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Death hits everyone, also those closest to them. It is very individual to mourn. However, there are some quite characteristic mechanisms of responding to a sudden psychological shock after news of the unexpected death of a loved one. And this is irrespective of whether the event concerns one or many people, or relates to an intimate or collective event. How to survive the death of a loved one and regain the meaning of life?
When we meet the death of a loved one, we first experience the shock. We feel as if someone hit us in the head, stunned us. After such a hit, we usually feel nothing, we are shocked.
- It is a time when we do not feel emotions because they have been suppressed - says psychologist Dr. Katarzyna Korpolewska. - We're turning into a pillar of s alt. This is the first phase of the stress response. Then comes a kind of reflection. It is a bit as if a puppet frozen in place was pulled on a string, as if someone had roused us from a deep sleep. This is how the denial phase begins.
We've already realized what happened, but we don't accept it, we don't want to believe it. We deny the truth, displace it from our consciousness, and even try to displace it from the subconscious. We may have the impression that someone has made a mistake, that everything will be explained in a moment. And it will be okay again. Just like before.
- This phase can take a long time, says Dr. Korpolewska. - Those who suffer think that by denying the truth, they gain time, and time will work in their favor. At this stage, they do not allow thoughts that a tragedy has occurred.
If it were meant to be book-like, then after the denial phase there would be a phase called bargaining. This is already an attempt to explain the situation that has arisen, an attempt to get out of it. We explain it to ourselves by some tragic mistake, oversight, someone else's mistake. At the same time, aggression may arise, directed against those who may have contributed to such a situation. We think that if it were not for someone's ineptitude, such a tragedy might not have happened and we direct our anger, regret and anger against him. And in this phase you can stay for a very long time. And once we experience it all, we become depressed. And this is a state of real mourning.
How to deal with the death of a loved one
Then we are fully awarewhat happened, we fully feel our emotions, we suffer for them. We no longer deny the tragedy and its circumstances, we try to talk about it, confide in it, we even feel the need to talk about it. Well, that's the way it should be. The period of mourning begins - the time it takes to cry out, be silent in solitude, and scream out anger. By allowing ourselves to be angry, in a mood swing, cry, remember and feel pain, we express our longing for the loss of a life with a loved one, and we have every right to do so.
By putting on black clothes, we are signaling to others that we would like to be treated with a certain amount of delicacy and we ask for more understanding in the near future. While experiencing mourning, let us not reject the help of other people in favor of completely isolating ourselves from friends and suffering in loneliness. If we have such a need, we can recall the person who passed away together, talk to someone close to us or keep silent.
If you want to help the bereaved person, just be by their side: listen, hug them, but don't ask, don't judge, don't give unnecessary advice. The fact that you are united in pain reassure us with love and the fact that you are close.
At the end comes the phase of accepting the situation, the conviction that if there is no way out, you have to keep going and so on.
It never happens that all these phases follow one after another - says Dr. Korpolewska. - Sometimes some of them are not there at all, while others get longer. Only one thing is certain - it will never be the same again, because what happened must have left its mark.
In fact, the mourning period may last several years. And sometimes it still comes back like a wave, though not in that dimension. However, if this period is dangerously prolonged, it is worth visiting a psychologist to avoid living with a pseudo smile on your face, but with an inner emptiness.