If you’re grieving a loss, it’s normal to have questions and to wonder what to expect as you move over the process of grief. But know, Your Emotions Are Normal. You may wonder why you have certain emotions or if it is normal to have the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing.
You may ask yourself questions like “Am I supposed to be feeling this way?” “Why are others not affected as much as me?” or “How much grief am I supposed to be feeling at this time?” It can become easy to compare the way you handle feelings of grief with what you perceive as another’s way of grieving. It’s important to know that grieving is a personal journey and that everyone mourns differently.
Loss is universal. At some point in everyone’s life, there will be at least one encounter with grief. It may be from the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or any other change that alters life as you know it.
Grief is also very personal. It’s not very straight or linear. It doesn’t follow any timelines or timetables. You may cry, become angry, withdraw, feel empty, feel sad. None of these things is unusual or wrong. Everyone grieves differently. Your Emotions Are Normal.
In 1969, a Swiss-American psychiatrist named Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote in her book “On Death and Dying” that grief could be divided into five stages.
Her observations came from years of working with terminally ill individuals.
Her theory of grief became known as the Kübler-Ross model. While it was originally devised for people who were ill, these stages of grief have been adapted for other experiences with loss.
The five stages of grief may be the most known, but it’s far from the only popular stages of grief theory. Several others exist as well, including ones with eight and the ones with six.
Denial, “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger, “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining, “If just turn this, and in return, I will—–.”
Depression, “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance, “I’m at peace with what happened.”
If you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that your reaction is natural and normal. However, not everyone who grieves goes through all of these stages and that is passable. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to go through each stage in order to heal.
Kübler-Ross herself never intended for these stages to be a rigid framework that applies to everyone who mourns. In her last book before her death in 2004, she said of the five stages of grief:
“The stages have evolved since their introduction, and they have been very misunderstood over the past three decades. They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grief is as individual as our lives”.
Contact a grief specialist or professional therapist if you:
- Wish you had died with your loved one
- Feel like life isn’t worth living
- Are having difficulty trusting others since your loss
- Blame yourself for the loss or for failing to prevent it.
- Feel numb and disconnected from others for more than a few weeks
- Are unable to perform your normal daily activities
Your Emotions Are Normal
Authored by Mojisola Ogunkoya