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Cycle of Grief

Shock/Denial – You might struggle to come to terms with the loss, struggling to believe it has actually happened and they are really gone. Denial is a natural defence mechanism which helps us to manage the initial shock of the loss. It is also not uncommon to feel numb. 

Anger – Feeling angry is a natural response during the grief process. You may feel angry towards others, yourself or the person who you have lost. These are normal responses when we feel abandoned and that we lack control. 

Depression – This stage is more than the psychological element of feeling an overwhelming sadness and despair but comes with a physical component. You may feel fatigued and notice a change to your appetite. Your sleep may be affected along with your levels of motivation and you may find you no longer experience pleasure from the things you previously enjoyed. 

This stage might feel overwhelming but is a vital part of the grieving process. 

Bargaining –  This is our way of maintaining hope, being willing to sacrifice and barter with a higher power to alter the outcome. It is common to have thoughts such as “If only” and “what if” during this period.  

Acceptance – Coming to terms with the loss and accepting the reality they have gone. This doesn’t mean you are no longer sad and have found ways to continue living your life without them.

References: Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2009). The five stages of grief. In Library of Congress Catalogin in Publication Data (Ed.), On grief and grieving (pp. 7-30).

Written by Jessica Flindell

Nursing midwifery council (NMC). British association of behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy (BABCP). Credentials: BSc(Hons), PGdip and Fully accredited BABCP practitioner. Certified provider of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing , (EMDR) practitioner. 

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