Grief is the natural response an individual has towards losing someone valuable to them. The loss can also be the ending of a relationship or job, life changes such as developing a chronic or terminal illness, etc.
Stages of Grief
Elisabeth Kubler Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist and a renowned figure in the field of mental health, proposed the five stages of grief that an individual experiences after the loss of a loved one. These are-
When an individual first finds out about the death of someone they love, it is commonly observed that a person might find it hard to believe that something like this is actually happening to them. A person in denial might refuse to accept their reality.
In this second stage, frustration and feelings of helplessness turn into feelings of anger. The person might find it unfair that they are experiencing a loss and their anger might be directed towards the deceased as well because they are angry at being left behind.
During this stage, the person is preoccupied with ‘what-if’ and ‘if-only’ thoughts as they are fixated on what they could have done to prevent the loss.
Feelings of guilt are common if they shared a volatile relationship with the departed. They might try to ‘strike a deal’ with higher power or God as well.
Feelings of sadness seep in as the individual begins to process the loss they are experiencing. Symptoms of this stage include- frequent crying, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, feeling overwhelmed, feeling helpless, etc.
The last stage of grief focuses on accepting and fully processing the loss one has experienced. It’s the awareness that one can’t be brought back and steps are taken to move on from the loss while cherishing the shared memories.
There is no fixed or normal time to mourn any form of loss as every individual grieves differently depending upon several factors such as one’s personality, age, coping strategies, nature of the relationship with the deceased, availability of support system, personal beliefs, type of bond shared, etc.
Healing can be defined as an upward spiral rather than a liner journey. So dealing with grief is more or less like that as the individual might stay in a particular stage of grief for a longer duration, skip a stage or go back and forth between these stages. Coming to terms with loss, especially loss of a beloved, is a very challenging time in every individual’s life. As time passes by, the individual can cope with the emotional pain as they adapt to life events.
Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.
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About the Author.
Tripti Sachdev is a psychologist at MindTribe.in. You can learn more about her by clicking here
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MindTribe.in, the Founders, or management team.
Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.