Letting Go – The Practical Side
Years ago a woman named Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book entitled On Death and Dying. This book was inspired by her work with terminally ill patients and in it she outlined what she considered the five stages of grief. The five stages include: 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression, and 5) acceptance. Kubler-Ross recognized that not all people experience all five stages, nor do all people experience them in the order she listed them.
Have you recently lost a loved one? Are you currently experiencing one or more of the stages of grief listed above? I have worked with numerous patients as they navigated their way through the grieving process. The process can be confusing, exhausting and sometimes feel like it will never end. I have had several people tell me they actually felt like they were “going crazy”—crazy because one moment they feel sad and depressed, the next angry and the next like nothing ever happened and the person they lost is still alive (denial).
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Just knowing about the stages of grief that could be experienced helps grieving people know what to expect and feel less “crazy.” But of course, there is a trickier part. Bereavement and depression can look alike. Normal or textbook grieving should only last a few months. That is not to say you won’t feel sad from time to time after your loved one passes, but you should be moving forward with your life after a few months have passed. If you do not find yourself coming out of your grieving period you must watch for symptoms of depression. A trained psychotherapist can help you distinguish between grief and depression.
A therapist can also help you identify and implement coping skills to help you manage your grief. She may even be able to refer you to special bereavement support groups. She will also talk to you about anniversary reactions and how to handle them. When a loved one dies, anniversaries like his/her birthday, the day s/he died, as well as holidays can be especially difficult. A therapist can provide emotional support to you during these difficult times and offer a safe space where you can share your feelings.
If you are dealing with feelings of grief or depression and would like to speak to a trained psychotherapist, please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services of Orlando today at (407) 620-7855 to make an appointment to speak with a therapist.