Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Grief Cycle Continued...Denial

As we continue our discussion of grief, this week we will address the first stage in the grief cycle "denial". Many people often associate grief with death, the loss of a living person and or thing (i.e. a loved one or pet). We can experience grief after losing other things as well. The loss of a job, a friendship, a relocation or unexpected move away from loved ones, are all various incidents that can cause a person to grieve.

Shortly after suffering a loss there is a sense of shock. For some people nothing seems real. In the beginning people often admit to feeling numb, withdrawn, detached, and or disorientated at times. For some this loss is a nightmare they cannot escape. Other often experienced feelings at this time are feelings of despair, emptiness, helplessness and hopelessness.

As denial sets in, there is a strong disbelief that this "thing" has happened and a person is in no position to accept it. There are attempts to rationalize or try to make sense of the incident. Many people go searching for ways to rectify the issue. Revisiting common places, looking for their loved ones, talking out loud to them. These are attempts to prove that the loss has not occurred. Because these attempts are not successful the denial continues and for many people the next phase of grief begins... Anger and guilt.

Many people spend an extended amount of time in the denial phase. If you have ever suffered a loss, how did you handle the denial phase? What helped you move beyond this place and continue on the path towards healing?

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