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Exploring the Emotional Journey: What are the Stages of Grief?

  • Denial: In this stage of grief, it is natural to struggle with the reality that your loved one is gone, or that the loss has occurred ( i.e loss of a job, end of a relationship). It can feel very surreal, almost impossible to accept the enormity of the loss(es).

  • Anger: During this stage you may find yourself experiencing increased irritability and a shorter fuse. It is not uncommon for you to feel angry with the person you lost, because they are not in your life anymore. You may find yourself trying to find someone to blame for your loss. You may seek to enact revenge for those with whom you blame.

  • Bargaining: During this stage you are trying to figure out what can be done to change the ultimate outcome of the loss. You may find yourself saying..."If I could have one more chance to tell them I love them, I would..." Maybe you begin talking to your higher power trying to negotiate your loved ones return.

  • Depression: During this stage you may find yourself experiencing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, prefer to isolate/be alone, increased or decreased sleep patterns, increased or decreased appetite, tearfulness, lack of motivation, easily distracted, physiological symptoms common to that of stress/anxiety/depression.

  • Acceptance: During this stage you may find yourself gaining an understanding that this person is gone, and you begin to "pick up the pieces" so that you can return to life with some semblance of normal.

It's important to recognize that grief doesn't adhere to a tidy timeline or follow a predictable path. It's messy, chaotic, and deeply personal, much like a bowl of tangled spaghetti noodles. And amidst this complexity, having a supportive network can make all the difference.

Whether it's family, friends, or community groups, surrounding yourself with understanding and compassionate individuals can provide solace as you navigate the ups and downs of grief. These connections offer a lifeline, a reminder that you're not alone in your journey, and that healing is possible, even in the midst of profound loss.

Material Written and Summarized by Jamie Sockol, LMHC, Self Care Counseling of South Florida, Inc., referencing Kubler Ross' Grief Cycle.

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