Loss is one of the most painful and complicated parts of life. Unfortunately, in our lifetime, we will be forced let go of some of the most important and dearest things to us, such as relationships, jobs, friendships and loved ones. This loss can be followed by grief; the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone is taken away. This experience can lead to a wide range of emotions that may make you feel as if the sadness and pain will never recede. While it can be difficult to manage these awful situations, it’s important to remember that there’s a healthy way to cope.
At Rice Psychology Group of Tampa, we understand that losing something or someone close to your heart is an intense and overwhelming experience, but it’s possible for you to find a healthy way to cope.
In her pioneering book On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, MD described and categorized the stages of grief a person may experience when they find out they’re dying. Since then, professionals have used her model to aptly describe the process of grief in many situations. The stages are as follows:
- Denial – This stage sees our heart take over our belief system (instead of the brain) as we attempt to adjust to the idea of living with our loss. Although we understand that the loss has occurred, we don’t believe it and instead entertain the idea of things working out. Even when we see the clear indications that our loss is very much real, we find glimmers of hope.
- Anger – This stage can be felt in a variety of ways. Perhaps you’ll feel angry with your ex-spouse because you think they acted selfishly or were careless with your relationship. You may even feel anger towards God or the universe for your “bad luck” or the cruel way that things happen.
- Bargaining – This stage generally connects with denial. In this phase, people will often try to look for any possible way to negotiate their way back into normality by threatening their ex-spouse or promising to the powers that be that they’ll be a better person if their loss is overturned.
- Depression – Much like anger, depression can arise in a variety of ways. For example, you may feel tired all the time, choose to stay in bed all day or feel disconnected from the people that surround you. Some people may additionally feel hopelessness, or the feeling that they’ll never move on.
- Acceptance – The phase where we finally and gradually come to terms with the loss. While there may still be lingering sadness left, acceptance means taking the first step towards moving on.
It’s important to understand that, although these stages can help us understand the process of grief, there is no clear evidence of their existence. Over the past 15 years, experts in the field have revealed different ways to understand and conclude the process of grief.
Finding a Way to Cope
When going through the process of grief, it’s extremely important that you take care of yourself. The stress and pain that follow a loss can quickly leave a mark on your well-being and emotions. In these difficult times, make sure to:
- Acknowledge your feelings
- Express your emotions in a tangible way, such as recording thoughts in a journal or letter
- Pay attention to your physical health since it also impacts your emotional health
- Not let yourself or others dictate how you should feel; let the feelings come
- Recognize your grief triggers, such as anniversaries, holidays, birthdays or milestones
Help is Here
If your loss is leading you to experience ongoing sadness, other negative feelings or behaviors that are interfering with your ability to function properly at work or school, or in your social or family life, it may be time to seek the help of Rice Psychology Group.
With our psychologists by your side, you won’t have to worry about dealing with the worry or nerves that often come with talking about the way you feel. This is because our Tampa team will provide you with a comfortable and relaxing environment designed to help you feel at ease with having a conversation with us.
We’ll help you find the best way to deal with your grief so that you and your loved ones can take the first step towards feeling better. For more information, contac