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The Five Stages Of Grief and Loss
By Jimmy Apple

The five stages of Grief and Loss are: 1. Denial and Isolation.  2. Anger.  3.Bargaining  4.Depression;  5. Acceptance.
Not everyone who is grieving necessarily goes through the stages in the same order or, for that matter, experience all of them.

These stages of grief and loss are universal and experienced by all at one time or another. This usually occurs in response to the loss of  close relationship,
such as divorce, the death of someone close, such as family, friend, even a treasured pet. Mourning also occurs when the person becomes disabled. It
makes sense, no? When a person becomes disabled and no longer able to function as they did before, this is a loss! In this article, we are discussing the
grief and loss experienced by those who have become disabled.

We all spend different lengths of time working through each stage and with varying levels of intensity. There is no set amount of time that is allowed.
These are very personal emotions that you are working through and it is important that you let yourself move through each stage at your own pace. As
well, spouses, children, family and close friends of the disabled person may also experience these stages of grief and loss for that person. It is important,
though, for family and friends to realize that their loved one is going through these stages. One thing I will suggest, from personal experience, please
don't tell the person to get over it while they are going through this. Don't tell them to "walk it off" or just make the best of things. They will
eventually come to that place on their own, but they have to be let to grieve as they have to. You, as their family and friends, have to realize that they
have suffered a major life changing set back. At this point, their grief and sense of loss is the same as if they lost a loved one. Please don't judge the
person for how they handle their grief as each person experiences it differently.

1. Denial and Isolation
The first reaction to becoming disabled is to deny the reality of the situation. "This didn't happen to me...This is only temporary....this can't happen"
people will most often think. It is a normal reaction to try and rationalize overwhelming concerns and emotions. We try to block out the reality of the
situation. This is only temporary. It is a reaction that will help him get through till reality actually sets in.

2. Anger
As denial and isolation begin to fade and reality, along with it's pain is evident, he is not ready. He deflects this intense emotion and pain, redirects it and
displays it rather as anger. This might be directed at strangers, friends, family even inanimate objects. If there was an accident at work, he may blame his
boss, coworkers, clients, the building anything. At some point, he may even feel guilty about this feeling of anger and that will, most probably, only
serve to make him feel more angry.

3. Bargaining
The normal reaction to being vulnerable and feeling like you have lost control is to try and regain it-
  • If disability is due to an illness; If I had only went to the doctor sooner, or got a second opinion...
  • If hurt on the job; I didn't feel good and should have stayed home that day, I should have asked for help...
  • If it was a car accident; I should have waited for the rain to stop, or I should have taken the other route...and so on

Secretly, he might even try to make a deal with God to avoid the inevitable. This just another line of defense to try to protect himself from the reality
of his situation.

4. Depression
This is his reaction to the practical implications of his disability. He is worried about  costs of the hospital, doctors, medications and prescriptions and
such. As well as household expenses: Mortgage/rent, electric bill, kids tuition, car payments, insurance, taxes and so on. He worries about all who
depend on him. Reassurance wi;ll help him through this stage.

5. Acceptance
He never reach this stage because  he may never be able to see beyond his anger and denial. Eventually, he might come to terms with it but never fully
accept it. If he ever does, that will be a gift. Keep in mind, though, if he doesn't accept it, there is no one who can force acceptance on him.

Coming to terms with this change in his life is a deeply personal experience. There is no one who can help him to go through it more easily. You will
never understand, completely, the emotions he is going through. The best thing you can probably do is to be a nonjudgmental ear for him to
sound off. You can lend him comfort through this process. Let him grieve. Trying to divert his feeling- make him focus on other things-will only serve to
extend the healing process.

Always remember, things can always be worse! Just take the time to look around. Some time, somewhere
you are going to come across some person who is going to wish he had your problems because, to them,
your problems don't seem as bad as theirs.

Be Well My Friends....Jimmy
Blink Health
Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC
AN APPLE A DAY is not only a podcast but also a resource and a community. It's a place to share your experiences
and learn from others as we overcome barriers and learn to  live a happy and healthy life with a disability.
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