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A Deeper Look Into Grief and Loss

The concept of grief is often associated closely with death/loss of a loved one. However, grief can occur as a result of any kind of loss. Other types of loss can be: loss of a close friendship, loss of a pet, loss of a pregnancy, loss of health, loss of financial security/job, retirement, moving to a new state, letting go of a long-held dream, a break up/divorce, etc.

Loss is an inevitable part of life, and grief is a natural part of the healing process. The grieving process is not linear, and looks different for various cultures, communities, family systems, couples, and individuals.

Following a major loss, symptoms of grief can present as: feeling shock, extreme sadness, uncontrollable crying, impaired sleep, disturbed appetite, becoming easily triggered, reduced distress tolerance, and poor focus/concentration. 

According to the Kübler-Ross model, individuals experiencing grief progress through these 5 stages of grief (DABDA):  

D- Denial

Denial is a defense against the discomfort of the loss. In this stage, the individual may “feel fine” or refuse to address the reality of their loss. 

A- Anger

In this stage the denial gradually becomes anger. “Why is this happening to me?” Anger is often just the tip of the iceberg, with a compilation of more intense emotions of loneliness, fear, anxiety, and sadness often beneath the surface. 

B- Bargaining

This stage is where the individual may try to negotiate or attempt to sacrifice something in exchange for a different outcome. For example, negotiating with a higher power to sacrifice something in exchange for something else. Psychologically, the person may be trying to regain hope, faith, or even perceived control. 

D- Depression

In this stage, you begin to feel the intense sadness, despair, or even disappointment you feel in regards to your loss and grief. 

A- Acceptance

In this stage the individual accepts the reality of their circumstances. Acceptance does not always mean you agree with the loss or outcome of the loss- you recognize and acknowledge the loss.

Seeking support through counseling is an excellent way to help you process and cope with grief and loss.  Call AWCC at (832) 421-8714 to set up an appointment to speak with a counselor. 

Reference: Tyrrell P, Siddiqui W. Stages of Dying. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Mar-20. 

 

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Sonali Chokshi

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