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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Understanding Grief ~ A need of an hour

All of us, at some point or other, have gone through some sort of grief, whether it’s losing a loved one, a job or even a break-up. Worldly Voice aims to tell you more about how we process grief and the five stages we go through.

No person is alien to grief, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, etc. It is a painful but essential part of being human. Anything that causes you enough psychological and physiological pain, in the form of sadness or anger, can be said to be grief. While it does not necessarily mean that grief would cause a mental health issue, not properly clearing the stages of the emotional responses associated with grief can make you feel stuck or irritable. It can also make you feel like you are not ready to let go or move on. Learning about these cycles or stages might help you identify your process of managing emotions and give you an answer.


Although the psychology community has recently become divided on the nature and sequence of these stages, they are still widely used in practice and education to understand this simple yet at the same time complex emotion of grief. Today, we talk about the Five-Stages Theory of grief, a very prominent theory in practice in the modern-day.

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The stages include-


Denial – The loss of a loved one, or someone or something we have held affection for, causes us a lot of distress and even loneliness or emptiness. The first noted response of grieving people is observed to be the denial of the event. We could take the example of a break-up, a person may still not tell people that they have separated from their partner or refuse to even acknowledge the same. “They’ll be back, it’s just temporary.” Such sentences could be common in this stage. It is essentially denying the very occurrence of the grief causing event.


Anger – After the event has been acknowledged, next comes anger. It can be directed towards the event, the person, others or even one’s self. Still taking the break-up example, a person may lash out at their partner or blame themselves and be angry about the separation. “Why did this happen to only me?” These questions might be raised.


Bargaining – Now the anger has subsided and the person tries to reason with their situation. Bargaining is essentially the stage where a person tries their best to change or undo the situation, even if reality cannot be changed. “Please come back, I will change and be better this time.” Things like these sound like pleas for a “bargain”, especially in relationships. This is the hardest stage to overcome as the emotions in this stage are very delicate but strong.

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Depression
– Now, we have the one word people both use very often or, on the other side, are afraid to utter. Depression is the natural progression of grief and after the previous stages have receded, depression usually sets in. The severity of it is different in everyone, with some people bouncing back in decent time and some sinking into a very low mood. I would like to say that both responses are perfectly valid. Everyone processes their emotions differently and taking your own time and pace to heal is completely alright. It is in this stage where a person requires the most attention and support. Things like “I cannot live without them.” (Again, taking the example of a break-up) can be heard and might cause alarm. If you or a loved one are struggling with this stage, seeking professional help might be a good idea.


Acceptance – This is the last stage, where a person finally accepts what has happened and makes their peace with it, in their unique way. Taking the break-up scenario, the grieving person might feel like they are ready to be in a new relationship or that they want to focus more on their career. This is the healthy acceptance of what has been lost but does not necessarily mean that the person needs to forget everything. Remembrance of what once was is human, but we should not let it weigh us down. Finally, “I accept that we have separated and I wish you all the best for the future.” This is the type of sentence one can hear in this stage. Acceptance with wisdom is the key.

While grief may seem very painful, or even like the end of the world, all things eventually heal and get better so never lose hope. This article is not meant to diagnose but to empower our readers with information. If you recognize any of these within you or a loved one, extend your support to not just them but to yourself too. Let us know about your experiences in the comments!

Also Read – Anxiety: What is it and how to cope with it?

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