Understanding the 5 Stages of Grief
Around 30 years ago, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described something called the “5 Stages of Grief” in her book “On Death and Dying.” Since then, people have started to use this guideline to understand how individuals go through the grieving process. Of course, no one really follows a set pattern when they’re grieving and most will find their own way to heal.
Denial is the first instinctive response to any kind of bad news. People immediately want to reject it and for the brief moment, they believe that rejecting the idea of loss will undo that loss. This is a part of the healthy coping mechanism but it shouldn’t last too long.
After denial comes anger. People believe their loss is unfair and the entire world should be mourning with them. They become frustrated with friends, family, and even strangers. This is also a healthy and instinctive response. Anger can last for a long time, especially if the circumstances of the loss are abrupt and traumatic.
This is the realm of “what ifs” and “if onlys”. People look back and rethink every action, trying to understand if they could’ve done anything differently. It’s also a time when grieving individuals focus on the past instead of focusing on the present.
This is the last stage before acceptance and it’s a state of intense sadness and pain. It can last for a few days or several months. People experience numbness, apathy, disinterest, and general sadness during this stage of grieving.
This is the start of the healing process. Grieving individuals finally accept their loss and start moving forward. This is where they understand that loss has happened but it doesn’t have to control every aspect of their life.