Emotional and Mental
Grief Series: What Stage of Grief Am I In?Published: June 1, 2022
Most people have heard that there are different stages to the grieving process. That’s a little misleading because it makes grief sound like it is a step-by-step process and once you navigate one stage you smoothly go on to the next one. Our grief is as individual as our lives and while nobody grieves exactly the same, people do tend to touch on 5 different stages during the process.
The 5 stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance - help to identify what you are feeling and help to normalize the process of grief. You may or may not move through the 5 stages in the order listed. You may skip a stage or come back to it several times. You may start the grieving process before your loved one has died, maybe during their illness. Identifying the 5 stages isn’t meant to tell you where you should be in your grief, but rather to give you some knowledge about the process of grief. Remember that grief is unique to each person.
Five Stages of Grief:
- Denial – You may have difficulty believing the loss actually happened. There is a certain amount of shock or disbelief. “I can’t believe this is happening.”
- Anger – The realization of the death has set in and you may begin to feel anger. That anger can get directed at the death, your loved ones, the person who passed, yourself, the world, or God. “I am so angry and I’m not sure why or who I am angry at.”
- Bargaining – This is when you attempt to make deals in order to reverse fate or go back in time. Guilt sometimes sets in when you think, “If only I had done this differently.”
- Depression – Feelings of numbness, helplessness, emptiness and sadness appear. You may feel exhausted and not care about much of anything around you. “I just feel so sad and alone. I don’t know how I will go on.”
- Acceptance – You accept the reality of the loss and begin to regain strength and energy. You start to adjust to this new normal life. “I have found peace. It’s okay to be happy.”
Written by Amy Monzingo, MS, LMHP, LMHC, Best Care EAP counselor, the 12-part Grief Series deals with all kinds off issues individuals go through on their grief journey. Whatever the cause of your grief, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can ease your sadness and help you come to terms with your loss and eventually move on with your life.
- Part 1: I'm Suffering From Heartache
- Part 2: My Caregiver Role is Over, Now What?
- Part 3: I Don't Want to Talk to Anyone
- Part 4: I Am So Angry
- Part 5: I Can't Imagine the Holidays Now That My Loved One is Gone
- Part 6: How Do I Get Past the Guilt?
- Part 7: I Still Talk to My Loved One
- Part 8: Memories are Painful
- Part 9: People Think I Should Be Grieving Faster Than I Am
- Part 10: What Do I Do With My Loved One's Things?
- Part 11: What Stage of Grief Am I In?
- Part 12: How Do I Handle Special Days?