Is it normal to experience grief after any loss? Do you experience the feeling of grief?
I am the kind of person, usually with enthusiasm. My dominant emotion is happiness. But slight loss tends to help me develop all kinds of negative emotions and thoughts. I was in a feeling of grief at that stage. I distanced myself from social relationships. My social circle started reducing, and no one acknowledged my grief towards my loss. Later on, I understood this grief had caused the loss in me, and finally, I tried to overcome the loss effectively.
So what does grief exactly mean to you? Grief is a normal feeling and a natural reaction to any loss in life. Thus, your grief’s feelings are also normal and natural; it is not different in you. The only problem is that we have been socialized with stigma to believe that these feelings of grief are abnormal and unnatural to a human. The expression of the feeling of grief is essential and quite normal. You may experience grief due to the physical, psychological, and social loss of the person. Grief is defined as a mental, physical, social, and emotional reaction to loss.
Is grief a disease? Absolutely, no! Grief is a feeling or expression, or response of an individual towards the loss. Grief is an intense feeling of physical and psychological response to any loss.
What are the stages of grief?
Stage 1 (Denial): It is a state of refusing consciously or unconsciously, and it is also a kind of a defence mechanism. Many individuals with grief start with a denial of the traumatic experience period
Stage 2 (Anger): The individual with a feeling of grief expresses anger towards himself or herself and the environment. They may have an intrinsic emotional upset and may develop anger
Stage 3 (Bargaining): The bargaining stage involves bargaining for loss with the supernatural belief or with the people directly or indirectly involved with the loss
Stage 4 (Depression): The continuous thoughts of grief towards loss tend to develop the symptoms of depression. This causes an impact on your psychological wellbeing.
Stage 5 (Acceptance): Acceptance is the last stage of the grieving process. Individuals accept the situation of loss and move out of it.
What are the feelings of grief: you may express anger to others. You may experience sadness and a guilty attitude towards loss. You may have the chance of developing an anxiety disorder, sleep problems, poor sleep hygiene, hallucinations, and withdrawal from society, confusion. You may also feel lonely, fatigued, helpless, and preoccupied.
Types of Grief:
Anticipatory grief: It is the type of grief in which you and your family expect someone’s death. Thus, you and your family enter grief during the loss and come out of grief with the period
Normal or common grief: It is the standard and quite a common type of grief as the individual moves to the final stage of grief. The acceptance towards the loss happens, but still, you face difficulty in coping with daily activities
Complicated grief: This type of grief is very chronic, delayed and distorted for you and your family member with physical, psychological, and social dysfunctions.
Disenfranchised grief: This type of grief occurs in individuals with a personal loss of a person or things. The society for family members don’t accept this kind of grief
Is grief occurs differently with lifespan? Yes!
3-5 years (Childhood): A child belonging between 3-5 years is egocentric and seek others’ attention. During this period, if the child loses anyone, they develop the thinking pattern that the child is responsible for the loss. This loss may develop grief which in turn causes issues in developmental stages. Various negative emotions occur predominantly and cause intrinsic anger, sadness, guilt, and also anxiety (Worden, 1996) (Sheet, 1996)
6-12 years: During this schooling age, the child learns many new basic skills and are very interested in learning social skills. They try to relate their cultural beliefs towards it. Suppose the child faces any kind of grief due to loss. In that case, they lag in developing all the skills and developing an unwillingness to enter or go to schools and relate with a peer group. They start to develop prominent negative emotions like sadness, guilt, anger, and temper tantrums.
13-19 year (Adolescents): Adolescence is the stage in which you develop more interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and self-esteem. In this stage, the individual develops self-identity and starts to stand alone. If any loss occurs during this stage, you develop some serious mental health problems like depression rather than guilt and sadness. This grief may impact all your aspects of life like education, relationship, and daily routines. There is also an equal chance of developing substance use and abuse
20-40 years (Young adulthood): The grief due to loss during this period will, in turn, develop parental problems, emptiness, relationship problems, and guilt.
40-60 years (Middle adulthood): Middle adulthood may develop various kinds of loss and develop grief like young adults. In addition to that, they also develop grief due to retirement from work
60 and above years (Elder adulthood): Elder adults establish various losses in their life due to the age factor. The feeling of grief occurs primarily due to the loss of a spouse and younger-aged relatives.
Sheet, F. (1996). Grief Reactions Over the Life Span. Fact Sheet #12, American Counseling Association. https://www.counseling.org/docs/trauma-disaster/fact-sheet-12---grief-reactions-over-the-life-span.pdf?sfvrsn=2