Grief and Bereavement

How to Help Yourself through the Process?

Grief is a process everyone must endure after losing a significant person or relationship.  While the circumstances of grief and loss are unique, and each person mourns in their own way, the core experience of suffering is universal. Grief is our reaction to unwanted change and occurs as a natural reaction to the loss of someone or something significant to us.

You may have many questions when enduring a painful journey of grief and bereavement, such as the following:

  • How long will it hurt like this?

  • When will I begin to feel better?

  • Why does my work suddenly feel like such a burden?

  • Is it normal to feel irritated and angry?

  • Will I ever be able to move on from the death of my spouse (child, parent, sibling, best friend)?

  • I'm feeling completely alone. Will anyone ever understand what I'm going through?

  • Can antidepressants help me better function while I process this?

It is essential to understand that grief is a powerful emotion that can affect every aspect of your life. You may find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, even months after your loved one has passed away or a relationship has ended. You may be less productive and satisfied at work, avoid social situations, and be emotionally exhausted most of the time. This is because grieving process generates a lot of stress in your life.

It is also important to learn about the stages of grief so you can recognize them and adjust to each phase after losing a loved one.

The Five Stages of Grief

The "five stages of grief" model was initially created by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and most people agree it is pretty spot on when describing the phases we go through when processing a loss.

Denial 

Most people go through the so-called "this isn't happening to me" stage in the immediate aftermath of a loss. When we lose someone close to us, especially if this was sudden and unexpected, we may refuse to accept reality. This stage serves as a safeguard, preparing us for grief until the brain is ready to accept the painful reality.

Anger

Following the stage of initial shock, you may become angry with the person who died or left for abandoning you.  You may be upset with yourself, with the people around you, with life, and so on.

 

Bargaining

You may be tormented by thoughts like "If I could trade their life for mine" during this stage of grief.  You may have thoughts like “If only I had done (x,y,z) they might still be here”.  You may question a lot of the past and replay things in your head.

Depression

At this point in the grieving process, you begin to accept the situation. However, acceptance is usually accompanied by a strong sense of sadness, hopelessness, and emotional exhaustion.

·Acceptance

In the last stage of the bereavement process, you begin to accept the finality of the situation, embrace death, and understand how the loss will affect your life.

How we can help

Grief occurs as a natural reaction to loss, so it is a necessary process on your road to healing. However, if emotional pain feels overwhelming and interferes with your everyday life, consider that therapy and short term medication may help you feel better faster.

Common Ground Psychiatry is here to help. Contact us today to get support while going through the grieving process. We will walk beside you on your road to well-being.