When you lose someone dear, life changes forever. Often, people must work through stages of grief in order to heal.
Your alarm awakens you after a poor night’s sleep. Your first instinct is to bury yourself beneath the covers and not come out. But you drag yourself out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and begin to move through your day.
Such are the feelings of intense grief. You take life one moment at a time, then one hour at a time, until – mercifully – you’ve made it through another day.
Stages of dying
In her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described 5 stages often experienced by people who are dying. The stages included periods of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These steps have become widely accepted as those experienced not only by the dying, but by those who are grieving as well.
It’s important to note, though, that each person grieves differently. Some don’t go through the stages at all, while others experience some, but not others. Some people move back and forth between stages, get stuck in one stage for a while, or pass through some stages quickly while lingering in others. In general, though, when coping with grief, people often have to get past the following roadblocks:
Denial: “I can’t believe he/she is really gone forever.”
Anger: “Why did this have to happen? How can life be so unfair?”
Bargaining: “I’d give up everything I have just to have him/her back.”
Depression: “I don’t care what happens anymore. Without him/her, my life is meaningless.”
Acceptance: “There’s nothing I can do to change things. I must try to go on and put my life back together.”
When does grieving end?
Grief is different for everyone. Life experience and the strength of the bond with your loved one can influence how long and how intensely you grieve. Your own resilience – or lack of it – can also be a factor in healing. Some people feel ready to move on within a year, while others continue to grieve for much longer. Each loss is deeply personal. There is no right or wrong timeframe for healing.
A Yale University bereavement study showed that when a loved one died of natural causes, acceptance grew steadily over time. The most prevalent negative emotion was yearning for the lost loved one and the overwhelming desire to have that person back. Yearning was followed in intensity by depression.
Grief versus depression
Grief following a loss is different from clinical depression, but it is sometimes hard to tell them apart. If your grief is constant and there are not even a few moments of happiness, you are likely experiencing depression.
If you have suicidal thoughts, contact your doctor or mental health professional right away or call 9-1-1 if you think you might hurt yourself. Also talk to your doctor if any of these symptoms linger:
Feelings of intense guilt for not being able to save your loved one
Feeling you don’t want to live anymore, or wishing you had died, too
Preoccupation with death
Feelings of worthlessness
Slowed body movement
Inability to function at home, work, or school
Loss of pleasure in things you once enjoyed
Getting through the grief
Grieving is hard work. Although it may sound cliché, it’s important to eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Many people feel unable to eat or sleep after a profound loss, but food and rest are essential to your health. Engaging in exercise is not just good for your body; it will also help you relieve some of the stress that is weighing you down. Some other tips:
If you are a spiritual person, turn to your faith for comfort.
Keep a daily diary and express your thoughts and feelings in writing.
Let down your guard. It’s OK to cry or let out your feelings. No one expects you to always be strong.
Let yourself feel the pain. Trying to avoid grief won’t work. Eventually, you will need to deal with those feelings, and prolonging the grief will only keep you from moving on.
Let yourself be happy. Don’t feel guilty if you find yourself smiling, laughing, or having fun. Instead, appreciate the pleasurable moments.
Support is available
You may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Seek counseling if you feel you can’t bear the burden alone. Also consider joining a grief support group, which can be a lifesaver when you feel no one truly understands what you’re going through.
Being surrounded by people who are experiencing buy sildenafil onlinethe same feelings as you – and meeting others who have managed to work their way through their grief – can help make the road to recovery a little less lonely.