Mental Health and the Grieving Process: Bargaining
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. (http://www.helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm)
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.
Kipp, P. (2013, September 20). Mental Health and the Grieving Process: Bargaining, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2013/09/mental-health-and-the-grieving-process-bargaining
Author: Paulissa Kipp
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.
I read your article and looked over your site. Very impressive.