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F - Five Stages of Grief

F - Five Stages of Grief - this is a long one. Depending what you google... there are 5, 7 or up to 11 different stages of Grief Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss psychiatrist, first introduced her five stage grief model in her book On Death and Dying. Dr Kübler-Ross came up with the concept after working with terminally ill patients. Dr Kübler-Ross noted herself that the stages are not necessarily in any particular order, nor that all people suffering grief will experience all five stages. It’s for this reason that I don’t focus as much attention as maybe I should on the stages of grief in our group sessions. As the picture illustrates, grief can come in waves and is not a perfect linear structure. 😱 Denial. Going Numb. In Shock. We live in an alternate reality. Denying the news could be true, The test results must be incorrect. Unable to accept. This is actually the body’s natural defence mechanism. There is too much going on right now... let me process this information. 😡 Anger. Once the brain returns to a reality state, the questions start... Why me? Life isn’t fair! We look for someone or something to blame. Religious beliefs, the vet staff, the motorist who didn’t stop in time. It’s important to truly feel the anger. A theory is, the anger will dissipate – and the more you truly feel the anger, the more quickly it will dissipate, and the more quickly you will heal. 🙏🏼 Bargaining. Ever made a ‘deal’ with God, The Universe, a higher power? “If you heal my dog, I will give to animal charities more often, and be the best pet parent that ever lived”! If you give me this, I will give you that. This is bargaining. The other strong emotion that associates with Bargaining is Guilt. ‘If only I had gotten him to the hospital sooner”... the what if’s and if only’s 😭 Depression. Depression is a commonly accepted as the “present” emotion. It represents the emptiness we feel when we are living in reality and realise the person or situation is gone or over. In this stage, you might withdraw from life, feel numb, live in a fog, and not want to get out of bed. The world might seem too much and too overwhelming for you to face. You don’t want to be around others, don’t feel like talking, and experience feelings of hopelessness. You might even experience suicidal thoughts – thinking “what’s the point of going on?” 😇 Acceptance. This is the one I feel most people struggle with. It’s not “it’s ok, my pet died” but rather “this terrible thing has happened to me, but I am going to be ok”. We create a new ‘normal’ life. You are still going to have bad days, sadly it’s not all unicorns and rainbows going forward. 📆 I read a tip about smiley faces and frowny faces on a calendar following a loss. Every night mark on the calendar whether the day was a 1 (which is as bad as the day of the loss) or a 10. After two months, review the calendar and put the numbers on a graph. You will find that your down days get further and further apart, and that’s when you know you are going to make it. 💜 Of course, if you are having a particularly bad day, it’s always better to reach out and talk to someone than suffer in silence. ☎️ I am just a phone call away if you need ❤️

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