In recent times mourning, especially in North America and Europe, has become more private, less emotional , and less religious. According to the latest research, as mourning diminishes, grief becomes an unwelcomed intrusion into the normal efficient everyday life. This trend concerns many mental health professionals who believe that expression of emotions helps growth and that grief is an essential part of bereavement.
Losing a loved one is an extremely painful and painful experience and there are few feelings worse in the world than knowing that you will never see someone who meant so much to you again. We will often find ourselves wracked with complicated and difficult emotions such as stress and guilt, and even asking big questions about the nature of life.
These are all absolutely normal ways to respond, and there is no 'right or wrong way' to deal with such deep emotional trauma. These feelings of despair despite being painful are healthy. As painful as loss is, it is also something necessary you must face if you want to truly love another.
There are some common emotions and feelings that are more common than others and some stages of grief that most of us will go through in response to loss. Understanding of these stages can help us to put our feelings into context and to realize that we are not alone in feeling the way that we do. Let's take a look at some of the best known " Five stages of grief"
The Five Stages of Grief:
These five stages are not linear and it is possible that different people go through the stages in any order. Some people regress or experience the stages multiple times. Others may even skip some stages entirely.
The first stage is to deny the situation and to convince yourself it is not real or that it can be reversed. We all tend to go through life thinking "That won't happen to me.
So when you discover that it actually has happened to you there are often feelings of shock and total disbelief.
This is quite natural. According to Freud this is a defense mechanism that starts unfolding in order to protect the fragile Ego from the harsh reality. In order to avoid going into completely shut down we tell ourselves there is still hope and still a chance even long after those possibilities have gone.
For most people this phase passes fairly quickly but for some it is more serious. It is very important for the individual to move out of this stage so that they can come to terms with the reality, and also so that they can provide support and comfort to others.
Once the reality of the situation as set in, the individual will often feel intense anger. This can range from frustration to full blown rage.
This is again, according to Freud is a defense mechanism as the emotion of anger is more usable than the emotion of depression.
Therefore some individuals direct their emotional energy toward lashing out at the world rather than dealing with the full depression that will come eventually once we are exhausted.
Anger can be expressed in a number of ways such as: take out our frustrations on family, friends and even the deceased or dying as we feel angry at them for "leaving us" or for not "fighting enough". Anger or rage can then lead to more difficult feelings such as guilt as we judge ourselves for being harsh to those who need us.
And for those who around the grieving individuals it is important not to take offense and to be aware that their anger is misplaced.
At this stage people usually try to win back control of the situation, while also trying to play any card they have left.
This could involve praying and pleading with God, or looking in a cyber space for some "miracle cures".
Some people even consider looking into other religions or faiths.
However, in most cases this is just another form of denial.
As people search for a way to save their loved one, or come up with some evasive plan to see them again, they are feel that they are grasping back some of their control and that the situation is not entirely helpless.
This is probably the most common and the most difficult phase to cope with.
Depression usually follows once we finally have given up in our efforts to get our loved one back and come to terms with the reality. Most people in grief would realize that the situation is inescapable at this point. Although at the same time most people find themselves not ready to face harsh reality of the loss. This will result in sadness or feeling of emptiness as we miss our loved one, as we think about the good times we had, and as we think about what they went through and where they are now.
Going through this stage could be incredibly painful and hard, but it is also necessary and healthy to get through it . Hopefully sooner or later you will come to a point where you can think back to the times you had with your loved one and smile and feel happy to have known them, rather than to feel sad at the thought.
This is considered the final stage, after we have worked our way through all the others. We may well have gone through the others a number of times, and not necessarily in the order given, before reaching the stage of acceptance.
When this happens you will achieve acceptance.
Of course you still miss the person, but you have found a way to go on and to deal with them being gone from your life. You can find ways to keep them alive in your mind and through your actions, and you accept the fact that at least for now you are on your own and have to distribute that love elsewhere among the friends and family who are still alive and who still need you.
Finally, many people will not consciously exhibit any of these stages, or at least won't seem to others. These are the individuals who remain largely stoic and maybe even jovial in the face of great loss. To others this may seem heartless, but it is important to recognize that they are hurting too.
Such a response is again a defense mechanism, and here the individual is simply refusing to face the reality or entertain thoughts of what has transpired in order to avoid the strong emotions that will follow.
They may do this unconsciously, or even purposefully so that they can be a 'rock' for other people. However , this is a highly unhealthy way to deal with loss and by repressing the feelings they are likely to emerge later in other ways.
At the same time it is a real tragedy to be too upset by the thought of someone to avoid thinking of them. While the stages of grief are incredibly painful, they are also completely necessary and healthy, and once we have been through them and accepted the reality in our minds, they allow us to think of our loved one and smile thereby keeping their memory alive.
If you lost your loved one and continue to struggle with painful feelings of grief and loss, please contact us