Grief is a normal and understandable emotional reaction to loss. But grief is more than just an emotion — it’s a process we go through after a loss. Many of us are familiar with the “5 stages of grief” (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance), but what you might not know is that not everyone experiences the stages in that order, nor does everyone experience each stage distinctly.
Still, it’s helpful to know that grief must be allowed to unfold and that being patient with the process can help. Many of us are focused on speeding things up, and “getting over” our losses, but grieving takes time, and pushing feelings aside can only make things worse.
Most instances of grief can be treated with time, some TLC from loved ones, along with a good counselor or therapist to listen and advise. If you feel “stuck” in a cycle of grief, you may have developed persistent complex bereavement disorder, which is when grief is long-lasting, severe, and debilitating. Therapy, medication, or both are helpful and effective for this as well.