The Stages of Grief
Through my own experiences, I’ve learned a very necessary aspect of wading through the aftermath of trauma is grieving. It’s important to allow yourself the time and space to grieve. Grief is like a built in coping mechanism that allows us to heal (although sometimes it can be difficult to see it that way). I like to view grief as a tool God has designed us with, in order to help us find our way out of pain and suffering. Grief is actually a process that can help propel you forward in coping with the psychological effects of what you may be enduring. It is a healthy and natural response to process and reconcile our wounds- we just have to figure out how to use the tool. This is why I believe that cultivating an understanding of grief is an essential part of coping with trauma, finding healing, and transforming wounds.
I will be the first to tell you that grief is heavy, and not an easy burden to bear. It’s not easy to accept, not easy to embark on, and not easy to share. Grief is the place where wounds rise to the surface, and where the deepest parts of our hearts ache to be understood and met with compassion. It takes time to grieve, and that’s ok, I’m here to tell you that it’s worth the investment.
I believe that understanding the stages of grief can be very helpful in guiding a person through a journey of healing, especially for anyone who is living with sexual wounds. For me, it was nice to know that the emotional roller coaster I felt I was on, was actually normal, and that many people experience similar waves of emotion. There are said to be five stages of grief:
I saw all five of those stages at varying points in my healing, and it was confusing and messy. At the time I didn’t understand what was happening to me emotionally. It took a long time to wrestle with these feelings and make peace with them. Even still, from time to time, some of these feelings arise, and I have to take time to process them and manage them appropriately. I’ve learned that grief is a process, and it may not ever fully go away, but it changes and it does get easier; it can become less acute. However, in order for that to happen, the willingness to open your wounds, invest in your own healing, and maintaining commitment to your growth, despite the challenges that may arise, is essential.
With that being said, I have found that many people only associate grief with the loss of life. While losing someone creates a very deep form of grief, it is not the only situation in which grieving is appropriate. Grief comes in many different forms, and looks different for every individual. There is no right or wrong way to go through the five stages, and they don’t necessarily occur in order. An individual can go in and out of any of the stages at any time. It is important to remember that everybody is on their own journey, and grieving and healing are very personal and intimate endeavors that vary from one person to the next.
As someone who has experienced a sexual wound and other various forms of trauma, I can assure you that grieving my experiences was a crucial part of my healing process. If you’re currently experiencing the aftermath of trauma or amidst any kind of grief, I encourage you to find what works for you, and to embark on the journey with a trained mental health professional who can accompany you through the process. You are not alone.
If you would like to learn more about the stages of grief, or are searching for further resources, please consider looking here: https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/