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12 Unexpected Ways People Experience Grief

Grief is one of the most painful things a person can experience. And unfortunately, we will all go through that experience sooner or later in our lives. The traditional five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — while a good starting point, don’t always account for the complexity of this experience, or the more unexpected ways grief can show up.

You may go through that process in the most common order — or you may experience different waves in different orders. You may experience other feelings as well. Listed below are some other ways that grief has manifested in other people.

1. Panic

“Feelings of fear and panic that sweep over me.” — Wendy V.

2. Excessive Caretaking

“Excessive caretaking of surviving family members as a way to avoid grief.” — Mara H.

3. Hyper-Fixation on Death

“Hyper-fixation on death and when others I love may die.” — Megan M.

4. Fleeing or Running Away

“Fleeing. After my grandma, who I was incredibly close to, passed away I moved across the country in part so I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore.” — Tiffany F.

5. Grieving Things That Won’t Happen

“I find that I grieve life events that my son will never experience. Getting married, having children, buying a home. I watch all his friends living those things and I grieve. I wonder what he would look like today.” — Mona G.

6. Becoming a Better Friend

“I like to think I’ve become a better friend and family member. My grief taught me that love and my relationships are the most important things. However, it’s also made me absolutely terrified of losing anyone in my life. I’m scared to forge new relationships because that’s just one more person I could potentially lose.” — Samone B.

7. Impulsiveness

“Impulsiveness. I began smoking and switched my medication during the funeral planning process.” — Bethany J.

“Impulsive spending. Ever since my brother passed away I impulse shop. I’m trying to stop.” — Millie H.

8. Losing Senses

“I lost my sense of taste and smell.” — Patti N.

9. Accessing Creativity

“I sometimes get really creative, I think as a way to get out my emotions. Usually it’s in things I write.” — Lisa P.

10. Jealousy

“Jealousy. After my mom’s death, I sometimes have feelings of jealousy for people who still have their parents.” — Paul W.

11. Memory Loss

“Memory loss. I have very few memories of my best friend’s funeral. For years I had no idea where she was buried.” — Valerie S.

12. Feeling Numb

“Complete and total loss of any feeling. Four years later I feel nothing. So much loss and think no one understands me.” — Shawna S.

What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo by samane mohammadi on Unsplash

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