Most people have heard about the seven stages of grief, but experiencing them is entirely different from knowing they exist. If you or a loved are experiencing grief after a loss, then better understanding each of the seven stages can help you or them through this time. Here are some important facts about the seven stages of grief.
Shock and Disbelief
The first stage of grief is the challenge of wrapping your mind around the loss. This process wreaks havoc on any individual through severe emotional and physical reactions. Nausea, dizziness, and feelings of emptiness or numbness are common.
People may also behave strangely during this stage, as no two individuals handle shock in the same way. Hysterical laughter is a common example of strange behavior caused by shock, but people can react in wide variety of ways until the reality of the loss sets in.
Denial is often considered the second stage, but this part is caused by the shock itself. The inability to fully grasp the reality of the situation, combined with the pain of loss, can cause someone to deny that the loss really happened. This is your brain’s way of protecting your emotions and is a very temporary stage.
Once acceptance takes place, severe emotional and mental pain follow. Deep feelings of guilt and sadness are common during this stage. While many will attempt to avoid their pain with unhealthy coping mechanisms, it’s vital that the pain is faced so it can be overcome.
While facing their pain or bottling up their emotions, people often become angry at the loss. This can cause them to lash out at others around them. This is a difficult stage for any grieving group to handle, but you must remember that the anger comes from the loss and not one another.
The bargaining stage takes on many forms, but it revolves around wishing there was more time to spend with the person who passed away. Regrets and blaming yourself are common, as is thinking there could have been any way to prevent the loss.
Grief undoubtedly leads to depression. This stage is present throughout those before it, but becomes overwhelming after the bargaining stage. Hopelessness, bitterness, and frustration combine, often causing people to isolate themselves. At this point, the depressed individual must rely on support from their loved ones.
Acceptance and Hope
Reaching the seventh stage may take months or even years. This is when people fully accept the reality of the loss, understand it was out of their control, and begin to look toward the future once more. The pain of the loss is eased and depression fades away.
Reaching this stage can also require justice in the courts, either through the conviction of a guilty party or financially in a civil suit. Relying on legal professionals like these Orange County car accident lawyers after a wreck, for instance, can help aid in the grieving process and bring a sense of finality to the situation.
Working Through the Stages
Losing a loved one and going through these seven stages is almost unbearable. However, it’s vital that you rely on your family and friends for support so that you can reach stage seven. It’s also essential that you give yourself as much time as you need to work through this. While it may not seem like it, you will overcome your grief and continue to lead a happy life.