The Five Stages Of Grief
By Angela Bekiaris: Dealing with grief, or intense sorrow, is hard for everyone. But while some people react differently to certain things in life, experts strongly believe that the five stages of grief need to be experienced and dealt with step by step. We look into the big five and help you and your loved ones cope as best as possible.
‘It can’t be!’ ‘It’s not possible!’ These are all common responses after hearing the news. Hearing about the loss of a loved one can seem surreal. At the same time, it is a huge shock, which could lead to denial. Chances are you feel shocked, numb or in complete disbelief. This stage is temporary but very common, and denial is a coping mechanism for many. The world as it is seems meaningless and hopeless and nothing makes sense. This is, however, nature’s way of letting it all sink in slow enough for you to handle it. Very often at this time, the shock outweighs feelings of grief.
While you might be wondering why you’re angry and snapping at everyone, fact is this is normal during the time, and those around you won’t be offended, we promise. You’re angry at the person, the situation and the future you see ahead. Experts however feel that this stage is necessary — the more you feel every emotion, the better you will heal. You probably feel deserted and abandoned and that’s okay… just give yourself the time to accept and heal.
This is when you start to dwell on everything, say experts. What could you have done to prevent the situation? ‘If only’, ‘what if’…. all these thoughts are normal and experienced by everyone during a traumatic time. You couldn’t have prevented it though, and you will eventually realise that. We always want life to be perfect, and we would do anything to go back in time and change things, but during this stage you have to accept that what happened was out of your hands, and that nothing you did caused the loss. You need to start looking toward the future — and that doesn’t mean forgetting the past, but accepting it.
Depression is hard to deal with at the best of times, never mind during a great sorrow. Sadness sets in fast, and with that comes crying, sleepless nights and loss of appetite. The feelings of anger, loneliness and shock affect all emotions, and serious depression can and most probably will set in — not always immediately though. Empty feelings present themselves on a much deeper level, and the realisation that your loved one is gone forever affects everything around you. This is the time to talk about that person to those who loved them too, or to join groups and chats where you are able to open up and share stories. Follow the necessary steps along the way to ensure you don’t stay depressed. This might take longer for some than others, but you will get past it with a great support system.
It’s hard to accept losing a loved one, we know. While you’re never going to get over the loss, you do have to accept that it’s happened. You can’t change it. You can’t turn back time. And you can’t bring the person back. You will still feel sad but you will start moving forward, and don’t beat yourself up about it — this is the time for you to accept the loss, the reality and the permanent situation you’re now dealing with. Make new friendships and keep yourself busy and make sure the good days always override the bad.
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