The pain when someone you love dies is unexplainably unbearable. You ask yourself, “Will this pain ever end?”. You may have feelings of shock, anger, profound sadness, confusion, and disbelief. Grieving is a normal response to loss, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve, but there is a healthy process of dealing with the death of a close friend or family member.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a renowned psychiatrist, developed the Five Stages of Grief Theory. The process involved when dealing with a death is DABDA – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. The five stages of grief do not only apply when dealing with the death of a loved one; it’s also for divorce, perceived significant life changes, miscarriage, job loss, or the diagnosis of a terminal illness.
The Five Stages of Grieving Process
In this article, we will be focusing on the stages of the grieving process when dealing with the death of a loved one. Just so you know, there is no specific time frame in getting over the loss of a dearly beloved.
Not all who experienced the loss of a special person will experience these stages of grief, and that’s okay. You don’t have to go through all these five stages of grief. The theory was developed as a guide to give us an idea of the emotions of a grief experience. Also, to give an answer to your questions about why you’re feeling that way after losing someone.
Denial is the first stage of the grief experience. What is your first response when you hear the news that someone died? There’s disbelief, and you can’t seem to properly face the reality of the situation. Most especially if the death is sudden, or you just talked to that person yesterday.
The denial stage is an attempt to absorb and understand the news. It’s a common defense mechanism in a grief process to survive the emotional pain. It is the stage where you take the time to adjust to the new reality. This is the time where you question yourself on how to go forward through life without this person’s presence.
A common response when someone died is anger. There may be putting the blame on the doctors, the caregivers, God, or even yourself if there is something you could have done to avoid this. There are so many questions that cross your mind; why is this happening to you, and you can feel angry.
There’s so much emotion in the new reality to process that you use anger to avoid and confront the situation. This stage of grief can last for days, weeks, or even months. This stage may also involve feelings of frustration, anxiety, loneliness, and uncertainty. When you feel angry, try to seek help from friends or other family members. Remember that you do not grieve alone; other people in your life are experiencing pain too. This is the time to be there for each other, and together you can deal with your anger issues.
This is the stage where you tell yourself, “I would do anything just to bring my dearly beloved back.” You may keep asking yourself, “What if.” These are moments when you feel desperate to do almost anything or bargain anything to have that loved one back. During the bargaining stage, you may tend to look back on the moments you spend with your dearly beloved.
You recall the times where you may have misunderstandings or cause your dearly beloved pain. How you wish you can turn back time and behave differently. You may tend to be in a painful place where you’ll do anything to turn back time. During this stage after the loss, remember to take it easy on yourself. Please do not blame yourself or other people for what happened, and try to accept it slowly.
The fourth stage of the grieving process after a loss is depression. The denial, anger, and bargaining start to calm down as you slowly begin to face the situation. The feelings of sadness grow, and the pain is unavoidable at this point. Going through depression after a friend or family member’s death may cause you to become less sociable and may affect your eating and sleeping patterns.
During the depression stage, don’t let your grief get the best of you. During this stage, avoid isolating yourself and get the help you need. Talk to a loved one or a mental health professional to learn how to cope with the loss healthily.
As you no longer struggle with facing the reality of the situation, the acceptance stage starts. You still feel pain, you still cry, but you begin to accept the reality of death. The acceptance stage doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re totally okay, but you have accepted to live life while acknowledging the loss.
It’s like telling yourself, “My husband died, eventually, I’m going to be okay.” In this stage, there will be good days or bad days, and that’s okay. You start to accept that life goes on, and regardless of the pain and the grief, you have to move on. This is where you start to keep yourself busy with productive ways to spend your day. Tell yourself that you have an angel guiding you in everything that you do.
How to Grieve Healthily With the Loss of a Loved One
There is no wrong or right way to grieve, but there is a healthy way of expressing grief. If you recently experienced the loss of a dearly beloved, the key is not to isolate yourself. As you experience grief, you may find yourself preferring to withdraw yourself from others. You will find it easier to deal with the loss if you have your friends and family with you. You don’t need to talk about the loss every time you interact with them; just having their presence is good enough.
When you recently experienced a loss, also try to avoid unhealthy behaviors like drinking too much and substance abuse. Try to live a productive life, focus on what you have, spend time with your family, take care of your physical and mental health, and look forward to happy days ahead.
Try to accept the grief by drawing comfort in your faith, joining a support group, or talking to a counselor. If you need to talk to someone and learn how to live with the grief, schedule an appointment with Kentucky Counseling Center now. Sometimes, all you need is someone to talk to, and in time, everything’s going to be okay.