Wellness Wednesday: The Process of Grieving

Grief

Grief (Photo credit: tombellart)

We all grieve and transition through difficult stages in life in different ways.   The most important thing is to acknowledge the pain that we are experiencing and release it in a healthy way.  Last Thursday, I lost a good friend of mine unexpectedly.  I could barely get through the phone call when I got the news to rush to the hospital.  As I was getting dressed, I thought to myself, “When I get there, everything will be fine”.  I wish that had been the news that greeted me.  But she was gone and all I could do was stand next to the bed and say my final goodbyes.

I have never been one to handle death well.  It hurts and it never gives an explanation.  I have been going through so much these past few months and now this.  I knew I had to process it but staying in bed for three days was not going to bring her back.  The longer I stayed in bed the harder it was to get up.  I am trying to shake it off the best that I can but I am going to allow myself time to grieve.

5 Stages of Grieving:

Denial is the first stage of the grieving process.  We don’t want to accept what we have loss. Denial makes it easier to cope.  It doesn’t change the situation but it gives us time to process it.  Anger allows us to feel the pain of the loss.  “Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.” Bargaining is the third stage of grieving.  We make promises and vow to do something if our reality can only change.  If we can only bring what/who has been loss back or make the pain go away.  Depression for many is considered taboo.  But it is a natural progression of grief.  We may withdraw from others and it seems like life will never be as it once was.  Does it mean that we are suffering from mental illness?  No, it means that we are on the path to healing and depression is part of the process to get there.  Prolonged bouts of depression should be followed up with a doctor.  Acceptance is the final stage of grieving.  We are able to accept our reality, embracing the changes that will come with the absence of our loved one.  We start new routines, make new friendship and we understand that we can’t replace what was lost but we can move forward and make new memories.  Though these are the stages of grieving the loss of someone through death, some of these same stages are experienced when we deal with the loss of a relationship, opportunity, etc.  The important thing is that we allow ourselves the time and space to go through the process and heal from it.

I have seen the effects of not going through the grieving process.  It can hit you like a ton of bricks years after experiencing the loss.  One’s mental health and physical health can suffer.  Cry and get upset if you have to but what is not okay is ignoring those emotions and allowing them to fester and turn into something more than what they started off being.  If you have suffered a loss or trauma and are having a difficult time reach out to someone, sometimes the best medicine is conversation.

 

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