5 in 1

I’ve been under the weather for a few days which brought on kind of a yucky mood which in turn made me revisit an “issue” that I ruminate over regarding my work choices.  It’s also why I haven’t posted for a bit.

After I struggled through that for a few hours and then moved on, it occurred to me that I had just experienced pretty much all of the “5 Stages of Grief” in one sitting. I won’t get into the specific issue I was dealing with but the process went something like this:

  1. Denial- I can’t believe this is happening again; I can’t believe I am going through this and questioning myself again and feeling bad all over again; this can’t be happening
  2. Anger– I am sooo sick of this; I feel like throwing my teacup against the wall and screaming at the top of my lungs, I am so frustrated with this; will there never be an end to this; why does this keep happening; I don’t deserve all of this
  3. Bargaining- I am a good person; I promise if you just show me the way that I will do it, whatever it takes; this is not just about me, it’s for my family too; think of all of the other people who will be impacted too
  4. Depression– I just can’t take this anymore; I keep trying and trying and getting nowhere; I’m just going to give up- there are just no answers; why bother; all I want to do is lay in my bed with the covers over my head and hope no one notices that I’m not there; what difference does it make anyway
  5. Acceptance- Ok, take a breath- it is what it is; you have been through this before and you have figured out how to get it together and move forward; you just have to put one foot in front of the other and regroup and remember what your original goals were and why you are doing this; this is not the end of the world, it just feels bad right now for some reason but it is just for this moment; it is really all right and you just need to take that first step, any step; find something positive to focus on

The “Stages” are real emotions or reactions that can occur in response to stressful situations.  They are ways that our body helps us to work through something painful and overwhelming when  the everyday more typical ways just won’t cut it.  The critical thing to remember is that they are not really stages in that they don’t happen in a neat little prescribed  sequence, one after the other, in a specific time frame never to be seen again once you’ve passed through them.

As my tiny example shows, you can experience these emotions all in 1 specific situation, working through 1 issue.  Obviously, this was not the same as a prolonged grief process. I have felt through my own grief experiences, and surely will feel again, all of these intense emotions as life brings on more major challenges.

My point is that when you hear about the “5 Stages of Grief”, don’t just accept that this is the exact way that grief occurs. There are a lot of people who refer to this model or theory when they talk about grief.  You even see it poked fun at on shows like “Family Guy” or “South Park” on tv.

Grief  is a very fluid process, moving in and out of varying intensities of different emotions.    The “Stages” Model provides some good basic information and understanding about what can happen when your are grieving but everyone’s path is different. You have a right to make your own.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vince Chough
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 12:45:47

    This is exactly what I needed today…. incredible. Thank you.


  2. trish
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 00:22:14

    I wonder why illness brings it on? I have had recent similar experience. Glad to read ur account of it. Thanks.


    • Cindyss
      Apr 04, 2012 @ 12:01:49

      Hi Trish
      Illness definitely weakens us and makes us more vulnerable all around, unfortunately. For me, it’s kind of like a reminder too of life not being always in my control and I may have to slow down a bit (again) to deal with whatever is happening now. That frustrates me sometimes because I feel like I’ve already “devoted” so much of my time to grieving. Thanks for your comment.


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