Know the Stages of Grief | CK Birla Hospital
Emotions are a state of mind brought on by neurophysiological changes, which are associated with a degree of displeasure or pleasure, behavioural responses, feelings and thoughts. They are complex and have multiple different components, like instrumental behaviour, psychophysiological changes, expressive behaviour, cognitive processes and subjective experience.
The emotion of grief is universal. Passing through five or seven stages is often described as grief by people. The five stages are acceptance, depression, bargaining, anger and denial. These are elaborated in the seven stages and complexities of grief are addressed more effectively. Grief includes feelings of guilt.
Everyone will have at least 1 encounter with grief at some point in their lives. It can be due to the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one or any other change that alters your life. You may feel empty, withdraw, become angry or cry. None of these things are wrong or unusual. A mental health professional can help you cope with the changes and the feelings and find a sense of assurance in these heavy emotions.
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What is Grief?
The response to a loss, especially the death of a living being to which an affection or a bond was formed is known as grief.
It is normally focused on the emotional response to loss, however, it has philosophical, spiritual, cultural, social, behavioural, cognitive and physical dimensions. People may also grieve in connection with a variety of losses, such as the end of a relationship, ill health or unemployment.
What are the Stages of Grief?
There are five main stages of grief (Kübler-Ross model) which were devised for people who were ill but have adapted to coping with grief. These 5 stages of grief are:
Grief is an overwhelming emotion. Pretending that a change or loss hasn’t happened as a response to sudden and strong feelings is not unusual.
By denial, you have more time to absorb the news gradually and process it. It helps you numb the intensity of the situation and is a common defence mechanism.
As you move out from the stage of denial, your hidden emotions begin to rise. You will be confronted with a lot of sorrow which you have denied.
Anger is a masking effect. Much of the pain and the emotions that you carry are hidden by anger. This anger may be redirected at other people or inanimate objects. Your feelings at that moment are too intense to act rationally, though your brain knows the object of your anger isn’t to blame.
Feelings like resentment or bitterness may mask anger. It may not be a clear-cut rage or fury. This stage is not experienced by everyone. You will feel the emotions you’ve been pushing aside and begin to think more rationally about what’s happening once the anger subsides.
You may feel helpless and vulnerable during grief. You may want to feel like you can affect an event’s outcome or try to regain control in intensely emotional moments.
Religious people try to make a promise or deal to almighty God in return for relief or healing from grief. Bargaining is a line of defence against grief. It helps you postpone the hurt, confusion and sadness.
Also Read: Mental health 101: Getting the Basics Right
Bargaining and anger can feel quite active, but depression may feel like a quiet stage of grief. You may be running away from your emotions, trying to stay a step ahead of them in the earlier stages of loss. You may be able to work and healthfully embrace them by this point. To fully cope with the loss, you may also choose to isolate yourself from others.
Depression can be messy and difficult, just like other stages of grief. It can be overwhelming and you may feel confused, heavy and foggy. This stage of grief can feel like the inevitable landing point of any loss. If you feel that you can’t move past this stage of grief or feel stuck here, you can discuss this with a mental health expert.
Acceptance does not always be an uplifting or happy stage of grief. It also doesn’t mean you have moved past the loss or grief, however, it means that you have come to understand what it means in your life now and accepted it.
You may feel very different at this stage and this is expected. A major change in your life upends the way you feel about many things. This stage will help you to see that there may be good days rather than bad.
How to Overcome Grief ?
When you are experiencing grief, taking care of yourself is part of the process which helps you feel better physically and mentally. The ways through which you can take care of yourself are:
- Regularly exercising
- Sleeping for a minimum of seven to eight hours every night
- Exploring a new skill
- Seeing or calling loved ones or friends who can offer their support
- Joining a support group (of those who have lost loved ones)
You should refrain from alcohol or drugs as it is not a productive behaviour and can make you feel worse over time.
Your doctor may recommend you visit a mental health provider who specialises in grief. This therapist might suggest several treatment options, like medication, talk therapy or both. These treatments could help you manage your grief and process your loss.
Grief is a very common emotion. It may feel like your life has hit rock bottom, however, you do not need to worry as most people can easily overcome this with proper help and support. It is advisable to seek medical help from an experienced psychiatrist. Timely care and help can ensure you overcome your grief gradually both physically and mentally.
At the CK Birla Hospital, we ensure patients get holistic medical support which includes treatment in a compassionate environment. This patient-centric approach not only helps patients heal better but also ensures they are aware of the preventive measures as well. In case you need to consult a psychiatrist, reach out to us, or book a direct appointment.
Which Stage of Grief is the Hardest?
Grief is a very individual experience, so the toughest stage varies from situation to situation and from person to person.
How Long does Grief Last?
Grief is different for every person and there is no exact time frame for it. You may skip other stages entirely or remain in one of the stages for months.
Is Grief a Mental Illness?
Chronic grief can develop into a mental health disorder, such as prolonged sadness daily.
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