After a loved one dies, it can be difficult to move on from the loss. You can’t imagine life without them and every day is filled with a sense of grief. Unfortunately, grief is not the easiest thing to talk about.
If you have recently lost someone, it is important to process and understand your emotions. Ignoring it can delay moving on with your life. While there is no cookie-cutter way of grieving, there are some steps and adjustments that will help ease your pain.
Read on to find out how we all experience grief so you’ll understand your own experience.
The first thing you will feel is shock, which can be immediately followed by denial. Shock is the initial stage, especially if the loss was unexpected or sudden. This can present as numbness in your limbs, as well as dizziness and nausea.
Once the shock subsides, denial settles in. This is a coping mechanism in order to avoid the pain of reality.
Contrary to what you may think, denial doesn’t just mean that you deny the event happened. It can refer to the denial of emotions and feelings. Whereas some deny that someone has actually died. Denial presents itself in many ways, and what you are feeling is completely valid.
You will feel guilt if there are things you left unsaid or if there are things that you wish you did. The desire to go back and spend more time with the departed is the root of this emotion.
Once left unchecked, guilt can lead you to think that you were partly at fault. Your mind won’t always be logical, especially in highly emotional times like this. Letting guilt go will help you through this stage of grief.
We also recommend talking to friends and family to help process your thoughts. They will be able to give you some perspective, as well as comfort.
- Anger and Bargaining
This is the stage in which many lash out. You may put the blame on others, or get into a fight. As anger and frustration grow, it is very common for one to be angry at themselves as well as others.
Bargaining is also attached to this stage. This is when you reflect on the past, and bargain for the loss. This is when you make promises, in exchange for the person or thing that you lost.
We recommend keeping your anger controlled. This is because you may permanently damage relationships because of momentary anger.
- Depression and Loneliness
The fifth stage is when things settle down, and you start to accept the loss. However, you are still not able to cope with it.
The loss will start to feel more real and will result in depression accompanied by loneliness. You may feel like staying in bed and not having any human interaction. While we do recommend taking some time alone to reflect, be sure to reach out to others to combat loneliness.
Later on, you will find yourself reflecting on the past. While it may hurt, this is a good start to acceptance.
Time heals all wounds, and you’ll find that your mind will start to work like it used to. Of course, the pain and grief will still be there, but you can now view the loss through a different lens.
The sixth stage is when you pick yourself up and move forward. All while carrying the grief and loss with you.
Once you cycle through the first six stages, the final stage is acceptance. This doesn’t mean that you will forget the loss, but rather that you will start to feel okay with it.
The seven stages of grief are not linear. You may find yourself jumping back and forth different stages before getting to the last one. You may even be at the acceptance stage but get back to disbelief again.
What’s important is that you get in touch with your emotions. Accept it, and realize that grief has no deadline. You are on your own path to healing.