When we lose someone or something important to us, we deny it, get angry, try to bring them back, and give up on them. Does this sound familiar? Those were the first four steps of grief; the last stage is what we all strive to eventually reach in the Kubler-Ross model — acceptance.
Although it’s painful to go through the stages in solitude, it’s absolutely necessary. Whenever we feel sad, we might be tempted to distract ourselves by thinking about other things, hanging out with other people, and avoiding anything that reminds us of the loss. Distraction might make it harder for the storm to pass.
I’ve been reading a friend’s blog for some time now from way before he broke up with his girlfriend. They’d been dating for two years, and everyone was sure that they would last forever. However, she had become distant and he suspected that her heart was somewhere else. We don’t know if that’s true. One day after not seeing each other for two weeks, he broke up with her. She walked off, leaving her ring commemorating their two-year anniversary behind with him.
Since then, he has passed through the stages of denial, anger, and bargaining. About to enter the stage of depression, he is quietly cleaning up the pieces of memories around him. The stuffed animal. The ring. The carelessly-placed bits.
The most important stage is to come. The stage of depression is possibly the most critical part in recovery and growth. Some people can get back up and live their lives happily again. Some get back up, but lose faith or certainty in their future. As for the unfortunate, they may fall back to previous stages or give up on their lives. Even in cases where intervention is recommended, I believe a person will only fully recover in solitude with the loss.
If you’ve lost someone or something important to you, please do not distract yourself from the problem. You may feel like nothing will work out and that you have no hope, but why do you keep thinking about the loss? Why does everything remind you of it, and why does it hurt so much? You may not realize it, but your mind does.
Your mind keeps trying to understand, learn, grow, and finally be happy again. When we run away from the situation, our mind has to start the recovery process all over from the beginning. I can see that my friend is still living like he did before, but just reflecting a lot on his relationship alone. I have confidence that he will recover. He will be happy, have faith in himself, and love again.