Friday, January 28, 2022

5 Stages of Grief

By December 2020, it was reported that there were approximately 1,813,188 deaths from the global pandemic worldwide. This has led to a tremendous amount of grief. As the end of 2021 draws closer by the day, we have yet to receive the official statistics on this year’s global death toll, but the figures are expected to be high.

As high as the figures are, the loved ones left behind are the ones to face the enormous toll. The statistics are, in fact, immeasurable.

Grief is mental or emotional suffering or distress caused by loss or regret. People who are overwhelmed by this state are described as grief-stricken. It’s mainly used to refer to the feeling of sorrow and loss from the death of a loved one.

Grief can be such a painful experience that sometimes people actively avoid their feelings in the hope of sparing themselves the discomfort. Unfortunately, when it comes to grief especially, avoidance does not work. Avoiding grief may seem like the easiest solution, but the pain awaits you, and it will need to be faced eventually.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. However, by understanding the stages and types of grief, you can find healthier ways to cope. For example, the pain of grief can disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to eat, sleep, or think straight.

Woman sitting at a table in a restaurant looking sad while a friend places a hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
The pain of grief can disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to eat, sleep, or think straight. (Image: Rawpixelimages via Dreamstime)

Grief can make you feel out of control, which is an unnerving feeling for most and can bring a great deal of distress. The unpredictability of the grieving process is completely normal. Strong emotions can emerge out of the blue and can be very overwhelming when experienced.

The grieving process takes time, as the process of healing cannot be hurried. Therefore, it’s essential to be patient with yourself and to allow the process to unfold naturally.

Approximately 50 years ago, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross noticed a pattern in the experience of grief through the loss of a loved one.

Kübler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief

1. Denial

Denial is the stage that can initially help you survive the loss.

2. Anger

Anger tends to be the first thing you feel when you start to release emotions related to loss.

3. Bargaining

Losing a loved one can cause us to consider any way to avoid the current pain being felt.

4. Depression

Starting to feel the loss of a loved one more abundantly. In these moments, you tend to pull inwards as the sadness grows.

Man experiencing grief or depression, on a balcony with his head in his hands.
People tend to pull inward as they feel the loss of a loved one more abundantly. (Image: Ocusfocus via Dreamstime)

5. Acceptance

You are no longer resisting the reality of the situation. Sadness and regret can still be present in this stage, however.

It is said that the “bargaining phase” is commonly the most challenging stage of grief. This is because bargaining can go hand in hand with guilt, proving to be difficult for many.

Although grieving is often associated with loss through death, any loss experienced in life can trigger grief. These include: the loss of a job, a relationship breakdown, or a miscarriage. Even subtle life changes can trigger distress, such as moving house or graduating from university.

When you come to a place of acceptance, it is not that you no longer feel the pain of loss. However, you are no longer struggling to make it something different than how things previously were in your life.

There are various ways to console somebody who you may know is experiencing grief. These include:

. Being there unconditionally

. Sharing memories

. Take time to listen

. Offering a hug — a simple touch can speak volumes!

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Katrina Hicks
Katrina Hicks is a freelance, thought provoking, creative writer who also possesses poetic talent. With a journalistic mindset, Katrina asks questions rhetorically for the reader to conclude their own narrative.
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