When most people think of the word “Grief”, they associate it with having a loved one pass away. However, what we don’t realize is that there are many other times in our life where we can become grief-stricken or experience anticipatory grief without even realizing it.. which makes it very difficult to heal from.
For instance, Have you recently experienced a major loss (pet, family members, limb) or life change (deployment, foreclosure, job transfer) and now you don’t know what to do with yourself? Perhaps your relationship of many years just ended and now, you’re struggling to find yourself again. Or, maybe you lost your job that completely consumed your life & you’re unsure of where to begin again? All of this can be defined as grief as well.
Grief often described as the ‘price of loving or being vulnerable’. Healing from Grief is a very difficult and unique process, that everyone experiences differently. The process often starts with identifying that you are in ‘grief’ because of how lost we FEEL without this job, relationship, pet, house, etc.
Grief researcher, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, describes the 5 Stages of grief:
1. Denial- “This isn’t happening, this can’t be happening”. It is a normal reaction to rationalize our overwhelming emotions. Denial is usually our shock response to a situation that we couldn’t/didn’t see coming. This denial often carries us through the first stages of pain.
2. Anger- Once Denial wears off, deep angry feelings regarding the loss can begin to push through. We often feel vulnerable and want to stuff it and thus, our brain redirects our feelings into anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family.
3. Bargaining- “If only I had…”. We attempt to bargain in order to change the inevitable. This is a weaker line of defense to protect us from the painful reality. Guilt follows shortly after Bargaining as we begin to blame ourselves for the loss.
4. Depression- The deep sadness &/or numbness that follows a loss that often makes functioning very difficult. This also causes a significant amount of isolation.
5. Acceptance- We learn how to cope with our loss & learn how to live in a different way by integrating the pain.
These steps are not a ‘ladder’ and most individuals go & back and forth through them as they try to find their way again. During this time, it very important to have a strong support system in your corner to teach you the skills of how to heal from grief, one day at a time.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the grief of any kind & would like some support, please call us today at 201-488-6678 or visit Specialized Therapy. We look forward to hearing from you!