Normal grief is not a mental disorder though prolonged grief is now recognised as a mental health condition. I imagine there are many thousands of people out there who have prolonged grief due to the after-effects of COVID whereby many people did not even get to say goodbye to their loved ones, nor attend their funerals in some cases, which is why I have included this here. I can assess which stage you may be stuck at, which will come as a welcome relief after feeling as though you may have taken leave of your senses in terms of not being able to move on since the loss occurred.
Grief is a normal process of reacting to loss and involves mental, physical, social and emotional reactions that include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair. Grief also affects memory, concentration, cognition and physical health, showing itself in such ways as digestive problems and sleep disturbances. The body holds grief in the heart, your heart aches.
There is no specific way to grieve, but we do move through distinct phases as seen below. The process of grief is not linear, so you may go back and forth through the stages as you come to terms with your loss. Processing grief is tough and there is no specific time period for any of these stages.
Feelings of grief also happen because of other types of loss such as:
Bereavement |The end of a relationship |Loss of job |Moving to a new location |Decline in physical and/or mental health.
There are six stages of grief
Shock and numbness: Shock and numbness are the first stage, and can last from days to weeks depending on the circumstances of the loss, for instance whether the loss was expected or unexpected.
Denial is a coping tool used whilst coming to terms with the loss. You may even deny the loss altogether.
Anger is a typically common process of grief and, in the case of death, can be directed towards the person who died, or you may blame someone else you feel is responsible.
Bargaining is another coping mechanism used in the grieving process which is usually directed at a higher power, for instance God. In the case of death, some may bargain by saying I will do this, that and the other if I can have the person back.
Depression is usually the longest and most difficult stage of grief. This can cause feelings of helplessness, sadness and a lack of enthusiasm that can last for months, even years.
Acceptance is the final stage, which enables you to talk about the loss, accept your feelings, and move on with life.
I do not think we ever get over the loss, but we do learn to live with it.
The Queen once said (quoting Colin Murray Parkes), “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm’s all about.” Haruki Murakami, in Kafka on the Shore.