Mental Health and the Grieving Process: Bargaining

September 20, 2013 Paulissa Kipp

Today, we are continuing our discussion of grief and its effects on those with
mental health diagnoses.

Grief Reveals Itself Layer By Layer

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross described grief as five individual stages. The order in which an individual progresses through the stages of grief may not be sequential and more than one stage may be experienced at a given time. (

Stages of Grief:

Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger:Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”

My mother died at the beginning of August. My first reaction was anger. Though anger still makes an appearance, I find myself in the bargaining or "Let's Make A Deal" phase. It is taking the form of "I don't want _____ to happen to ME, so I will do this action. A healthy lifestyle isn't about perfection, it is about growth, about taking the next step to move ourselves toward the quality of life we desire. The question I ask of myself is "If I loved myself, what would I choose?" That question returns me to the present and the answer is "move more, drink more water or eat this food, not that."

Lessons From Death

My mom's mail began being forwarded to me last week. Each statement spun another tale of woe. The diagnoses are terrifying: COPD, diabetes, brain, breast, liver and bladder cancer, congestive heart failure, corneal hypoesthesia and corneal erosion. Each cancer diagnosis occurred in July. She was given a prognosis of 6 months; she died in 2 weeks. There is something very motivating about knowing that a loved one suffered. The front desk of life is issuing a wake-up call. I am using my mom's death at age 68, just 20 years longer than I have lived my own life, as a catalyst for a healthier lifestyle. She didn't have to live an inconvenient life. She could have made better choices about her health: She could have chosen not to be an alcoholic, not to smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day for decades, could have chosen to exercise or eat fresh food vs. processed food. She didn't make those choices: the result was disease.

I possess the power to choose and ACT differently, mentally, emotionally and physically. I will take that power and say "Shazam!" and choose health: by practicing mental health awareness and working toward my continued recovery, by choosing movement and fruit of the earth and nurturing rewarding relationships. "Let's make a deal" for LIFE!

If you missed part 1 on grief and anger, you can read it here.

APA Reference
Kipp, P. (2013, September 20). Mental Health and the Grieving Process: Bargaining, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Paulissa Kipp

Dr Musli Ferati
October, 4 2013 at 7:26 pm

Life yet is consist of afflicting events, which ones fulfill the rain-bow of day to day course. Fortunately, there are a lot of happy moment that interlace this colourful background. However, we ought to face with this miracle landscape. This is cognitive aspect of grieving, but the emotional side is more intriguing one. Indeed, ours feelings are partly under control, they go beyond often ours capability to manage them in appropriate way. For instance this happen when we go into mourning for our close relatives or friends, as well. In these cases, the support of social network is healing moment. On the other hand, the lessons from grieving experiences are useful, because deaths and sorrow circumstances will have always. They help us and our close friends, to overcome the grieving, as little as bad consequences for our delicate emotional statement.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
October, 9 2013 at 1:08 pm

Very good points, Dr. Ferati

September, 24 2013 at 10:47 am

Hi Paulissa! My sympathies on the passing of your mother. I just attended the funeral of a good friend, one we've known for close to 40 years. He died suddenly, unexpectedly. I still can't believe he is gone, that we won't be hearing his greetings,his stories, his making you feel that you were the most important person in the room whether he knew you for a long time or short. We'll miss his advice and wisdom, his heartfelt love for everyone, his presence in our lives. I still can't believe he is gone. I don't expect to be angry, and definitely can't bargain and will probably be depressed over his death. Most importantly, I will have acceptance and peace, which is what he would want-being happy once again.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
September, 24 2013 at 11:16 am

Hi Cindy, your friend sounds like a beautiful human being. May your memories bring you peace and enjoy being the qualities that he was. That will help you to honor his life.
Not everyone will progress through each stage of grief and that's perfectly OK. Grief is as unique as our DNA. I wish you peace.

September, 24 2013 at 8:29 am

I was inspired with the story! I hope you alteady overcome the situation about the loss of your mother.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
September, 24 2013 at 11:09 am

Thank you for your kind words Christofer. We are done with taking possession of my mother's possessions. Now it is a matter of further sorting through things and doing the legal things to settle the estate. I do well if I only handle one estate related thing per day.

September, 20 2013 at 4:54 pm

hello, I am sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. I also wrote a similar article. I lost my father back in April of 2013.He had a lot of Respiratory problems. Loss is a very difficult thing to deal with.. I wish you well!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
September, 22 2013 at 4:21 am

Thank you so much for your kind words. It has been an interesting process, this grief. My sincere condolences to you as well.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
September, 24 2013 at 11:11 am

My sincere condolences for your loss. Loss often makes us evaluate our own lives. That can be difficult but there can be moments of peace as well.
I read your article and looked over your site. Very impressive.

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