It's not just a death of a loved one that can get you into the grief cycle.
Did you know that any loss can throw out into the cycle? And if you don't know what is happening you might be surprised and overwhelmed by the sudden changes. I had no idea about the cycle until I applied to court for child care arrangement and as part of the agreement was to attend a course where they explain many things including the Grief Cycle. Why? you might ask. It made perfect sense. Any loss we experience can through you into all sorts of unexplained behaviours. Grief and sadness is there for a reason - to help you adjust to the new reality. What is a major loss or one person is hardly noticeable to others therefore it's very important to keep this in mind if someone you know is experiencing emotions from the grief cycle following a loss.
This can be anything from losing a job, money, friendship, freedom, relationship, sense of control over ones life... different people value different thing. If you read my article about Motivation you will know that what we need varies from person to person and it's the same with the loss. Be understanding when you talk to someone even if you don't get why such a seemingly trivial thing means so much to them.
What is the Grief Cycle? it's a little misleading in a way that it doesn't really follow certain path or order. You can find yourself going from one feeling to another. From Denial where you just don't accept the situation - and many people experienced that during first lockdown and some during the third one too.
Then there is Anger. Unexplained or surprising bursts of anger that are normal yet so many people get this wrong and judge the person who is going through the experience. The feeling of anger is often incontrollable but being patient and understanding without making the grieving feel any worse is the key to help someone who's going through the motions of the Grief Cycle.
What if's statements are typical for the Bargaining stage of the Grief cycle. Trying to get the control back or pray for good outcome. Promise the world only for the things to get better. This stage is like a defense mechanism against sadness and hurt. Felling that somehow you can reverse the event and get back to what life was like before.
Sadness, Depression & Despair - the opposite of Anger understandably belong to the Grief Cycle. In this part there is no energy and it's time of feeling helpless and hopeless. But it's also time to slow down and figure out how to adapt to a new life after the loss.
Please seek medical help if you think you're suffering from depression. It's best to get the right support as soon as possible. Your GP should be your first step. Or seek help through organisations like Mind or your local Mental Health NHS networks.
In the Acceptance stage, you will start seeing your life beyond the current situation. It doesn't always mean happy ending but accepting that the situation or the loss is out of your control will help you to move on. Step by step. There will be new hope and a light at the end of the tunnel you might not have seen before.
The Grist Cycle doesn't follow any pattern. You can go in and out of different stages at different times. It's best to seek professional help to get the best support but talking about your feelings and worries helps to offload the burden a bit even if you don't think so.
If you're supporting someone who is suffering from loss, listen without judgment, provide a safe space for them to talk. Try not to fix their life for them. Listening is the best you can do. Be patient especially if they're going though the Anger phase. You never know how much pain they're in.
(Excuse the quality of the image with the quote, I had to use it because it sums up Anger stage - the most difficult for people to understand (those who're no going thought it). So if you notice your friends, colleagues or your loved ones are more agitated than usual, find out what is going on in their lives before you judge them or label with some unnecessary 'stickers'.