Grief is a process, not an event, and can last months or years.
After there is a loss of someone – or something such as a pet, job or childhood home – there are several stages of grieving you may go through. You may experience some or all of these and there is no specific order for these stages. The most commonly accepted stages are:
- Denial– In this stage you may believe a loss or medical diagnosis is somehow mistaken or you may hold on to a false or preferable reality.
- Anger– When you recognize that denial cannot continue, you may become frustrated or angry at certain individuals or events. Some typical psychological responses you may have are: “Why me? It’s not fair!” or “How can this happen to me?” or ‘”Who is to blame?” or “Why would this happen?”.
- Bargaining – This stage involves the hope that you can avoid grief or even the impending loss. You may “negotiate” for a longer life or another impossible occurrence in exchange for a promise to reform your lifestyle. You also may bargain or seek compromise.
- Depression– You may think, “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?” or “I’m going to die soon, so what’s the point?” or “I miss my loved one, why go on?”. During this stage, you may also become saddened by the probability of death or another loss. In this state, you may become withdrawn, refuse any visitors or spend much of your time mournful and sullen.
- Acceptance – In this stage, you may think, “It’s going to be okay” or “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it” or “Nothing is impossible, just accept it.” In this last stage, you may embrace your mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or accept some tragic event. If you are dying you may now arrive at a calm, introspective view of life with newly-stable emotions.
In summary, grief is a very personal and varied experience and is different for everyone. Counseling or medication could help.
For help, call Becker Counseling at 732-406-4422.