A Comprehensive Overview Of What Happens When A Person Grieves

by Vaughn Balchunas

in Death and Dying, Healing

Grief is defined as deep sorrow that is caused by loss or the death of a loved one. This is an emotion that we all feel from time to time. Even though everyone has different methods of coping with grief, most psychologists agree that there are five stages that a person goes through when he or she grieves.
The idea of the five stages of grief was first discussed in a book called On Death and Dying. The book was written in 1969 by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross. Below are the five stages of grief:
Denial
When a person hears bad news, his or her first reaction may be to deny that the situation has really happened. People may also try to isolate themselves from others because they do not want to hear anything else about the situation. According to Elsabeth Kubler Ross, denial is a defense mechanism that people use to shield themselves from the pain.
Anger
Most people are unable to mask their emotions for very long. Once a person has begun to face reality, he or she may become angry. A person may express this anger towards his or her family members, strangers and inanimate objects. He or she may also be angry at the person who has died. In many cases, people do things that they regret when they are angry. This in turn causes them to become angrier.
Bargaining
After a person has gotten over the anger, he or she may begin to experience feelings of vulnerability and helplessness. He or she may also begin to bargain with another person or higher power. For example, a person who is getting ready to end a romantic relationship may ask, “Can we still be friends”? A person who has a dying loved one may say to God, “I will never curse again if you let him live.”
Additionally, people often have thoughts about what they could have done differently to prevent the situation. For example, parent who is grieving the loss of a child who died in a car accident may begin to feel guilty because he or she allowed the child to drive that night.
Depression
When a person finally comes to terms with the situation, he or she may become depressed. This depression can last for several months. Some people stay depressed for years. The signs of depression may include things such as fatigue, loss of appetite and changes in sleeping habits. People often think about how life was when the other person was around, and that causes them to become even more depressed.
Acceptance
This is a stage that many people have trouble reaching. When a person finally begins to accept the situation and move on, he or she feels a sense of calmness. He or she is not happy about the situation, but he or she is no longer angry or depressed. Unfortunately, some people never reach this stage.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: Deposit Photo

Yolanda Brent is a lawyer who frequently refers her clients to Allen Fraser Counselling Services because she has heard positive feedback about Allen’s listening skills and ability to be compassionate to each of his patients’ situation.

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