Trauma and Grief
Grief is universal and comes in many forms. It may be from the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or any other change that alters life as you know it.
The experience of loss can feel extremely painful and exceptionally personal. The emotions can be intense and overwhelming. The experience of grief can become paralysing if not processed in an effective way.
The path to overcoming loss is typically not neat or linear. It doesn’t necessarily follow any timelines or schedules. You may experience a multitude of emotions from one moment to the next which can create feelings of turmoil or stuckness.
You may cry, become angry, withdraw, feel empty. None of these things are unusual or wrong. Everyone grieves differently, but there are some commonalities in the experience of grief.
At Soulscape Awakening, we help you to process your grief by guiding you to reconnect to your true self, your authentic nature.
In that connection to your essential nature, you get to release your attachment to the emotions surrounding grief, so that you can experience once again the love you shared and you are better able to cherish your happy memories.
Where did the stages of grief come from?
In 1969, a Swiss-American psychiatrist named Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote in her book “On Death and Dying” that grief could be divided into five stages. Her observations came from years of working with terminally ill individuals.
Her theory of grief became known as the Kübler-Ross model. While it was originally devised for people who were ill and for their loved ones.
these stages of grief have been adapted for other experiences with loss, too.
The five stages of grief may be the most widely known, but it’s far from the only popular stages of grief theory. Several others exist as well, including ones with seven stages and ones with just two.
The five stages of grief:
Not everyone will experience all five stages, and you may not go through them in this order.
Grief is different for every person, so you may begin coping with loss in the bargaining stage and find yourself in anger or denial next. You may remain for months in one of the five stages but skip others entirely. Seeking therapeutic support is the best approach to help overcome your experience of grief.
Stage 1: Denial
Grief is an overwhelming emotion. It’s not unusual to respond to the intense and often sudden feelings by pretending the loss or change isn’t happening.
Denying it gives you time to more gradually absorb the news and begin to process it. This is a common defense mechanism and helps numb you to the intensity of the situation.
As you move out of the denial stage, however, the emotions you’ve been hiding will begin to rise. You’ll be confronted with a lot of sorrow you’ve denied. That is also part of the journey of grief, but it can be difficult.
Stage 2: Anger
Where denial may be considered a coping mechanism, anger is a masking effect. Anger is hiding many of the emotions and pain that you carry. This anger may be redirected at other people, such as the person who died, your ex, or your old boss. You may even aim your anger at inanimate objects.
While your rational brain knows the object of your anger isn’t to blame, your feelings in that moment are too intense to feel that.
As the anger subsides, however, you may begin to think more rationally about what’s happening and feel the emotions you’ve been pushing aside.
Stage 3: Bargaining
During grief, you may feel vulnerable and helpless. In those moments of intense emotions, it’s not uncommon to look for ways to regain control or to want to feel like you can affect the outcome of an event. In the bargaining stage of grief, you may find yourself creating a lot of “what if” and “if only” statements.
It’s also not uncommon for religious individuals to try to make a deal or promise to God or a higher power in return for healing or relief from the grief and pain. Bargaining is a line of defense against the emotions of grief. It helps you postpone the sadness, confusion, or hurt.
Stage 4: Depression
Whereas anger and bargaining can feel very “active,” depression may feel like a “quiet” stage of grief. In the early stages of loss, you may be running from the emotions, trying to stay a step ahead of them. By this point, however, you may be able to embrace and work through them in a more healthful manner.
You may also choose to isolate yourself from others in order to fully cope with the loss.
That doesn’t mean, however, that depression is easy or well defined. Like the other stages of grief, depression can be difficult and messy. It can feel overwhelming. You may feel foggy, heavy, and confused.
Depression may feel like the inevitable landing point of any loss. However, if you feel stuck here or can’t seem to move past this stage of grief, talk with a mental health expert. A therapist can help you work through this period of coping.
Stage 5: Acceptance
Acceptance is not necessarily a happy or uplifting stage of grief. It doesn’t mean you’ve moved past the grief or loss. It does, however, mean that you’ve accepted it and have come to understand what it means in your life now.
You may feel very different in this stage. That’s entirely expected. You’ve had a major change in your life, and that upends the way you feel about many things. Look to acceptance as a way to see that there may be more good days than bad, but there may still be bad — and that’s OK.
7 Stages of Grief
The seven stages of grief are another popular model for explaining
the many complicated experiences of loss.
These seven stages include:
- Shock and denial – This is a state of disbelief and numbed feelings.
- Pain and guilt – You may feel that the loss is unbearable and that you’re making other people’s lives harder because of your feelings and needs.
- Anger and bargaining – You may lash out, telling God or a higher power that you’ll do anything they ask if they’ll only grant you relief from these feelings.
- Depression – This may be a period of isolation and loneliness during which you process and reflect on the loss.
- The upward turn – At this point, the stages of grief like anger and pain have died down, and you’re left in a more calm and relaxed state.
- Reconstruction and working through – You can begin to put pieces of your life back together and carry forward.
- Acceptance and hope – This is a very gradual acceptance of the new way of life and a feeling of possibility in the future.
Regardless of your experience of grief, we are here to help you overcome your challenges and find peace and love in your connection with your loved ones again. Please reach out to us so we can help you begin your healing process.