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Overcoming Grief – A Comprehensive Guide

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Grief is a strong emotion that holds power to change the way you perceive the world. Although it can make you more aware of the vanity of life and help you appreciate it while it lasts, it can also blur your vision to make you see the world in a negative light.

However, it cannot be denied that dealing with grief is the hardest thing that any human being can go through. While it is a natural part of existence, the pain it causes feels anything but ordinary. It is an extremely volatile feeling, which can manifest itself into something much worse if it is not handled with care. Hence, it is essential to deal with grief correctly to avoid its detrimental effects.

The five stages of grief

The five stages of grief by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross gained popularity because of the simple idea. The perspective states that when a person experiences this emotion, they go through the following stages before overcoming it entirely. However, as human beings are extremely complex, their differences refrain them from experiencing all the stages. Following are the five stages explained.

  • Denial

    Denial occurs when you refuse to accept the loss. Denial is a coping mechanism that people employ to manage the overwhelming amount of emotions they feel. It is considered normal for a limited amount of time. However, if denial persists even after six months of the loss, consulting a mental health professional is recommended.

  • Anger

    After denial, comes anger. At this stage of experiencing grief, you become infuriated with the world and everything that it has to offer. You feel as if you are at war with God, the people around you and most of all, yourself. Feeling angry after losing someone you care about is completely okay. You do not have to make excuses for it.

  • Bargaining

    Once the anger has diffused, the next stage is bargaining. Bargaining occurs when you seek to trade the loss with something else. You may seek to find the same affection in someone else, or you may occupy yourself with activities that divert your mind from the thoughts of your loved one.

  • Depression

    The next stage is depression. One of the many symptoms of depression is the loss of interest in all activities that you previously found interesting. Depression and sadness differ from one another as depression is consistent, and therefore prevails for a longer time.

    This stage of grief is the most sensitive. During this time, the person going through depression must be surrounded by their loved ones, or the negative thoughts might take a toll on them.

  • Acceptance

    If the person overcomes depression, they can move onto the next stage of acceptance. Acceptance occurs when you accept the loss as a part of your life and look forward to living with it. This doesn’t mean that the loss would stop hurting, rather you will find a way to live with the pain.

    The preceding stages do not occur in a particular order. They can overlap each other, depending on the intensity of the emotion.

Allow yourself to feel the emotions

If you are experiencing grief, or if a person you care about is going through this dark time, you must let them feel the emotions instead of asking them to suppress it. As evident by the stages, grief requires acceptance.

Facilitating the natural flow of emotions means to avoid repressing any feeling. For instance, if you are missing the person you lost, it is important to accept it instead of denying it. It also helps to talk about the emotions that you are feeling with someone that you trust. These individuals can become the source of comfort, which will help you release your negative emotions.

Another thing that you need to consider is normalising your grief. The quicker you realise that this pain you feel will be a part of life, the more swiftly you will heal from it. When you are experiencing grief, your focus should be directed at getting better. You can take days off from your university, hire a law essay writing service for your projects, and have your friends stay near you to take care of you. You do not have to feel like a burden. Instead, the only thing you should care about is learning how to live with the loss.

However, if you do feel like a burden on your friends and family, you can seek help from a grief support group. The groups comprise of individuals who are experiencing the same thing as you are. Surrounding yourself with these individuals will help you cope with your feelings. In the group, you can share memories, talk about the things you miss the most and create a safe atmosphere for yourself to let out your negative emotions.

Additionally, you can also see a mental health professional, or a grief counsellor if you are not comfortable about sharing your experiences in a group setting. A grief counsellor can help you deal with your feelings more efficiently.

No matter what source of help you seek, the most important part is to take assistance because you need it.

Write down your feelings

Writing a diary may initially seem a little juvenile. However, it is a great way to understand your emotions. Noting down your thoughts is cathartic as it allows you to introspect and learn the things that you have kept inside yourself. In the process, you may even surprise yourself with the things you jot down.

Writing is one of the most convenient ways to let out your most disturbing thoughts. When you write for yourself, you do not have to hold back. Hence, you channel all the negative energy and let it out.

Do not change your life in a major way

When you experience loss, you impulsively want to make major changes in your life. You want to move away to a different place where there are no memories or reminders that can inflict pain. However, to heal, you cannot run away. So, do not make any major changes in your life that are drastic. In contrast, focus on getting things back to normal as much as you can.

Remember that grief may be powerful, but so are you. With time and perseverance, you will overcome it!

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