What is grief?
Any incident resulting in significant change in a life circumstance can cause feelings of loss or grief. It is common to feel overwhelmed and question how long you will feel this way. It is important to allow yourself to grieve. Everyone experiences grief from time to time, it is a very personal experience, no two people experience grief the same.
While grief can feel overwhelming and the pain is real, one must understand it is a natural emotion. Going through the grief process is a healthy way od dealing with loss. Identifying the different stages of grief and knowing what to expect during each one can help you understand the emotional changes that occur and can help you learn to cope.
The Seven Stages of Grief
Shock and Denial
This is the stage when emotions are most profound. Many experience physical symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, difficulty sleeping, decreases appetite, and even heart palpitations. One may feel emotionally numb, a feeling of as if you are watching someone else’s life in a movie and detached from reality.
Pain and Guilt
After the shock fades, the pain comes. It hits you that your loss is real, the pain can be both physical and emotional. One may feel guilt about things unsaid, something you could or should have done that may have prevented the loss. Or feel remorse for not being able to make peace with your loved one. These feelings are part of the healing process.
Anger and Bargaining
Some may feel anger at the person that caused the loss, such as a drunk driver. Others may have anger directed toward God or a higher power for not preventing the loss. Some who grieve feel anger towards the lost loved one and blame that person for leaving them.
During this stage some people may try to bargain for a chance to have things end differently.
The next stages I will talk about are Depression, reflection and loneliness. The upward turn, reconstruction and working through, and acceptance.
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