I’ve read there are 5 stages of grief, and lately I’ve come to believe in them. There’s an order to them. That’s where the gray area comes in for me. It seems fairly plausible that feelings experienced after the occurrence of a traumatic event can be categorized and even generalized to an extent. But I don’t necessarily agree this can be neatly plotted on a timeline, as if one ends and the next begins. In my experience, healing from grief is complicated, confusing, and messy. Regardless, my need to find logic even in emotion makes me gravitate toward the idea that when something bad happens, I’ll gradually work my way through the stages, and feel better.
The 5 stages are as follows:
What it feels like: “This isn’t happening, it can’t be happening, everything is still ok.”
Signs it’s almost over: Everybody knows the bad thing happened, even strangers. It feels ridiculous and exhausting to keep pretending it didn’t happen.
What it feels like: “Crap, this is happening! Why?!? It’s not fair! I hate the Universe!”
Signs it’s almost over: Not punching walls anymore or breaking things or generally being mean to everyone.
What it feels like: “Please, Universe, give me another chance. I promise, I’ll do better this time, I’ll be better, I’ll do anything.”
Signs it’s almost over: Nothing is left to offer as leverage.
What it feels like: “I give up. You win, Universe. I’ll never be happy again.”
Signs it’s almost over: Ability to go 48 consecutive hours without crying or feeling like crying or thinking about crying.
What it feels like: “The bad thing happened, but it’s gonna be ok.”