Grief is a natural response to loss, and it’s something that we all unfortunately will experience at some point in our lives. It’s a complex and often painful process that involves a range of emotions and behaviours.
While everyone experiences grief differently, there are generally five stages that are commonly recognized as part of the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Let’s take a brief look at each to try and explain some of the feelings that you might be faced with.
The first stage of grief is often denial. This is a natural defence mechanism that helps us to cope with the shock and pain of the loss of someone close. When we’re in denial, we may try to convince ourselves that the loss didn’t happen or that it wasn’t as bad as it seems. This stage can be particularly difficult because it can prevent us from fully facing the reality of the loss and beginning the healing process.
The second stage of grief is often anger. This is a natural response to loss and can take many different forms. We may feel angry at the person who caused the loss, at ourselves, or the world in general. It’s important to allow ourselves to feel this anger and to find healthy ways to express it.
The third stage of grief can be defined as bargaining. This is when we try to make deals with ourselves or with a higher power in an attempt to change the outcome of the loss. We may try to find ways to justify the loss or to find meaning in it. This stage can be particularly difficult because it often involves a lot of self-blame and guilt.
The fourth stage of grief is sometimes depression. This is a normal response to loss and can take many different forms. We may feel deep sadness, hopelessness, or a feeling of disconnection.
from those around us. It’s important to allow ourselves to feel this sadness and to seek support from friends and family if needed.
The final stage of grief is usually defined as acceptance. This is when we come to terms with the loss and can begin to move forward. While we may never fully forget the person we lost, acceptance allows us to find a new sense of normalcy and to find joy in life again.
It is important to note that while these are the commonly accepted stages of grief, they are by no means definitive. Some people may skip stages, face them in a different order, or feel something entirely different. There is no “right” or wrong way to grieve and you might even move backwards and forwards through stages.
It’s also important to seek support if you need it, as grief can be a difficult and overwhelming process. So, it is always better to seek professional help if you feel that you are not able to cope with the grief on your own.