Online sessions now available.Kristian S. Nibe - clinical psychologist and ISTDP practitioner.
Symptoms of grief.
Grief affects people in different ways. Right after a loss it may be difficult to accept what has happened, and it isn’t unusual to feel that one is losing it, going crazy, going numb, or feel like living in a bad dream.
The five stages of grief.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross conducted in 1969 a study of people with a non-curable disease where she studied what emotional and behavioral stages they went through after receiving news of their disease.
She concluded that the grieving process goes through five main stages. Later these five stages were assumed to account for a grieving process independent of the type of loss experienced. The five stages are:
- Denial: “This can’t happen to me.” Refusal to believe the new reality the loss has created. Often people in this state are in shock.
- Anger: “Why is this happening to me? Who is to blame?”. In the second stage people transition from the passivity of the denial towards a phase of frustration and acting out. Here people are looking for someone to blame rather than dealing with their own feelings.
- Negotiation: “If it somehow goes away, then I promise I will…”. The new reality begins to dawn upon the individual, and with it comes sadness and sorrow.
- Depression: “I’m too wrecked to do anything at all.”. This is the most intense stage in the grieving process where one alternates between sadness, apathy, rage, anxiety, depression, and self-blaming.
- Acceptance: “I have come to terms with what has happened.”. After processing all the feelings from the loss, one is finally able to accept and reconcile with what has happened. Gratitude, forgiveness, and love towards the lost can give a newfound strength and inner peace.
Other research regarding the grieving process indicates that not everyone that grieves go through all the five stages Kubler-Ross proposed. It’s not a prerequisite to go through each of the five stages in order to relieve the grief. Many go through the sorrow and handles this by only going through the last two stages.
It’s not even a certain that the grieving process follows the order from stage one to five like the model describes. Kubler-Ross didn’t intend that the stages should be a rigid frame that described everyone that grieves. The stages are grieving responses to a loss that many people experiences, but there is not a fixed response pattern to a loss that fits everyone. A grieving process is as individual as our lives.
Grief after death.
If a loved one has died, there are for many a period where one hopes that the loved one will return again, even though one knows that the loved one is gone forever.
Profound sadness is the most common symptom during the grieving process. One can feel emptiness, despair, longing, or an enormous loneliness, and it’s not unusual to cry unstoppable or to feel emotionally unstable. Both symptoms of anxiety and symptoms of depression are common in the early grieving phases. In some cases the grief is so overwhelming that it can trigger psychotic episodes.
Often there’s guilt or anger for things that were said or done, or for things that wasn’t said or done. Also common is guilt for feeling certain feelings, for example to feel relief that the loved died after a long or painful illness. It’s also common to feel guilty for not doing enough to prevent the death, even though there was nothing to be done.
Even though no one is to blame for the loss, there’s often anger and bitterness. This anger may take the form of self-condemnation. In addition, there might be anger towards God, the doctors, family members, friends, and even towards the person that died for having abandoned close ones.
Anxiety, uncertainty, sadness, fear, and problems thinking clearly can last for a while. A death of someone close can trigger fear and thoughts of ones own mortality. Worries about now being alone and all the responsibility that it brings often creates helplessness and passivity.
Grief is not only an emotional process, but often involve physical problems such as exhaustion, nausea, reduced immune system, weight changes, aches and pain, and sleep disturbances.
Sometimes the grief and sorrow doesn’t let go and its emotional responses, anxiety, and depression can last for a long time, even years. In this situation it can be beneficial to get help in order to understand what is keeping these reactions and symptoms alive so that it’s possible to let them go and move on in life.
Online consultations available.
Use the contact form below for any inquiries. Please state briefly the nature of your problem, when and how you are available, and how you prefer to conduct payment (Credit Card or PayPal).
Consultations are available for either 45 minutes or 90 minutes, and are conducted by video either through Skype or appear.in. Alternatively I also offer sessions through chat/e-mail.
The price per 45 minute consultation is 160 Euro. The price for a 90 minute consultation is 300 Euro.