Tips for Thought

The 5 Stages of Grief

While grieving isn’t the same for all of us, one thing is certain: we all have to experience grief in our lives, sooner or later. Unfortunately, with death being a taboo topic, people don’t talk about it much or at all, which leaves us unprepared to deal with the inevitable when it comes.

One of the primary things you must know about grief is that it is comprised of 5 stages. The stages do not have a specific length or period to pass – that can differ to everyone – but they always follow the same basic order:

First stage: denial and isolation.
It is the first feeling when faced with the news of a terminal illness for a patient or death for a bereaved person, regardless of how he became aware of it. It is a defense mechanism for the patient or the suffering to get used to the situation.

Partial acceptance is the phase after denial when denial is not used for a long time. It is a temporary state from which the individual gradually recovers as he gets used to reality until he begins to react.

Second stage: anger.
Anger is expressed by emotions projected onto the external environment and by the feeling of nonconformity. It arises when denying the fact is no longer possible, and it brings feelings of revolt, envy, and resentment. The patient or the bereaved ask themselves, “why me and not someone else?”. For family and friends, it is a difficult time to deal with, as their attitudes have no plausible justification. Anger only becomes pathological when it becomes chronic.

Third stage: bargaining.
The patient begins to hope for a divine cure or an extension of life in exchange for merits he believes he has or actions he promises to undertake.

Fourth stage: depression.
It is the stage of feelings of debilitation and sadness accompanied by loneliness and longing. The mechanism works for the patient and those involved to prepare for their losses, so it requires a lot of conversation and active interventions by friends or family to avoid silent depression. We must deal with this stage because only those who manage to overcome anguish and anxieties can reach the next step: acceptance.

Fifth stage: acceptance.
After expressing feelings and anxieties, envy for the living and healthy, anger for those who are not forced to face death, and regret the imminent loss of people and dear places, the tendency is for the terminal patient to accept their condition and contemplate their end with more tranquility and less expectation.

The mourners who have already managed to overcome the 5 stages of grief then arrive at the moment when their longing becomes more peaceful; They feel more at peace and begin to be able to adjust themselves to life.

With this in mind, you can see that grieving is not an eternal feeling – it is a process, and it will come to pass. Nobody should be forced to go through the stages just because somebody else wants them to, though. Leave the mourner to deal with it all in their time, but you can offer your presence and friendship in their lives as a support.

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Copyright 2022 | All Rights Reserved.

Tips for Thoughts

Copyright 2022 | All Rights Reserved.