Grief, Loss and the way out
Hello friend, Trust you’ve been doing well?
This week I intend to start something on grief, Loss and how to deal with grief. This may not be a conventional health concern or something talked about regularly but I bet it is important we look at this subject matter.
It promises to be eye-opening and a journey as well. We shall take it gradually as I hope this will serve as a therapy for those who want to recover or want to help someone recover.
Let us do some word study..
What is Grief?
Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the loss of a loved one or from a terminal diagnosis they or someone they love have received. They might find themselves feeling numb and removed from daily life, unable to carry on with regular duties while saddled with their sense of loss.
Why do People Grief?
Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft or the loss of independence through disability.
Are There Physical reactions to Grief?
Yes there are. This is not to say these signs can’t mean something else. The signs are:
- Inability to sleep
- Stomach pain
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Chest pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Panic attack
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 in her book, On Death and Dying propounded the five stages of grief. The acronym is DABDA.
They are :
- Denial— One of the first reactions is Denial, wherein the survivor imagines a false, preferable reality.
- Anger— When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, it becomes frustrated, especially at proximate individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”; “Why would God let this happen?”.
- Bargaining— The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Other times, they will use anything valuable against another human agency to extend or prolong the life. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise.
- Depression— “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
During the fourth stage, the individual becomes saddened by the certainty of death. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.
- Acceptance— “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. People dying may precede the survivors in this state, which typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions.
For a start, I’m going to give us 3 situations of how this model is applied.
CHILDREN GRIEVING IN DIVORCE
Children feel the need to believe that their parents will get back together, or will change their mind about the divorce. Example: “Mom and Dad will stay together.”
Children feel the need to blame someone for their sadness and loss. Example: “I hate Mom for leaving us.”Bargaining in this stage, children feel as if they have some say in the situation if they bring a bargain to the table. This helps them keep focused on the positive that the situation might change, and less focused on the negative, the sadness they’ll experience after the divorce. Example: “If I do all of my chores maybe Mom won’t leave Dad.”
This involves the child experiencing sadness when they know there is nothing else to be done, and they realize they cannot stop the divorce. The parents need to let the child experience this process of grieving because if they do not, it only shows their inability to cope with the situation. Example: “I’m sorry that I cannot fix this situation for you.”
This does not necessarily mean that the child will be completely happy again. The acceptance is just moving past the depression and starting to accept the divorce. The sooner the parents start to move on from the situation, the sooner the children can begin to accept the reality of it
GRIEVING A LOST AMOROUS RELATIONSHIP
The person left behind is unable to admit that the relationship is over. He/she may continue to seek the former partner’s attention.
The partner left behind may blame the departing partner, or him/herself.
The partner left behind may plead with a departing partner that the stimulus that provoked the breakup shall not be repeated. Example: “I can change. Please give me a chance.” Alternatively, he/she may attempt to renegotiate the terms of the relationship.
The partner left behind might feel discouraged that his or her bargaining plea did not convince the former partner to stay.
Lastly, the partner abandons all efforts toward renewal of the relationship
This stages do not necessarily come in order as stated neither do all patients experience all the stages. However, the last two stages are most usually experienced by most patients and might even come in a faster than anticipated often with a roller coaster effect.
Permit me to stop here so you can ponder on the above points.
The essence of this part is to bring to your notice what Grief is all about and the fact that you cannot separate loss and grief.
When we return, we shall discuss how to deal with grief and loss in terms of the co-dependant relationship between them.