Grief is an emotion that leads to a lot of sadness and anguish. Occurring often in the aftermath of loss or heartbreak, dealing with grief is a challenging task.
Often, grief occurs in stages, and knowing these can not only allow you to deal better with it but help others through the process as well.
What are the different stages of grief?
As per the theory of grief, there are 5 stages of grief that most people tend to go through. It is important to note that these are not set in stone.
Stage 1: Denial
Denial is generally the first stage of grief. People cannot accept the loss and so they go into denial. Since processing reality is difficult, due to the sheer amount of pain and sadness that it causes, people step into denial.
It may also not be voluntary; one cannot simply believe the reality. The space of denial allows for the gradual realization of the extent of the loss.
Stage 2: Anger
Once you have processed the reality, then comes the anger. You feel angry at fate for the turn of events. You also turn to anger when it is not always possible to appear vulnerable.
Moreover, anger also allows the geyser of emotions to be let out. Some people feel angry at themselves for not doing things before, and now they cannot. For example, some feel angry for not spending time with their loved ones, and others for not fulfilling any request of theirs.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Bargaining is what you do in desperation. You try to make a deal with fate or God. You try to set your conduct right, leave the vices, and do anything to bring back your loved ones.
Bargaining is also done in attempt to feel better, as grief is a painful emotion. This state is also often accompanied by anxiety, shame, and fear. There are also many regrets at this stage.
Stage 4: Depression
Another stage of grieving is depression. Naturally, loss and grief cause sadness and anguish, which are hallmarks of depression. Other symptoms of depression include feeling blue, crying, being hopeless, weeping, and experiencing negative emotions.
Depression also becomes more profound as you realize the reality and understand the loss. It also causes fatigue, dietary changes, and issues with sleep. Depression can make people reclusive as well.
Stage 5: Acceptance
In this stage, people come to terms with their grief. Rather than feeling grief and pain from the loss, they then learn to live with it. Acceptance does not mean that things go back to the way before, but it means that the memories do not cause as much pain as they did before.
Dealing with grief
These stages of grief are not linear. So, do not expect to get automatically get into the acceptance phase after you feel depressed. Through any phase, things might get overwhelming. In such cases, it is helpful to consult a grief counselor, who can help you through the process of grieving.