Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Truth about the 5 Stages of grief

NOTE: I am so sorry. I just did some more research and the 5 stages of grief are for someone who just found out they are dying. Now it makes much more sense. But still the people at my school tried to apply it to the grief group I had to go to after my mom died. It really doesn't work that way. If you look at the 5 stages of grief in the context of you dying then it makes total sense. I hope I have helped you a ton. I just helped me a ton. Pass it around that the 5 stages of grief are for those actually dying and not those grieving the loss.

Grief is an emotion that is complicated, misunderstood, and inevitable. After my mom died I was taken out of my usual school classes and was put in this group of other kids. I found out these other kids had lost a loved one that year. There are about 5 other kids. I was told that there are five stages of grief. We were asked which stage we thought we were in. I just felt numb. I have heard that if we get stuck in one stage or the other, the process of grieving is not complete, and cannot be complete and that there will be no healing. I think that is crap. How would our minds know which stages to go through. I just find that strange. I still wanted to post on the stages because we all grieve differently and it could help someone. From what I hear all the stages are random and not everyone goes through them in a certain order. Again this makes it seem like crap. It is different for each person. I have heard that some people repeat steps and and change steps randomly. This makes it seem like there is no completion. Then healing would be random aswell. I favor Keanu Reeves theory that "Grief changes shape, but it never ends." I have found this to be true. I still think listing the "stages" or shapes of grief will help you understand your feelings and recognize the shapes of grief. I will also elaborate on my own personal perceptions on each "shape".

The five stages or shapes of grief are:

1. Denial.
"This can't be happening to me", No crying. Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss.

My thoughts: Of course we have acknowledged the loss. But there are times when I wake up in the morning and I think "why did it have to happen to me? Why can't my mom still be here? etc". Its seems surreal at times. And I agree at times I don't cry. I think "unbelief" is a better term for this shape of grief. Denial just seems like we are being stupid. We don't deny it happened. Its just hard to believe it happened.

2. Anger. "why me?", Feelings of wanting to fight back, anger at the deceased, blaming them for leaving.

My thoughts: I actually have not been too angry. I get stressed out at work. Sometimes I get mad when I am disadvantaged by being an orphan and cry and get mad. Like having trouble buying a car on my own or men treating me like crap because they know I don't have a dad to stick up for me. I have had dreams where I have asked my mom why she didn't get her breasts examined for ten years. I do wonder why but not with a lot of anger. I'm not mad at God either. I will wait until I die and see if there is a good reason why this all happened. Then I will decide if I want to be angry.

3. Bargaining. Bargaining often takes place before the loss. Attempting to make deals with God to stop or change the loss. Begging, wishing, praying for them to come back.

My thoughts: I did this once when my cat was sick and then it died. If this "stage" takes place before the loss then how can it be part of the "stages" of grief? Most people never have a chance to bargain. They may never have a chance to say good bye to their loved one.

4. Depression. Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity, mourning loss of person as well as the hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Feeling lack of control, feeling numb. Perhaps feeling suicidal.

My thoughts: Well that is a lot for just one "stage". Why not just divide that one up into "stages"? I think we feel all these things all the time. Who came up with these "stages"? This is crap. My trigger stuff is better than this. I feel all of those things in stages.

5. Acceptance. There is a difference between resignation and acceptance. You have to accept the loss, not just try to bear it quietly. Realization that the person is gone (in death) that it is not their fault, they didn't leave you on purpose. (even in cases of suicide, often the deceased person, was not in their right frame of mind) Finding the good that can come out of the pain of loss, finding comfort and healing. Our goals turn toward personal growth. Stay with fond memories of person.

My thoughts: I think we realized that our loved one is dead the day they died. We accepted that fact. But that doesn't mean we won't miss them and cry from time to time. Finding the good that can come out of the pain...now that is what I think about a lot. I do think that having become an orphan has made me a better person and made me more caring. I want to help others as a result of my tragedies. Helping others is personal growth. But keep in mind those fond memories are going to bring tears. I accept that fact that my mom is gone but I still feel sad from time to time. Hopeless from time to time. You understand my point?

The stages idea is crap to me. But the shapes I understand more. There are times when I cry a lot, and times when I not cry all that much, times when I miss her, times when I wonder why it all happened, times when I wish it had not happened, etc. And all these cycle and repeat and alternate. But the healing is all through out it. Its not at the end of it. If so where is the end? I also find it very important to see how this loss has changed you as a person. If I weren't an orphan I wouldn't care at all about other orphans. But since it has happened, I can relate and I really do care. My heart breaks for other orphans all around the world. Then the loss of my mother has become a resurrection. I have heard that with every death there is a resurrection. And yes I did hear that in church but its true. When bad things happen, good things can come from it. Look at other celebrities who have experienced loss. They have grown hearts because of their loss. Hugh Jackman and his wife have suffered a couple of miscarriages and now they have adopted a few kids. Jenny Mcarthy has an autistic son and now she helps others with autistic children. Anderson Cooper lost his father and brother and now he reports on CNN on various tragedies and he cares for those going through hard times. The list goes on and on. Our loss has made us better people. We then help others and they help us. Life becomes easier and we all heal a little bit more. We find purpose and beauty in death and loss. Don't make me go all Oprah on you now! Yes, even Oprah had her hard times and now look at her. She cares for so many people and has made a big difference in peoples lives and I'm sure even she has times when she still cries. People who change the world are ones who have been changed by the world. People who make a difference are the ones who are different.

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