We experience all kinds of grief; loss of a loved one, a pet, a relationship, a job, our health, etc.. Ignoring your grief is not helpful. You need to feel your feelings and grieve your loss until it becomes easier. If you don’t take time to properly grieve, that grief will follow you into all of your relationships.
There are 5 stages of grief that you will cycle through. You may not cycle in order, rather you may jump around from one to the other. That’s fine.
- Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that will be left behind after death.
- Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.
- Bargaining — “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…”
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, “I understand I will die, but if I could just do something to buy more time…”
- Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so whats the point… What’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
- Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with her/his mortality or that of a loved one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model
There are no rules about your grief. It’s okay to need help with your grief. Watch for overwhelming feelings of loss that can lead to depression and isolation. Try to get a good amount of sleep and eat nutritiously. See if you can add at least some moderate exercise to your day.
I want to help you get back into life when you are ready. Until then I can simply sit with you and help hold your feelings until they feel less overwhelming. We can work one on one or you may prefer a group of people who are also grieving.
I am starting a Grief Group! If you would like to join or get more information please call, 626-335-0903. www.ilissabanhazlmft.com