The 5 stages of grief!

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross suggested the five-stage model of mourning and grief to describe the process the individual is experiencing to accept incurable illness or death. This model has been established since then in the field of Psychology.

Each of the five stages manifests differently in each individual in terms of duration and intensity. It is not necessary for the five stages to occur in a specific  order until the process is completed. So, what are these five stages and in what order do they usually appear?

1. Denial
The first reaction to the loss is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize an overwhelming sentiment. It is a defense mechanism that mitigates the immediate shock of loss. We tend not to "hear" certain words and to hide from the events at this stage, resulting in many people being isolated. This is a temporary reaction that takes us through the first wave of pain.

2. Anger
Anger is a necessary step in the healing process. We must be willing to get angry, even if it seems our anger will not end. The harder we experience it, the easier it will be to overcome it and get cured. The truth is that anger is a sovereign feeling that hides several other feelings beneath it, but it is so powerful that it covers everything.

3. Bargaining
This stage involves stubborn thoughts that make the person have qualms  about everything that could be done differently to avoid loss. The person wants back the life he had before the loss happened. These thoughts create guilt on the individual for what he could do differently in the past and did not.

4. Depression
At this stage our attention is directed to the present time. Empty feelings make their presence to be felt and sadness seems to deepen. Depression seems to be a feeling that is knocking on our door and we are pulled out of life. It is very important to understand that this kind of depression is not a symptom of mental illness, it is a very normal reaction to the loss. Often at this stage, we wonder if there is any meaning in life. Remember that this stage is absolutely necessary and we must experience it in order to proceed with restoration.

5. Acceptance
Getting to this final stage of grief is a gift that does not reach everyone. Many people have been staying for years in the previous stages. Denial, isolation, anger, depression are emotions from which they cannot escape. This phase is characterized by withdrawal and tranquility. It is definitely not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from the stage of depression.

Kübler-Ross has never claimed that there is a rigid shape which encapsulates all those who are sad. In her last book before her death in 2004, she said: "It is never feasible to place our bad feelings in tidy packages." The reaction to loss is different in every person. And as there is no formal reaction to loss, there is no formal loss.

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