Losing a loved one is shocking and can be a very painful experience. Many people feel like they are “losing their mind” or “going crazy” because of the intensity and increase in emotions they are feeing. To properly process your own grief, you need to understand the stages of grief. This will help you to realize that you are not crazy or losing your mind but going through a process that everyone experiences when they have a loss.
Denial: You may not believe the person or pet is gone and tell others it is not true when you hear the news. This is normal and understandable as it is hard to imagine your life without them. Denial can be a defense mechanism which allows you to block the intense feelings of grief until you are ready to begin experiencing them.
Anger: You may be angry your spouse left you and now you are alone. You may be angry at God for taking your loved one away. Other times you may blame the health care professionals for not saving your loved one or finding a way to keep them alive. You may say to yourself “why did this happen to me?”
Bargaining: You may question yourself, if only I left a few minutes later maybe the accident wouldn’t have happened. If only I went to some other Doctors, maybe my loved one would still be here. Or you may say something to God like “I will go to church every week if you can bring him back.” The bargaining helps us find a sense of control when so much is out of our control. If you are facing a terminal illness you may make a secret deal with God to extend your life and you agree to stop drinking.
Depression: This can reveal itself with periods of deep sadness and continuing episodes of crying. You may be thinking that you wished you spent more time with the person or had treated them better. Feelings of loneliness, despair and emptiness are common in this stage. Many people withdraw from others and are more reflective about life and the certainty of death. You may have low energy, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite and sleep difficulties.
Acceptance: This is understanding that they are gone and you are feeling some sense of peace with this. You realize that you will be ok and can make it through without the person you lost.
Everyone grieves in different ways and it is important to be aware of this and not “judge’ others who may not cry openly. Grief is a process because we can fade in and out of the different feelings until we get to acceptance. Just know you are not alone and help is available if you are experiencing overwhelming grief and are unsure how to handle it. Call 919-618-6526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment today!