Acceptance is not necessarily a happy or uplifting stage of grief. It doesn’t mean you’ve moved past the grief or loss. It does, however, mean that you’ve accepted it and have come to understand what it means in your life now.
You may feel very different in this stage. That’s entirely expected. You’ve had a major change in your life, and that upends the way you feel about many things. Look to acceptance as a way to see that there may be more good days than bad, but there may still be bad — and that’s OK.
Think of what acceptance means to you. Think of a thing you’ve lost where you have reached the stage of acceptance. If you can, think of grief that you have not fully accepted (might be hard) and what stage you may be in.
Whereas anger and bargaining can feel very “active,” depression may feel like a “quiet” stage of grief.
In the early stages of loss, you may be running from the emotions, trying to stay a step ahead of them. By this point, however, you may be able to embrace and work through them in a more healthful manner. You may also choose to isolate yourself from others in order to fully cope with the loss.
That doesn’t mean, however, that depression is easy or well defined. Like the other stages of grief, depression can be difficult and messy. It can feel overwhelming. You may feel foggy, heavy, and confused.
Depression may feel like the inevitable landing point of any loss. However, if you feel stuck here or can’t seem to move past this stage of grief, talk with a mental health expert. A therapist can help you work through this period of coping.
Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.
When to see a doctor
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or mental health professional as soon as you can. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.
During grief, you may feel vulnerable and helpless. In those moments of intense emotions, it’s not uncommon to look for ways to regain control or to want to feel like you can affect the outcome of an event. In the bargaining stage of grief, you may find yourself creating a lot of “what if” and “if only” statements.
It’s also not uncommon for religious individuals to try to make a deal or promise to God or a higher power in return for healing or relief from the grief and pain. Bargaining is a line of defense against the emotions of grief. It helps you postpone the sadness, confusion, or hurt.
We are reviewing the 5 stages of grief and today we will be talking about stage 2 – anger.
Where denial may be considered a coping mechanism, anger is a masking effect. Anger is hiding many of the emotions and pain that you carry. This anger may be redirected at other people, such as the person who died, your ex, or your old boss. You may even aim your anger at inanimate objects.
While your rational brain knows the object of your anger isn’t to blame, your feelings in that moment are too intense to feel that.
Anger may mask itself in feelings like bitterness or resentment. It may not be clear-cut fury or rage. Not everyone will experience this stage, and some may linger here. As the anger subsides, however, you may begin to think more rationally about what’s happening and feel the emotions you’ve been pushing aside.
Examples of the anger stage
- Breakup or divorce: “I hate him! He’ll regret leaving me!”
- Job loss: “They’re terrible bosses. I hope they fail.”
- Death of a loved one: “If she cared for herself more, this wouldn’t have happened.”
- Terminal illness diagnosis: “Where is God in this? How dare God let this happen!”
- Change the situation (if you can). Please stop yelling me, apologize if you did something wrong, ask why?, talk about it, acknowledge that they are upset, problem solve,
- Leave the situation (if you can). Walk away, exit, hang up, block them, break up, bye bye
- If you can’t do either of the above, accept it as it is.
Situation – someone tells you that you can’t do something you want to achieve
1.Change it – acknowledge what they say, but respectfully disagree; keep trying; work hard at it; ask why; reality check; reflect on your thoughts; convince them they are wrong;
2. leave the situation – don’t tell me what I can’t do and walk away, hang up, block them, don’t give them mental energy, do self care, distract yourself with something motivating, let go, do work to resolve it
3. accepting or surrender- “I can’t accept this.” Yup, not going to happen, sit down and relax, it is what it is
Share something you changed in the last week and something you accepted, emotional health goal for february
We are reviewing the 5 stages of grief and today we will be talking about stage 2 – anger.
Opening Meditation for Mental Health Support Group
(Speaking slowly and gently)
Close your eyes, or leave them open if you wish and let yourself become aware of your body in your chair and your feet on the floor. Bring your attention to your breath. Notice your body expanding and relaxing as you breathe in and out.
For now, let go of the thoughts coming in, of your attention being drawn to other things and tasks that need to be done. There is no place that you have to go right now, nothing that you have to do. Let yourself be right here with yourself.
As you keep your attention on your breath, notice any sensations in your body – – any tension, any emotions, any thoughts or images, sounds or movements, being aware of them as they come and go. Just allow yourself to experience whatever is happening inside of you right now.
As you keep your attention on what is happening inside yourself, there might be, there in that space, a need or desire, something that wants to be expressed. I invite you to speak from that place today if it feels safe to you…
In a moment we will be moving our attention from inside ourselves back to the group. Please take your time as you complete your experience of being with yourself. Taking your time, let us know you are finished by giving a thumbs up when you are ready.
Please share the things you are proud of and some challenges you’ve been experiencing. Also share you emotional health goal and your progress.
Emergency Medical Services—911
The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET.
1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org
If the situation is potentially life-threatening, get immediate emergency assistance by calling 911, available 24 hours a day.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor
Free 24/7 support at your fingertips
PURPOSE AND GROUND RULES:
- The purpose of the group is to provide a community of people who are living with emotional health concerns. It is a safe place for people to be honest about their situation and its impact in their lives. It keeps people from feeling isolated, and helps them to feel cared about. It empowers people to face their concerns and helps give validation that they are OK as a person despite their condition. It provides positive role models and encouragement that it is possible to get better.
- The format helps us embody our principles of respect for every individual to intentionally help in healing.
- Confidentiality – What is said in the group stays in the group.
- Respect others problems, opinions and life choices. Share respectfully by not interrupting and practicing active listening.
- This is a support group, not a therapy group. Please seek professional treatment if you need it. The purpose of this ground rule is to ensure that the person is not using the group instead of professional help, if they need professional help.
- Members agree that they will not try to fix any one else’s problem, just be honest about their own circumstances and what works for them.
- Members are encouraged to tell their therapists that they are in the group.
- The group is a self-help group where each group member and not the group as a whole, is responsible for his or her own actions.
- We have an opening meditation that helps the group draw together at the beginning.
- Following introductions, each person has about 5 minutes to talk about what is happening in his or her life and share highs and lows. This is done without interruption. We will establish a culture that no one goes way over his or her 5-minute time, so all will have a chance to speak.
- When all members have completed their uninterrupted 5-minute times, we will have a period of time where there is “cross-talk” between group members on topics that people want to discuss together.
- The last 10 minutes we will talk about steps we want to accomplish before we meet again.
Take courage friends.
The way is often hard, the path is never clear,
and the stakes are very high.
For deep down, there is another truth:
You are not alone.
by Wayne Arnason