CoViD-19 has impacted our lives in how we function in our physical world and economically but the longer it lasts, the more it will impact us emotionally. Prior to starting my own consulting firm in 1999, I had worked as a non-clinical team member at our local hospice. There, I first learned of the Grief Cycle and I began to think we can experience grief at other times other than the loss of a loved one.
Don’t we also experience grief whenever we lose other things? A marriage? A job? A friendship? Money? One’s personal security?
Denial is usually the first response. When we feel that denial can no longer continue, we move next to the second phase – Anger. Anger is an emotional response to being frustrated, irritated or even anxious. Questions we tend to ask ourselves is “Why me?” “This is not fair!” “How can this be happening?” “Who is to blame?”
In addition to various feelings of injustice, we may become angry because we are losing our patience, feeling as if our opinion or our efforts aren't appreciated. Other causes of anger may include memories of traumatic or enraging events from our past. And some of these might be buried deep in our subconscious mind, only being brought to our consciousness due to new circumstances.
In grief, sometimes the feeling of denial and anger lead us to the lowest point, Depression. Of course, this depends on the severity of the grief. Thoughts may include: “I miss what I’ve lost; so why should I go on?” “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?” We may go here because we feel so overwhelmed or helpless about our circumstances. Or we may feel hostile.
If we get truly down about our circumstances, we may become silent, refuse to connect with others, withdraw and spend much of our time alone. It’s easy to see how people can enter this phase because we are already isolated and not by choice. Keep in mind that this is the lowest point of the Grief Cycle and not everyone always enters this phase before our outlook improves.
Knowing that so many are adjusting to what has become our new normal, we are offering this five-part series of blog entries focused on the Grief Cycle, a model first introduced by the Swiss-American psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying.
This event has ended.
To support our audience even more, we would like to host a dialogue virtually Tuesday, May 26th from 12:00 – 12:30 PM (Eastern US), where we discuss reactions to the topics of Anger and Depression.
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear.
The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier
to say “My tooth is aching” than
to say “My heart is broken.” - C.S. Lewis