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.”

Losing someone close can be difficult to handle alone. Do you need help? Call (800) 801-4182 or (402) 354-8000 to schedule a confidential appointment.

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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. 

About the Author

Amy Monzingo has been in the counseling field since 1997. She joined Best Care EAP in 1999. 

Education: BS in Human Development, MS in Community Counseling; Licensed Mental Health Practitioner.

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