In my opinion, this stage is probably the most peaceful stage. I am going to use death as an example for these stages, but you can apply it to any grieving scenario. During your stage of denial, you’re in shock. You cannot believe that who died, just died. A sinking pit goes into your stomach at the thought of it, but it simply cannot be true. My advice is to prepare yourself. You’re in a state of bliss now, but acknowledge that you know this person is gone. Don’t accept the circumstances; acknowledge them. They are gone but remember, you’ll get through this.
It is proven that anger is linked with anxiety. In this stage, you’re angry with the world, angry at the person that left you, angry at life. How could something so cruel happen to such an innocent person? It is okay to be angry. However, do NOT take that anger out on someone else. Anger is a domino effect. You’re angry, but then you feel that anxiety, you hide it with more anger. Then, the adrenaline starts running. Use that adrenaline for something physical. Go do some interactive activity, go plate throwing, splatter paint on a canvas, or go axe throwing. Just do something real to release this anger/adrenaline/anxiety.
Bargaining comes from guilt. You’re thinking of all of the things you could’ve done or should’ve done. Pinpoint your guilt, and work through that guilt. So many things are out of our control. After you pinpoint your guilt, get a piece of paper. Write down everything that you feel guilty about. Tell the person you’re sorry, tell them you should’ve spent more time with them, etc. get it all out. After you’ve bled all of your vulnerability into this piece of paper, shed a few tears, maybe, then rip it up. You can punch it, tear it, burn it, submerge it in water- whatever it is, discard it. By doing this, you’re making your feelings physically real, you’re getting them out. But after that, you’re sending those guilts away. Now, this is not a guarantee of feeling 100% better after writing this “letter,” but it will help nonetheless. It may hurt to do, and if you cry (which you most likely will) let it happen. Let your body dispose of these emotions in any way it wants, as long as you’re not hurting yourself or someone else.
I know first hand how difficult it is to have depression or go through a depressive episode. I want you to know your feelings are valid. You lost a part of yourself, you lost something that had been a part of your life for so long. Take a deep breath. This person, this job, this relationship, whatever the case, affected the choices you made, and how you spent your time. This stage can be one of the harder stages. Let yourself cry as much as you need. Find someone that you trust deeply, and with their consent, cry to them. Have them hug you, they don’t need to say anything, but you need someone. You cannot isolate yourself from the world, you cannot let yourself ponder in your own prison of a mind. You need people to console you, please do not deal with this on your own. What’s life without contrast, right?
This stage can be freeing, but it can also be heart-wrenching. You’re realizing that all of those times people have told you “you will get through this,” “everything will be okay in the end!” is true to an extent. You’re still not okay with what happened, but you’re accepting it. All that you have been through is wrapping up. You’ve been through the storm and you will still experience some rain showers here and there. The light will always find its way. But how do we cope with this? Say goodbye. Write them a letter, talk to them, do whatever to communicate with them a final time. Everything comes to an end, be proud of yourself for getting through this.
Until next time,