The 7 Stages of Grief
One of the worst kinds of suffering that you can experience in this world is the grief you feel after the death of a loved one. It is an overwhelming feeling, one that brings you physical and mental pain and can radically change your life. Grief comes in 7 stages, and if you try to understand each of them, it will be a little easier for you to cope with your suffering.
1. Shock and Denial
Disbelief is what you normally feel when you first learn about your loss. While it lasts, you will deny the undeniable; you will deny reality to protect yourself from the pain. Shock then follows. It can be terrible, but it protects you from immediately being overwhelmed by grief. Coping with it is a lot easier when there are other people around you who can provide grief support.
2. Pain and Guilt
After the initial shock of the news fades, it is replaced by pain, excruciating pain. You will feel it deep inside you, from where it will spread throughout your whole being. You may feel as if you’ve been physically beaten. Unbearable as it may seem at first, the pain you feel after a loss won’t last forever as it may seem, but if you try to escape it by using drugs or alcohol it will prolong the coping process. Guilt and remorse often accompany or follow pain, especially if you had a fight or argument with the deceased before their death, or if you feel you’ve let them down in some way.
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Pain and guilt give way to anger, which can be directed at life, at God, at others. When your anger gets the better of you, you may say horrible and hurtful things you cannot take back. It is crucial to try to control your anger; else your relations with those you rail against may be severed.
4. Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness
Although intense, the anger you experience will be only short lived. After anger, comes the sad silence and restless quiet that follows any outburst of emotion. You will find yourself plunged into a deep sadness. You realize the magnitude of your loss and this may cause depression. Others will try to comfort you, provide words of encouragement and try to push you along but this stage is important for you to process through in your own time. Although they try to provide grief support, you will most likely push everyone away and seek isolation.
5. The Upward Turn
Time is the great soother of aching hearts and troubled minds. You slowly adjust to your new life, and as you do so your depression lessens as well as the physical toll this has taken on you. Life becomes more orderly and starts to have meaning again.
As the despair and loneliness fade, your mind regains its clarity. The problems of everyday life take more and more of your time and energy. You begin searching for solutions to surviving without your loved one.
7. Acceptance and Hope
After all the trials and tribulations that grief has caused you, you come to terms with your loss and accept it. You move on. You will never be the same again, you may not even be truly happy again yet. But you carry on, that is what matters. Your loss has made you stronger. You are ready to move forward with life.
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