For the past few months I have been trying to learn how to grieve. I recently experienced the second major loss of my life. It is very personal and I am not ready to share it yet, if ever! But I felt as if I needed to share what I have learned thus far about the Grieving Process.
Thanks to my Psychiatrist and the research I have done about Grieving, I now know that their are Five Stages of Grief and Loss. The first stage is Denial and Isolation; that is where I have been been the last few months. Basically, this stage is the temporary response that carries you through the first wave of pain.
The second stage is Anger. From the beginning I have been in the Anger stage. I am outraged for so many reasons but to disclose them and the details of my loss are not why I am writing this. Your frustrations give way to anger and more than likely you will begin lashing out at those around you but my research says you really need to control this because permanent damage to your relationships may be the end result. During this time it is best to focus on releasing your bottled up emotions not lashing out or blaming others.
The third stage is Bargaining. I am in the beginning phase of the Bargaining Stage. This stage is all about the need to regain control. It is a normal reaction to feelings of hopelessness and vulnerability. This is when the "Why me?" and "What if..." questions appear. Also, you may find yourself Bargaining with your God in vain for a way out of your despair.
The fourth stage is Depression. I have been in this stage since the day it happened. During this stage you realize the true significance of your loss and it depresses you. People tend to isolate themselves on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost loved one, as well as focusing on memories of the past. People often have feelings of emptiness and despair.
The fifth and final stage is Acceptance. Unfortunately, some people never reach this stage. This is the stage where most people learn to accept and deal with the reality of their situation. Acceptance does not guarantee instant happiness. Due to the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy occurred. But, they say you will find a way to move forward.
In the Acceptance Stage, believe it or not, you will begin to look forward and plan things for the future. In time, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without the gut wrenching pain. You will still feel sadness when you think of the person you lost, but the horrific pain will no longer be there. This one I have a hard time believing considering where I am in the grieving process; eventually you will begin to anticipate some good times ahead and even find joy, once again, in the experience of living.
It is very important to interpret each stage loosely. Everyone's loss and grieving process is different so expect individual variations. The progression from one stage to another is rather messy. The reality of it all is there is quite a bit of looping back and it is very likely that more than one stage can surface at the same time, often times the stages occur out of order.
Now you are probably asking yourself why the stages are in a numerical order. Well, it is basically a very good guide of what you can and should expect. It also helps knowing that everything you are thinking and feeling are perfectly normal.
Psychiatrists are trained to help people handle better the fear, guilt, and/or anxiety that often are associated with the loss of a loved one. If you need help dealing with your grief or managing a loss consult with a Psychiatrist or other licensed mental health professionals. There is no shame in seeking professional help. Take it from me, it really does help! To find a licensed mental health professional near you visit the American Psychological Association's locator website at: locator.apa.org.
© Lysa Wilds 2014