Grief is universal, and we have all felt its effects in some way or another. Overwhelming sadness, anger, and regret are just a few emotions we may have when experiencing a loss. Grief affects our physical bodies, our emotions and inner spiritual life in profound ways. The loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the onset of a sudden illness, a miscarriage and the loss of safety after a trauma are just a few examples of situations that may bring on the pain of grief.
Grief is a natural response to loss. It can take on a life of its own, and it’s important to find healthy ways to work through the different stages of grief so we aren’t locked into unhealthy emotional patterns.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, because it’s an individual experience. What we do know is that the grieving process takes time, and healing is gradual. Ignoring your pain won’t make it go away faster. Being “strong” won’t lessen the emotional impact on your health. In fact, it may make your health worse if you can’t acknowledge the pain you are feeling.
There are typically 5 stages to the grief process according to psychiatrists:
- Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
- Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
- Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will _____”
- Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
- Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
However, not everyone goes through every stage, and that’s OK. You don’t have to go through every stage to heal. These are responses many people have, but our grieving is as individual as our lives. It’s important to take care of yourself as you grieve. Facing what you are feeling, expressing those feelings, maintaining your hobbies and interests and looking after your physical health are key components to healing from grief. It’s also important to distinguish between grief and depression. Please contact your family doctor for more information on the differences between them and seek the right treatment plan for your overall well-being.
If you are experiencing grief for any reason, be kind to yourself and seek out a trusted friend who you can lean on for support, a local grief group to share your sorrow, or a counselor to help you sort through the big emotions you may be feeling. At Life’s Choices, we want to support you in any way we can. Contact us if you need someone to listen, and we’ll provide you with resources to help you on your journey.