Coping with grief is a complex thing. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, regardless of what situation or trauma you are experiencing. Losing something or someone can have a devastating impact on your life and mental health. However, understanding grief can make the process a bit easier on your mind.
What is grief?
Grief is the emotion you experience after losing someone or something from your life. This emotion can be profound, especially if the loss was a large one. For many people, navigating through the stages of grief can be a strange, complex process – one that can be overwhelming with no support.
It can come from experiencing a host of different events in your life, as well. Some examples are losing a loved one, ending a romantic relationship, losing a friend, receiving a devastating diagnosis, loss of financial stability, or any other loss that significantly disrupts your life.
What are the stages of grief?
Developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the five stages of grief are emotions that people go through during the grieving process. It is important to remember that you can move through the stages differently than others, and you may experience them out of order. They are:
- Denial. This helps to make the pain not seem so large, by dismissing it and denying that it’s even happening.
- Anger. It’s normal to feel angry during the grieving process, especially while you are trying to adjust a life without whatever you lost. Anger allows us to express ourselves without putting us in a very vulnerable state.
- Bargaining. When we lose someone or something we love, sometimes it can feel that if we give up something or promise something, the pain will lessen. An example of this would be promising to be a better person to cure a loved one’s cancer diagnosis. These bargains are often directed at a higher power, as faith plays a large role in the grieving process for many.
- Depression. This is a normal thing to experience when you are grieving. Once the reality of the situation sets in, our level of sadness can grow to a point where it starts to affect how we are able to live.
- Acceptance. Accepting the reality of the situation is perhaps the hardest stage of grief to come to. When you enter the stage of acceptance, you are coming to terms with your loss and beginning to experience less of the other symptoms like denial or anger.
How do people cope with grief?
Just like no grieving process is the same, no one copes with grief in the same way. The things that will help you heal from a loss are entirely dependent on your situation, meaning that what works for someone else might not work for you – and vice versa. You may cope differently through each stage of grief, as well. Things like journaling, getting active, staying connected with others, and thinking about the positive memories you have with the loss are some great healthy coping mechanisms when you are grieving.
Grief can be an insurmountable amount of pain to deal with alone. Seeking therapy can be another great way to help deal with grief. There is no reason why you should have to deal with grief alone.
At Kentucky Services, we have many opportunities for you to learn how to cope with your grief. Our trained mental health professionals can help you through your grief, whether it’s in one session or multiple.