Grief

Over the last few days, I've come to realize that most of the American culture doesn't have a clue about the emotional and mental process of grief or loss. We used too, yet now we minimize it, expect it to be over when other people tell us to be over it, to react as they tell us to react, to function as if nothing happened....as if we hadn't lost a dream in one split moment. Well, that is a far step from reality. Grief floods us from so many different situations, loss of career, physical injury, loss of health, death, divorce, disaster, trauma, and heartbreak and even though each one is clearly very different, at the end of the day, loss is loss and the stages are the same though unique to every individual enduring it.

For those of us who have had our share of all the different types in our lifetime, we recognize that we have to experience each stage in its raw individuality and pray that others will be able to recognize the pain instead of us trying to explain it, there is no rushing the process. With that being said, I'm sharing two articles I came across this morning after searching for answers in regards to my own situation, I hope it will give some insight to someone else's world. Grief is all about moving through the stages. About feeling the totality of its impact. It's about utter devastation, bewilderment, shock, emotional intensity, depression, sorrow, confusion, and all the inconsistent ups and downs of acceptance and denial intertwined into the same web. Part of the acceptance is that grief IS a roller coaster and the amount of time that one moves through it varies. A year is the standard worldwide culture for most losses, yet when it involves an intimate partner or heartbreak, doctors say to give yourself two full years, at least. The death of my intimate love took more than three years and time doesn't erase the heartbreak it only lets you manage it.

These articles are a glimpse into a world few fully want to acknowledge or are comfortable with, to expect a different reaction than this or to condemn a person because of their intense erratic demeanor, is unrealistic. It will be tough, but a little grace and empathy and maybe even a joke or two to lighten the load, will go a long way for someone who can barely see straight.  I hope these articles help others as they have given me insight that I "knew" yet had brushed away in order to appear strong which in the end, backfired. In reality, the pain has been profoundly shattering and the emotions that have come with it have been all over the board.....up, down, happy, sad, completely unrecognizable to my friends, family, and even to me. My life is passionate but overall I'm always able to keep a level head, for some reason, not this time. This is foreign ground. So, if I seem a little off or resemble Barbie on an emotional roller coaster ride, please realize that this too shall pass.....in time....and with a few hugs and laughs. The link to the first article below is specifically on relationship breakup: 

1)   http://www.helpguide.org/articles/family-divorce/coping-with-a-breakup-or-divorce.htm



2)  The 7 stages of grief:
  1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
    You will probably react to learning with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
  2. PAIN & GUILT-
    As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

    You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do, or things you said or wish you would have said. Life feels chaotic, confusing and scary during this phase.
  3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
    Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame on someone else, friends and or family. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

    You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him back")
  4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
    Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

    During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did together, promises made that won't come true and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.
  5. THE UPWARD TURN-
    As you start to adjust to life without, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly. You still don't trust your discernment or decision making abilities and wonder how something can still be affecting you so profoundly.
  6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
    As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions. You will start to work on practical things and begin reconstructing yourself and your life without the dreams that you had.
  7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
    During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy, in whatever form it may have come in. But you will find a way forward.

    You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your loss without the soulful pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.


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