The 5 Stages of Grief

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
The 5 Stages of Grief
Mon, 02-26-2007 - 11:58pm

Many life experiences qualify as grief-inducing. Death, divorce, or any other loss of what you had or what you believed. Everyone's experience with the individual stages of grief is a bit different, but each grieving individual goes through the same five stages, so please take the explanations of the stages with a grain of salt, individual experiences may not be *exactly* what is suggested here. The five stages of grief can be defined this way:


    In the denial stage we refuse to believe what has happened. We try in our mind to tell ourselves that life is as it was before our loss. We can even make believe to an extent by re enacting rituals that we used to go through with our loved one. Making an extra cup of tea for our loved one who is no longer there, rushing back to tell someone that you have met an old friend. Flashing back to times and conversations in the past as though they are here with us now. Introducing someone accidentally by your loved ones name to someone else. They can all be part of this stage.


    We get angry. The anger can manifest itself in many ways. We can blame others for our loss. We can become easily agitated having emotional outbursts. We can even become angry with ourselves. Care must be taken here not to turn this anger inwards. Release of this anger is a far better way to cope with grief in my experience.


    Bargaining can be with ourselves or if you are religious with your god. Often we will offer something to try to take away the reality of what has happened. We may try to make a deal, to have our loved one back as they were before the tragic event occurred. It is only human to want thing as they were before.


    Depression is a very likely outcome for all people that grieve for a loss. This is what I would consider the most difficult stage of the five to deal with. There can be a the feeling listlessness and tiredness. You may be bursting helplessly into tears. Feeling like there is no purpose to life any more. Feeling guilty, like everything is your own fault. You may find you feel like you are being punished. Pleasure and joy can be difficult to achieve even from things and activities which you have always gained delight. There can even be thoughts of suicide. There are many different ways in which this stage of grief can manifest itself. If you at any time in this stage feel like doing yourself any harm please do seek professional counseling. Self preservation is a must.


    The final stage of grief. It is when you realize that life has to go on. You may still have thoughts of your loved one, but less intense and less frequent. You can here accept your loss. You should now be able to regain your energy and goals for the future. It may take some time to get here but you will.

  • Taking care of your physical needs during times of emotional crisis and grief is important. Do your best to see that you get plenty of sleep, eat right and staying away from alcohol are good things. Alcohol may "ease" the pain by masking it, but it's not a solution and in the end, it's harmful, not helpful. Taking care of your physical needs will keep you in the best condition to help you get through the emotional shock you're feeling. You may not feel like taking care of yourself, eating, sleeping, etc. may not seem important at all -- YOU may not seem important, but taking care of yourself will put you in a position to be able to help someone else, and will help you process your grief and pain better and faster. TALK TO SOMEONE. A friend, an understanding co-worker, family member or your partner. There's no such thing as having talked about it "too much". Talk as long as as often as you need until you feel you no longer need to talk about it. If you wear out your listeners, seek a group who focuses on your issue if possible. Don't hesitate to see a therapist for just a few sessions to work through some of your experience, your feelings, confusion and emotions; it's often a huge help in putting this in perspective and getting through these initial shock and grief you're feeling.

  • "Ignoring the facts
    does not change the facts"
    iVillage Member
    Registered: 11-29-2006
    Tue, 05-04-2010 - 2:29pm