At some point, everyone experiences the death of a loved one and the difficult emotions that come with it. For years, mental health experts have studied grief and its various phases, from initial shock to acceptance. If you have suffered a recent loss, you may find comfort in the following article, which briefly outlines five stages of grief.
Denial is the first of the stages of grief. It is extremely difficult to fully grasp the reality of a loved one’s death initially, so the natural response is to block it out. This mental defense mechanism is helpful in dealing with the initial, intense wave of sadness and shock.
After the reality of the situation makes denial ineffective, pain resurfaces. At this stage in the grieving process, many people are not ready to face extreme pain, so this emotion is usually channeled into anger. Anyone can be a target of this anger, including oneself. In fact, many people feel guilty for being angry over the death of a loved one, which usually intensifies the anger.
During this stage of grief, the grieving person feels intensely regretful. Vulnerability and helplessness are hallmarks of this stage, accompanied by remorseful thinking about the past and what could have and should have happened.
Sadness and regret are intense in this stage of grief. People in this stage worry about things like the pending burial of a loved one, and the loved ones that have been neglected during the grieving process. Loneliness is painful in this stage, but being with others can be just as hard.
Not everyone reaches this stage of grief, so it is widely considered to be a gift. While it does not mean the arrival of happiness, the acceptance stage usually means that the grieving person feels a new sense of calm and peace.
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