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How The Grieving Process Works

The five stages of grief, as originally proposed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book "On Death and Dying," are:

  1. Denial: This is the initial stage where one might refuse to believe the reality of the situation. It's a defense mechanism to protect oneself from the overwhelming shock of the loss.

  2. Anger: As denial fades, it can be replaced by anger. People might feel frustrated, upset, or angry about the situation. This anger can be directed towards oneself, others, or even the situation itself.

  3. Bargaining: In this stage, individuals may try to negotiate or bargain with a higher power, fate, or even the person they lost. They might make promises or seek ways to change the situation.

  4. Depression: This stage involves coming to terms with the reality of the loss. Feelings of sadness, regret, and deep sorrow may prevail. It's an emotional process of acknowledging the depth of the loss.

  5. Acceptance: This final stage doesn't necessarily mean happiness or full recovery. It signifies coming to terms with the loss and finding a way to live with it. Acceptance involves finding a new normal and moving forward with life despite the pain of the loss.

These stages are not linear, and individuals may not necessarily experience all of them, or they might experience them in a different order. Grief is a highly personal and individual process. Some may move back and forth between stages or experience them in varying intensities.


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