for people who were ill, these stages of grief have been adapted for other experiences with loss, also.
The five stages of grief may be the most commonly known, but it’s far from the only popular stages of grief concept. Several others exist too, including ones with seven stages and ones with just two.
Does grief always follow the same order of all stages?
The 5 stages of grief are:
- Depression (Melancholy)
Not everyone will experience all five stages, and some might not go through them in this order.
Grief differs for every single person, which means you may begin coping with a reduction in the bargaining stage and find yourself in rejection or anger next.
You may stay for weeks in one of those five stages but skip others entirely.
Stage 1 of Grief: Denial
Grief is an overpowering emotion. It is not unusual to react to the intense and often sudden feelings by faking the loss or change isn’t happening.
Denying it gives you time to gradually absorb the information and start to process it. This is a frequent defense mechanism and helps you to the intensity of the situation.
As you go out of this denial stage, however, the emotions you have been hiding will begin to rise. You are going to be confronted with a lot of sorrow you’ve denied. That’s also part of the journey of grief, but it can be difficult.
Stage 2 of Grief: Anger
Where denial may be considered a coping mechanism, anger is a masking effect at that time. Anger is hiding many of the feelings and pain that you carry.
This anger could be diverted at other people, like the person who died, your ex, or even your old boss. You might even aim your anger at inanimate objects.
While your logical mind knows the object of your anger isn’t to blame, your emotions at that minute are too intense to feel that.
Anger can hide in feelings like bitterness or resentment. It may not be clear-cut fury or anger. Not everyone will experience this point, and some may linger here.
Since the anger subsides, however, you may begin to think more rationally about what’s happening and feel that the emotions you have been pushing aside.
Stage 3 of Grief: Bargaining
Throughout grief, you may feel vulnerable and helpless. In these moments of intense emotions, it’s not unusual to look for ways to regain control or to want to feel like you can impact the outcome of an event.
It’s also not unusual for religious individuals to try to make a deal or guarantee to God or some higher power in return for recovery or relief from the grief and pain. It helps you postpone the sadness, confusion, or harm.
Stage 4 of Grief: Depression
Sometimes anger and bargaining may feel quite “active,” melancholy or depression may feel like a “quiet” stage of grief.
At the early stages of loss, you may be running out of emotions, trying to stay a step before them.
By this point, however, you could be able to embrace and work through them in a healthier manner. You may also choose to isolate yourself from others in order to fully cope with that loss.
That doesn’t mean, however, that depression is simple or well defined. Like the other stages of grief, depression can be difficult and messy. It can feel overwhelming. You may feel foggy, heavy, or confused (perplexed).
Depression may feel like the inevitable landing point of any loss at that moment. But if you are feeling stuck here or can’t appear to proceed beyond this stage of grief, talk with a mental health expert.
A therapist can help you to work through this period of coping.
Stage 5 of Grief: Acceptance
Acceptance is not always a happy or inspiring stage of grief. It does not mean you’ve moved past the grief or loss.
It will, however, mean that you have accepted it and have begun to understand what it means in your own life today.
You might feel very different in this phase. That’s completely expected. You’ve had a significant change in your lifetime, and that upends how you feel about many other things.
Look to acceptance as a way to find that there may be good days than bad, but there may still be bad days left — and that is OK.
The seven stages of grief:
The 7 stages of grief are just another popular model for describing the numerous complicated experiences of grief or loss. These seven stages of grief include:
- Denial and shock. This really is a state of disbelief and numbed feelings.
- Guilt and pain. You may feel the loss is intolerable and that you’re making other people’s lives more challenging because of your own feelings and needs.
- Bargaining and anger. You will lash out, telling God or some higher power that you will do anything they ask if they will only grant you relief from such feelings.
- Depression. This may be a period of isolation and isolation during which you process and reflect on the reduction.
- The upward turn. At this point, the stages of grief like anger and pain have died down, and you are left in a more calm and relaxed state.
- Reconstruction and working through. You are able to begin to put pieces of your own life back together and carry forward.
- Hope and acceptance. This is a really gradual acceptance of the new means of life and a sense of possibility in the future.
As an example, This May be the presentation of stages from divorce or a breakup:
- Denial and Shock: “She absolutely wouldn’t do this to me. She’ll realize she is wrong and be back here tomorrow.”
- Guilt and pain: “How can she do this to me? How selfish is she? How can I mess this up?”
- Bargaining and anger: “If she will give me another chance, I will be a better boyfriend. I will dote on her and give her everything she asks.”
- Depression: “I will never have another relationship. I’m doomed to fail everyone.”
- The upward turn: “The end was hard, but there could be a location later on where I could see myself in a different relation.”
- Reconstruction and working through: “I need to assess that relationship and learn from my mistakes.”
- Acceptance and trust: “I have a lot to offer someone else. I just have to meet them.”
The key to understanding grief is realizing that no one encounters the exact same thing.
Grief is quite private or very personal, and you may feel something different every time. You may need a few weeks, or grief might be years long.
If you choose you need help dealing or coping with the feelings and changes, a mental health practitioner or professional is a good source for assessing your emotions and finding a sense of assurance in these very heavy and weighty feelings.
Ask your friends and loved ones for support.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…
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