What is grief ?

Much is written about grief and how to deal with it, the stages.

Typically, the seven stages of grief are described as:
– Shock or Disbelief
– Denial
– Anger
– Bargaining
– Guilt
– Depression
– Acceptance and Hope

Sometimes, people speak of five stages of grieving, putting together:
– Shock/Disbelief and Denial
– Bargaining and Guilt.

This is not a mechanistic model — the stages do not occur the same way for all people; they can last very little time, or a long time; and they can be inter-related. You do not necessarily  move through each stage in turn and once you  have been through a stage does not mean you will not return there. To learn more on dealing with grief read Elizabeth Klubler-Ross’s Seven Stages of Grief Model here

I would like to discuss more WHAT IS GRIEF as much as been written about how to deal with it. At the moment I am going through a profound period grief for the babies I lost. The babies that were taken away from me in my teenage years. I have no bodies to mourn, I  had no funerals to attend, just a snatching away at time of birth without even a cuddle. That grief is complicated by feelings of esoteric, inexplicable guilt that I did not protect my children even though I was only just fourteen when the first was born and just turned sixteen when the third came into this world. I know the logic that I was only a child myself and in the control of others, unable to do anything about my situation but that does not assuage my feelings and emotions. They cannot be separated in the mind of one with Complex PTSD.

So what are the things we say about grief. Well it is human and it is universal. It is felt by the entire human race and all cultures and many believe the animal kingdom. There are a host of words associated with the word; sorrow, misery, sadness, anguish, pain, distress, agony, torment, affliction, suffering, heartache, heartbreak, broken-heartedness, heaviness of heart, woe, desolation, despondency, dejection, despair, angst, mortification to name but a few so as you can see it is wrought with sentimental emotions that wrench at the inner soul. Is it any wonder then that we get plunged in such periods of desolation when going through the LOSS of grief as that is the key word. Loss. We loose something fundamental to our lives and inner selves, something so fundamental that it submerges us and our emotions into a temporary oblivion to the present everyday living cognisant only of the absence of our catastrophe and debt of life. What once seemed important no longer seems relevant.

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss and is all consuming in it’s the emotional antiphon. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, and grief is the reaction to that loss. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft or the loss of independence through disability. Grief therefore comes in many forms which makes it a slippery eel and can be deceptive and hard to diagnosis. Never underestimate what can cause you grief and how long it can last.

Loss experienced by grief can be categorised as either physical or abstract, the physical loss being related to something that the individual can touch or measure, such as losing a spouse through death, while other types of loss are abstract, and relate to aspects of a person’s social interactions. 

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