The stages have evolved since their introduction and they have been very misunderstood over the past three decades. They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss as there is no typical loss. Our grief is as individual as our lives.
The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. Our hope is that with these stages comes the knowledge of grief ’s terrain, making us better equipped to cope with life and loss.
DENIALThis first stage of grieving helps us to survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on. We try to find a way to simply get through each day. Denial and shock help us to cope and make survival possible. Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle.
As you accept the reality of the loss and start to ask yourself questions, you are unknowingly beginning the healing process. You are becoming stronger, and the denial is beginning to fade. But as you proceed, all the feelings you were denying begin to surface.
MY THOUGHTS: I can still remember the day when the Medical Technologist sent me an SMS saying that I can pick up my HIV result. Hearing her say that made me nervous but I was still calm and composed. So I fixed myself and decided to go and pick-up my test result.
I arrived in the place and she greeted me with a smile. A smile that gives me assurance that everything is gonna be ok. She asked me something before she handed me the result, sealed in an envelope. "What would your reaction be if it turns out positive?", she asked. "I seriously don't know." I answered. She discussed several things before she handed me the envelope. I took hold of it and opened it .... It says REACTIVE for HIV. I looked at her and handed the result back to her. She explained the test result further. I tried to listen but I wasn't. I was just looking at her and nodding and hardly understood what she was saying. She asked me what I am feeling. I replied, I don't know what I'm supposed to do. She tapped me on my back and said, it's not too late for you. She informed me of support groups and also stressed out my need to see an Infectious Disease Doctor for my Health Evaluation. I told her i'll do it and said my goodbye.
On my way out of the hospital I called my best friend. He was anxiously waiting for my result and once he answered my call he asked me right away if what was the result. I said, Yes It is POSITIVE, I am HIV+. Upon hearing that he bursted into tears and I suddenly tears start to fall on my face. Hearing him cry made me so emotional. I was walking along PGH around 2pm and I was crying but I try to just bend my head to conceal what i am undergoing to the people around me. Took the MRT going home, just standing and just looking far away, and I was talking to myself that thing couldn't happen, this is not possible. Tears start to fall again but I tried to stop it and just plugged in my earphones to listen to some lively music. It did help a little, I was relieved but still random thought's about what's going to happen still runs in my head. As I entered the my uncles house, i went straight to my room and just laid down. I didn't notice the time but I was awake but my mind is stuck somewhere else. I wasn't able to sleep that night and went straight to work. My shift was 12mn to 8am. IT WAS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE.
JaKe Positive. BE SAFE! +)