Everyone grieves differently. Let’s start there. Grief manifests itself in different ways for different people. Often grief is fluid in that we do not move from stage to stage rather we move from one place to another and maybe back again as we navigate further and further thru the grief.
While I have always been intrigued by the stages of grief identified by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, it was during a recent session with my therapist that I identified a process for grief that is more akin to my own way of navigating: the grief spiral.
Rather than a linear process, the grief spiral is a circular process that you keep repeating until the burden of the process lessens and you find freedom from the spiral. Additionally, the grief spiral allows for the fact that grief may come in waves where some days you feel better and some days you feel worse and a worse day is not always followed by a better day or vice versa.
Over the past 5 years, I apparently was in the midst of the grief spiral, which for me manifested itself often as debilitating depression that grew to a breaking point in the last 3 years. Each time I would struggle with the depression, I would come out of it wanting to reorganize myself to ensure that I was working towards not allowing it to happen again.
Unfortunately, we do not function in a vacuum thus my grief was still subject to external triggers. I have been very fortunate to have two life changing therapists that helped me get to where I am today – the happiest, healthiest version of myself that I have ever been. The first was in California before we moved and the second took me under her wing last year. Both were game changers, both have my eternal gratitude.
The challenge for me right now? The external world is not as far into acceptance as me with my truths. They may need to move thru this some more, but me? I am ready for my next chapter.