It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
Grieving is a process that happens for a lot of situations in life. You could grieve over a loved one, a relationship, a job, and so many more. There are a lot of people out there that may tell you how you should grieve or even tell you that you’re not doing it the right way. I’m here to tell you that your way IS the right way! Grieving is not a linear process and it often looks so wildly different for everyone. You can grieve in your own way, but please know two things; it’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to ask for help.
There are 5 identified stages of grief, however, everyone goes through the stages at their own pace. It’s not something you can control, but you can find ways to help yourself cope with your grief.
-Grief is an extremely overwhelming and uncomfortable feeling, so it’s not unusual for people to respond to these feelings by pretending the loss or change isn’t happening. Denying gives you more time to process and start to accept the situation as well as acts as a defense mechanism to numb your emotions.
-As you move through the process and start to exit the denial stage, the feelings you’ve been suppressing will begin to rise and you’ll be confronted with a lot of feelings you had previously denied.
-While denial can act as a coping mechanism, anger acts as a mask to cover the emotions you really need to feel. Your anger could be directed at your lost loved one, your boss, even inanimate objects.
-Your anger may not be clear-cut fury, but could present itself as resentment or bitterness and many others. As your anger subsides, you may be able to think about the situation more clearly and feel the emotions you’ve been pushing aside.
-Grieving may make you feel vulnerable and helpless at times and it’s not uncommon to look for ways to regain control. In this stage, you may find yourself creating a lot of “What if” or “If only” statements.
-Bargaining is a line of defense against the emotions of grief; it helps you postpone the sadness, confusion, or hurt but it doesn’t make those feelings go away.
-Unlike anger and bargaining, depression can feel like the “quiet” stage of grief. In the early stages of grief, you may find yourself running from your emotions, trying to stay a step ahead. By this point, you may be able to embrace your feelings and work through them in a more healthy way.
-Depression may seem like the inevitable landing point of any loss, however that doesn’t mean it’s the end of your road and I encourage you to reach out for help if you feel stuck.
-Acceptance isn’t necessarily a happy or uplifting emotion and it doesn’t mean that you’ve moved past or forgotten about your grief. However, it does mean that you’ve been able to accept it and have come to understand what it means in your life moving forward.
-You may feel very different in this stage, and that’s expected because you’ve had a major change in your life that also changes the way you feel about a lot of things.
As someone that has had to go through the grieving process, I can honestly tell you that it can be messy and really difficult, but it is SO worth it. It may seem a lot easier to push your feelings aside and just try to move forward, but I can promise you that it won’t make your feelings go away. Whatever the situation may be, always know, your feelings are valid and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone gets there in their own time, but please don’t feel like you have to grieve alone. If you feel like you’re getting stuck, reach out to a therapist, grief counselor, or even a friend because talking to someone is better than not talking at all.
Be well and make sure to listen to what your mind and body are telling you.
Thank you for reading!
Youth Peer Support Specialist