The 7 stages of grief
- Shock and denial.
- Pain and guilt.
- Anger and bargaining.
- The upward turn.
- Reconstruction and working through.
- Acceptance and hope.
For the Guide to Lina Schofield’s 10 stages of Grief Click here
Emotional Symptoms of Grieving
- Increased irritability.
- Preoccupation with loss.
- Inability to show or experience joy.
How long does grief last?
There is no rigid timetable for grief. You may start to feel better in 6 to 8 weeks, however the whole process can last from 6 months to 4 years. You may start to feel better in small ways as time progresses. It will start to get a little easier to get up each morning, or maybe you’ll have more energy to get through the day.
Trauma often includes loss of some kind– whether it be the loss of an individual, loss of safety, or sense of identity. Therefore, feelings of grief, loss, and isolation, or abandonment are common responses in the outcome of a traumatic incident. Feelings of grief are a normal response to loss and in most cases, resolve as time progresses. When the circumstances around loss are unexpected, the grieving process can become stuck for a while, leaving individuals in a state of Complicated or Traumatic Grief. Common symptoms of complicated grief can include distressing intrusive thoughts, excessive feelings of guilt, isolation and yearning, sleep disturbance, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, and attempts to avoid any cues of the trauma or loss.
People with PTSD often experience feelings of panic or extreme fear, comparable to the fear they experienced during the traumatic event. A person with PTSD experiences four main types of difficulties.
- Re-living the traumatic event – The person relives the event through unwelcome and repeated memories, often in the form of vivid images and nightmares. There might be strong emotional or physical responses, such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic when reminded of the event.
- Being overly alert or wound up – The person experiences sleep difficulty, irritability, lack of attentiveness, becoming easily surprised and constantly on the lookout for threats and hazards.
- Avoiding reminders of the event – The person purposely avoids activities, events, locations, individuals, thoughts or feelings related to the event because it reminds them of painful memories.
- Feeling emotionally numb – The person loses interest in regular activities, feels cut off and disconnected from friends and family, or feels emotionally flat and numb.
Simple Strategies to get through each day with PTSD
What treatments are available for PTSD?
Many people experience some of the symptoms of PTSD in the first few of weeks following a traumatic event, but most recover on their own or with the assistance and support of family and friends. Due to this, treatment does not usually commence until about two weeks following a traumatic experience. During those first few days and weeks, it is vital to get whatever help is needed.
Support from family and friends is very significant for most individuals. Aiming to minimise other stressful life stressors allows the person to commit more time towards more on their journey to recovery. If a person feels very distressed at any time after a traumatic incident, they should talk to a doctor or other health professional regarding this. If a person experiences symptom of PTSD that persevere past two weeks, a doctor or a mental health professional may recommend beginning treatment for PTSD.
Effective treatments are available for PTSD. Most involve psychological treatment (talking therapy), but medication can also be prescribed in some cases. Generally, it’s best to commence with psychological treatment instead of medication as the first and only solution to combat the problem.
Try the following
- Slow breathing. When you’re anxious, your breathing becomes faster and shallower. Try consciously slowing down your breathing. Count to three as you breathe in slowly – then count to three as you breathe out slowly.
- Progressive muscle relaxation. Find a quiet location. Close your eyes, tense and then slowly relax your muscles. Hold this tension for three seconds and then release quickly. This procedure can help ease muscle tension
- Stay in the present moment. Anxiety can often burden our minds with unrealistic, racing thoughts. Instead, try to anchor yourself back to where you are in the present. Practicing meditation can also help.
Healthy lifestyle. It’s important to engage in physical exercise, eating a healthy and balanced diet, immerse yourself into nature, devote time to family and friends and doing the activities you enjoy. These are all effective in reducing stress and enhancing your overall wellbeing.