Grief & Loss
Throughout the years, the Five stages of Loss and Grief have been the staple on dealing with the loss of a loved on. In this essay, I will elaborate my personal views that extend on the Bargaining stage of grief. Bargaining can happen at any time before, during or after the loss. It involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone, delay or cure the inevitable. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the root of bargaining is all about gaining control, the individual is saying, “I understand I will die, but if I could do something to buy more time…” some other common thoughts associated with bargaining can be "if only we had sought medical attention sooner," "If only we had gotten a second opinion from another doctor," "If only I had tried to be a there more". Yet, realistically, bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially when dealing with death.
I believe that the amount someone grieves is directly proportional to the type of relationship the person had towards the deceased. Seems like a basic concept, yet, it is filled with a load of emotional baggage that may at times be hard to gauge and even harder to understand. Often, the person grieving is drowned by a sea of guilt and hopelessness. This is one way our mind deals with coping through loss. This happens because our mind wants to get back to a state of "normalcy" as quickly and efficiently as possible and uses control as its vehicle. When something bad happens, such as dealing with the loss of a loved one, the first thing the mind seeks to find control. This is usually done through seeking some form of participation in order to fix the situation. But how can someone "fix the situation" when the person is dead or dying? It's not like we have the powers to bring them back to life. This defeat can crumble us and make us more hopeless, angry, and depressed. The mind goes into panic mode and is desperately seeking a way to gain back some control. Therefore, feelings of guilt arise as our mind seeks to find a mode of “participation”. It is almost the only thing it can do, as a default, because it has nothing else. Looking at it closer, it makes a lot of sense; guilt gives the person a senses of participation, a sense of doing something (though its counterintuitive since the guilt is a form of self punishment, it's still doing something and that is better than nothing at all), it's the only way the psyche knows how to gain back a sense of control it had originally lost.
This guilt, is the psyche's way of self-medicating itself through the pain of losing someone. Making excessive grieving a testimony of how the person viewed the lost one and what that person meant to them. It can be quite humbling to know that the amount of grieving is reflective towards the amount of love and admiration the person had with the deceased. Making the greater the love, the greater and more difficult the mourning process. Understandably, the length and type of mourning and the degree in how it affects us varies in all of us. Often, I find what is most helpful is not the type of advice one gives, or the type of coping mechanism one uses. Rather than the need for doing something, maybe the solution is just sitting with the person in their pain. Just being there and allowing the person to go through the necessary motions they need to in order to make peace and move on. This task is often more difficult to grasp and at times frustrating, and sometimes therapy becomes useful. Seeking a therapist that will allow the mourner to process their grief properly, work through their guilt, and gain a healthy sense of participation is essential in finding inner peace towards a healthy recovery.
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