The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences that a person can go through. It is an emotional roller coaster that can be very confusing and overwhelming. There are five stages of grief and loss that are often experienced after a death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In this blog post, we will discuss each stage in detail and provide helpful advice on how to cope with the loss of a loved one.
Denial, the first step of this theory, permits us to cope with the enormous agony of loss. We are attempting to cope with emotional grief while processing the reality of our loss. It’s difficult to realize we’ve lost someone significant in our lives, especially if we just spoke with them the week before or even the day before.
In this moment of loss, our reality has entirely changed. It may take a while for our minds to acclimate to this new reality. We reminisce about the times we spent with the person we’ve lost, and we could be wondering how to move on with our lives without them.
There’s a lot to take in here, so take your time. Rather than risking feeling overwhelmed by our feelings, denial aims to slow down the process and guide us through it one step at a time.
Denial is more than just denying that the loss has occurred. We’re also attempting to absorb and understand what’s really on.
Anger is a common reaction to the death of a loved one. We’re attempting to adjust to a new reality, and we’re probably in a lot of pain emotionally. Because there is so much to comprehend, rage may appear to provide an emotional outlet.
Keep in mind that being angry does not necessitate being extremely vulnerable. It is, nevertheless, more socially acceptable than admitting we are afraid. Anger permits us to express our feelings without fear of being judged or rejected.
Unfortunately, when we begin to release emotions associated with loss, rage is often the first emotion we experience. This might make you feel alienated in your experience and unapproachable by others at a time when we need comfort, connection, and reassurance the most.
When you’re dealing with a loss, it’s common to feel so desperate that you’ll do virtually anything to relieve or reduce the agony. When we lose a loved one, we may contemplate any way we may prevent the sorrow we are experiencing or the pain we expect to experience as a result of the loss. We can try to bargain in a variety of ways.
When we begin bargaining, we are frequently addressing our requests to a higher power, or to someone larger than ourselves, who may be able to influence a different conclusion. When we understand there is nothing we can do to affect change or a better final result, we become acutely conscious of our humanity.
This sensation of helplessness might lead to us negotiating in protest, giving us a false sense of control over something that feels so out of control. We prefer to focus on our personal flaws or regrets when bargaining. We could reflect on our relationships with the person we’re losing and see how many times we felt estranged from them or caused them sorrow.
It’s common to think back on instances when we may have spoken something we didn’t intend and wish we could change our ways. We also have a tendency to make the sweeping assumption that if things had gone differently, we would not be in such a difficult emotional place.
During the process of grieving, there comes a point when our imaginations quiet down and we begin to see the truth of our current circumstance. We are faced with what is happening since bargaining is no longer an option.
We begin to feel more intensely the loss of a loved one. As our terror dissipates, the emotional fog lifts, and the loss becomes more tangible and unavoidable.
As the sadness grows, we tend to withdraw into ourselves. We may feel ourselves withdrawing, becoming less sociable, and reaching out to others less about our problems. Dealing with depression following the loss of a loved one may be immensely isolating, despite the fact that it is a typical stage of grieving.
It is not that we no longer feel the anguish of loss when we reach a point of acceptance. But we are no longer opposing the truth of our circumstance, and we are no longer attempting to change it.
In this phase, sadness and regret are still possible, but the emotional survival methods of denial, bargaining, and fury are less prevalent.
You may find yourself stuck at this stage for a long period of time in the future.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be sad or angry about your loss in the future; it just means your long-term perspective and how you deal with it will be different.
How to cope with the loss of a loved one
- Be aware of your emotions. If you’re having a bad day, don’t stop yourself from crying. Accept your feelings rather than believing you “should” feel differently. Others may anticipate you “moving on” before you’re ready. However, take as much time as you require. Recognize that you can (and will) heal. Healing does not imply forgetting about the person who died. It doesn’t mean you don’t miss them.
- Talk to someone. Some people want to share their grief stories or express their emotions. People, on the other hand, don’t always want to talk. That’s fine as well. Nobody should feel compelled to speak.
- Keep your memories. Keeping the memories of a loved one is important as it helps to keep them close to our hearts. When we lose someone, it feels like a part of us dies as well. By keeping their memories alive, we can feel like they are still with us in some way. This can be done in many ways, such as by talking about them, looking at pictures, or listening to music that reminds us of them.
- Get the support you need. After a loved one passes away, it takes time to adjust. It also helps to have a lot of support. Support might come from family, friends, or adult mentors in your life. Counselors, therapists, and support groups can also be beneficial. If you need additional help, ask a parent, a school counselor, or a religious leader to assist you in locating resources that may be appropriate for you. You can also lend a hand to others.