Octaviano: Five stages of grieving

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By Rose Jessica Octaviano

A Sound Mind

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


LOSING a loved one happens to many people. This loss could be from death or it could also be from a breakup. Many would think that a breakup is between spouses or between a boyfriend and a girlfriend.

But there is also a friendship breakup. It is also as painful, especially if trust is broken. What if you lose a boyfriend to your best friend? That truly hurts.

According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of “normal” grieving. These are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

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Sometimes some people would go into depression first, then anger. These stages are inter-changeable and one moves between the stages. People are different and unique from one another.

Grieving is a personal process. There is no time limit or any right way of grieving. Take your time. It is important though that one can function well and one would know when one needs professional help.

Denial is a defense mechanism that shields shock. When a person loses a loved one, one usually refutes the idea of losing. One would think or respond, “it’s not true,” or “he/she promised that h/she would never leave me.” It is a temporary response to shield the person from the shock of a painful reality.

Anger is another normal emotion. One feels resentful that his/her partner left him/her, for making him/her suffer. Since that partner is dead or has left, anger is expressed to other people or to object, or even to self.

Bargaining is when one prays to a higher being, to God, to make a deal, e.g. “I promise to be a better Catholic/Christian if you let him/her come back to me.” “I will go to church every day.” This is the time when one thinks of the “if only....”

Depression is the feeling of extreme sadness and maybe regret. One’s self-esteem may become low. One may want to die to be “reunited” with the loved one.

Acceptance is being at peace. One has forgiven the loved one who has left you through death or a breakup. It could also be forgiving yourself for being too harsh on yourself. It is a gift when one reaches this stage.

Many are “stuck” in depression stage.

If you are still stuck in depression, you may contact the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) Bacolod-Negros Occidental Chapter at 433-8868 or email at pmha_bacolod@yahoo.com.ph or this writer at jet.octaviano@gmail.com. We would be glad to help you.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 05, 2014.

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