Grief is the body’s natural response to a loss. The loss could be felt for the death of a loved one, loss of a friendship, loss of a spouse, someone or something that is considered dear to you or possibly a fatal injury that could lead to death. Almost everyone suffers some type of emotional distress caused by their loss. Grief is specified as a feeling of intense sorrow or sadness due to severe injury of a loved one and most of the time, death. This feeling of grief is an emotional reaction that will soon pass with time, but in some cases, may take years to get past.
The grieving person passes through many complicated stages with many different emotions that tag along with each stage of grief. The usual initial reaction comes in shock and disbelief, your first stage. Shock is a self-defensive state of mind with outcomes of denial of the facts that have happened. The person may think they are daydreaming and will refuse to accept the situation at hand.
The hearing of the news does not tend to register with the griever, who in turn disregards the facts, and may also try and prove the messenger cannot be trusted.The next stage is denial, which usually does not last long. Most people tend to refuse to accept and are unable to accept the reality of the situation.
Many times the person is simply trying to wrap their head around the fact of death or severe injury of a loved one. Denial does not mean that you don’t know that your loved one died, it simply means you have come home and cannot believe that that loved one is not going to be walking through that door again. Denial is our body’s personal protective mechanism that helps us to cope with the overwhelming situation and make survival possible.The following stage is one of bargaining on hearing of a loss. Here the person or patient wants to negotiate the terms of the illness with someone.
The sentiment here is to turn back the clock and bargain with almighty God, possibly with the statement “take me instead” or “why me”. The person often tries to find out ways in which they can revert the situation and compensate for the loss. Guilt often times overlaps bargaining. Although the obvious reactions are to blame oneself, the underlying emotions have undertones of reconciliation for the loss.This is often the stage where the grieving person comes to their senses that their loss that happened was true, and not just a daydream. This can cause serious scares and chaotic actions, like running to alcohol and drugs. When something happens to a loved one you automatically take a degree of responsibility for his or her welfare.
Resulting in the immense guilt felt when you know there is nothing you can do to change any part of the situation. Until this stage in grieving, many of the emotions are felt within oneself. Now when anger is expressed, this is when the grief process starts to become evident.The person may get angry due to the injustice of the situation. You may become angry at the person for leaving you or possibly angry with yourself that you should have done something else to save them.
This is where anger management comes into play. Only you can be your best anger management resource. Depression can follow rapidly after this stage. Depression is not just a standalone stage, but frequently occurs during all or most of the grieving process. It can just as well follow every stage in the process. Here the person can feel despair and have passive actions for a period of time.They see no answer to their loss and become reluctant to behave in a normal fashion, therefore folding into a state of depression.
Last but not least is the acceptance and hope stage. Once reality starts setting in the person beings to realize that there is no turning back or reverse. The grieving person becomes stable and begins to see a light at the end of the tunnel leading back to normality. The person’s mental attitude starts to rapidly change, along with work ethics, behavior, begins to talk to friends normally again, and overall performance. Reality has finally set in and the person accepts and moves forward with their lives.The positive end to the grieving stages is an attempt to move on with life.
Coming out of the grief process is simply a realization that certain things happen in life despite out best efforts to stay away from them. Even though we may try our hardest, you can never prepare yourself for grief. In doing so you would ultimately deny yourself of any joy of living. Losses happen to everyone, it is not a punishment for something you have done. When losses occur it is a part of life that every single person has to deal with.
It is just part of the various challenges of life that must be met with a great positive mental attitude.