The Psychology Of Grief

Businessman sitting on old wooden pier to the sea

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Businessman sitting on old wooden pier to the sea

Samantha Brown, Editor-in-Cheif

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Grief: the dreaded thing that is inevitable in the daily lives of every person that has ever lived. There’s no way to avoid it, it’s impossible to prevent, and it has the power to destroy a person both physically and psychologically. Grief has the power to tear up not only a single person, but in some cases, entire communities. The main cause of grief is loss (a family member, a significant other, etc.). Loss leads to pain and pain leads to grief. Everyone decides how they want to express how they feel when they’re in pain.

The first question you may ask yourself is, ‘Is the way I feel normal?’ When grieving, you may feel that no one else has felt this way before, and you may even think that your feelings are unhealthy or unnatural. Well, grief is 100% healthy because it is the body’s natural defense system used to help you cope with the loss of a loved one. The way you may possibly feel right now is completely normal.

Some symptoms of grief include an increase of irritability, bitterness, detachment, numbness, inability to express/feel joy, and countless others. Don’t be alarmed if what you are feeling isn’t listed because everyone grieves in their own way, and as long as your coping mechanism isn’t harming you or anyone around you, then it’s normal and safe.

Pain is an unsettling thing because of the way that some people approach it. When it comes to self-imposed suffering, some find themselves putting themselves in harm’s way because they want to sabotage themselves.ome decide that they don’t deserve happiness so they chose to do everything in their power to make them miserable.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a renowned psychiatrist states that the 5 main stages of grief are as follows: denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, and acceptance. In brief, denial means to deny the fact that a significantly sorrowful event has happened in your life. Bargaining means to offer things in an attempt to recover what you have lost. Once one realizes that no bargain will cause the thing they’ve lost to return, they grow angry and may lash out towards the people around them due to frustration. Eventually, anger turns to sadness, and the person begins to break down. Finally, after all of this, its common that a person finally accepts that they won’t be able to get this thing back, and their mental health slowly progresses. This may take months and even years depending on the intensity of the loss.

Do not rush the grieving process. Let it go at its own pace. This ensures that you don’t temporarily dismiss your pain. One may grieve for a few months while another would grieve for a few years. It all depends on the person. However there is no right or wrong in this process except it’s important to not avoid the natural process. The grieving process is definitely messy without a doubt but don’t question it, in the end you’ll make it out okay.

Samuel Jackson, a writer from the early 1700s stated, “While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.” This quote means that you shouldn’t try to push away your pain when you go through the beginning stages of grief. However, once you travel deeper down the path of grieving, it’s crucial to face these feelings in order to overcome them and grow. Once you get to this phase, it helps to have a very positive mindset because it’ll give you a hopeful look on your situation. Nothing will change if you don’t want it to change. So, if you want to overcome this, you must keep a persistent attitude and push through.

I do agree with the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” because even if something completely terrible happens to you, in the end, you will come out of it with a countless amount of lessons. These lessons will help you not only grow more powerful mentally, but it may even change your entire perspective on life. The first light that comes through even the worst of storms will be blinding; to elaborate a bit, once the storm is done raging and destroying, the light that comes next will be the most important and crucial sign. The light is a sign of hope: it means that the storm is slowly passing. It pushes you to get up, dust yourself off, and move forward. No storm can devastate forever, always remember that.

Remember that if you are struggling with unmanageable grief, if you are struggling with how to manage your grief, pain, or just need someone to talk to, feel free to confide in one of the many trustworthy adults here at Dana. They are here to help and listen. Also, if you are facing suicidal thoughts dial 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Hotline).