What is Grief?
Losing a loved one is heartbreaking — the grief you experience is a normal part of dealing with loss.1 There is no right or wrong definition or right or wrong way to deal with grief. It is a natural feeling which comes with the loss of someone close to you or you love. The loss can be the death, divorce or ending a relationship. Grief is both personal and universal experience to a natural reaction. The process of grieving is an important process in order to overcome all the feelings and emotions experienced. It is a powerful and overwhelming emotion experienced by people.
“A lot of times people want to move on from grief. You are waiting for life to feel normal again. You are waiting to feel like yourself. And I say, grief isn’t something that we are mean to move on from. It’s something we are meant to move with. We are meant to pick it up and carry it with us even if we are inching forward. Like we are getting stronger because of the things we’ve been through.”Jenna Kutcher at School of Greatness Podcast2
The 5 stages of Grief
The five stages of grief were introduced by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 in her book ‘Death and Dying’;
Stage 1 – Denial
This page lets you survive the emotional pain. The denial stage involves suppressing your feelings and processing the feeling of loss. It is hard to experience the pain behind your loss, people sometimes don’t know how to react in a certain situation which leads them to this denial stage. The shift in reality after loss becomes enigmatic to adjust in. This stage works on the principle of ‘This can’t be happening to me’. Denial slows down the process of processing our feelings or emotions after a huge loss.
Stage 2 – Anger
Anger is usually the first emotion we experience while in a shift of emotions. This stage depends upon ‘ Why is this happening to me and who is to be balme?’. It is completely normal to experience anger most of the time people isolate themselves during the healing process. But is it to be understood that social acceptance at this stage is very much necessary.
Stage 3 – Bargaining
The feeling of helplessness leads you to say or feel like ‘Make this not happen, In return I will _____’. The feeling of bargaining again is a very common and personal feeling where you directly go to the higher authority. The shift of reality leads you to make every possible effort in order to make things right. Sometimes we also recall the times and want to change the things we did or the words we said. But this feeling is a part of the healing process only, where you are now aware of what is happening and wanting to make it right at any cost.
Stage 4 – Depression
After putting all your efforts in bargaining, when you finally start to feel and face the reality and absorb what is happening around, you tend to pull inwards as the level of sadness increases and it gets heavier for us. And generally you get the feeling of ‘I’m too sad, I don’t feel like doing anything’. The drained energy puts you in such a situation of a very natural stage of grief. Dealing with this stage can be very self-isolating and evacuative.
Stage 5 – Acceptance
This stage comes with a beautiful gift of feeling, ‘I’m at peace with what happened’. The stage of acceptance comes after all the struggle which makes you not want to struggle in making anything different. With the presence of sadness and regret you also learn to deal with our feelings here.
Coping with the loss of your loved one
We’ll start things off with this incredibly inspiring love story that begins the movie “Up”.3 This is one of our favourite love stories because it shows the phases and seasons of life through the power of love. And, the best part is, that it’s a story told with no words! A truly beautiful inspiration for showing us the healing process of grief. Determined to save his home and keep the promise he made to his wife, widower Carl Fredricksen embarks on a journey to the mysterious Paradise Falls in an airship of his own invention. Along the way he meets his childhood hero, forms a bond with a boy who has an absent father, and realises the preciousness of the life he lived as well as the one he now lives. There is no right or wrong way to grief. Everyone just functions differently. But, grieving individuals may use some of these tips;
- Talk with others
This process can be quite isolating. Whenever we feel alone try to reach out to people and share our feelings. Don’t expect anyone to answer, just expect them to be aware, in this case we can also reach out to any professional who can take care of our feelings and emotions.
- Allow yourself to experience your emotions
It is ok to feel your emotions and be aware of it. Give yourself some time and space to experience the bundled up emotions. Don’t feel guilty for any emotion coming our way, take our time to analyse. We may feel a number of emotions at the same time, do not judge yourself. Some people set aside time to think about our loved ones and feel the emotions we experience. This approach is good for people who find it difficult to express their feelings in front of others but as this approach is quite addictive so take care while doing so.
- Forgive yourself
Forgive yourself for the emotions you feel and for the things you have done in the past or the words you have said. Forgive yourself for the regret you have for doing and not doing a certain thing. Try to focus on positive thoughts.
- Find ways to connect with yourself
Indulge in the activities of your interest. Spare some time to focus on yourself. This may help you experience your emotions and help you get rid of negative thoughts. The healing process may bring a feeling of being disconnected from oneself, try not to fall in the trap and keep yourself engaged in the activities of self-love. Keep a track of physical activities like workout or any sports that may also help you stay focused.
- Plan ahead for ‘triggers’
Triggering situations or milestones can bring a roller coaster of emotions. Try to plan these days in advance so you won;’t get stuck within your thoughts and feelings. For example, you can be alone or find yourself some motivating task to perform that day.
Online Counselling for Grief
According to the American Psychological Association (APA)4, grief counselling is the “provision of advice, information, and psychological support” to help people regain the ability to function following a loss. It helps you and guides you through the 5 stages of healing and grieving.
How does online counselling and therapy help?
- Helps you cope up with daily life activities.
- Helps you understand your feelings while providing you with your safe space.
- Provides you with methods and strategies.
- Helps you rebuild your routine.
- Helps you in self acceptance and self-awareness.
Types of Online Grief Counselling
(American Psychiatric Association) APA suggests that online counselling is equivalent to offline counselling. It also lets you connect with any therapist throughout the world. There are some days you don’t feel like going out. In that case you can opt for an online counselling session rather than making efforts to go out.
Online Chat Support
There are many online chat rooms where you can connect to any therapist and it allows you to chat or call the person while maintaining your confidentiality. The benefit is it does not let you move out and is easily available for people in remote areas.
Such groups are formed where people in similar situations can connect to each other and help each other through the healing process. You can connect to any person in the world while being present at your place. The feeling of reassurance helps you to get out of the pain. You can access online support communities on Quora and Reddit.
Coming out of the feeling of grief may look or sound easy but it requires all your efforts and energy. It destroys us from within, without even letting us be aware about it. In a similar situation always remember you are not alone and it is completely normal to seek help, there is always a way to heal you just have to trust the process and be aware. Online counselling allows you to open up while being at your safe space.
There are many top behavioural health professionals on TickTalkTo like Era Sharma, Thasneem Kauser, Neeraj Sharma , Shalini Tyagi, and Rohini Karhadkar who can support you in the grieving process. You can download the TickTalkTo mobile app and access quality support from the comfort of your home.