Please find articles of interest below:
The 5 Stages of Grief & Loss
The stages of grief and mourning are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life, across many cultures. Mourning occurs in response to an individual’s own terminal illness, the loss of a close relationship, or to the death of a valued being, human, or animal. There are five stages of grief that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying.
In our bereavement, we spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage with different levels of intensity. The five stages of loss do not necessarily occur in any specific order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. Many of us are not afforded the luxury of time required to achieve this final stage of grief.
The death of your loved one might inspire you to evaluate your own feelings of mortality. Throughout each stage, a common thread of hope emerges: As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as there is hope, there is life.
Many people do not experience the stages of grief in the order listed below, which is perfectly okay and normal. The key to understanding the stages is not to feel like you must go through every one of them, in precise order. Instead, it’s more helpful to look at them as guides in the grieving process — it helps you understand and put into context where you are.
Please keep in mind that everyone grieves differently. Some people will wear their emotions on their sleeve and be outwardly emotional. Others will experience their grief more internally, and may not cry. You should try and not judge how a person experiences their grief, as each person will experience it differently.
1. Denial & Isolation
The first reaction to learning about the terminal illness, loss, or death of a cherished loved one is to deny the reality of the situation. “This isn’t happening, this can’t be happening,” people often think. It is a normal reaction to rationalize our overwhelming emotions.
Denial is a common defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock of the loss, numbing us to our emotions. We block out the words and hide from the facts. We start to believe that life is meaningless, and nothing is of any value any longer. For most people experiencing grief, this stage is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.
As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family.
Anger may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. Rationally, we know the person is not to be blamed. Emotionally, however, we may resent the person for causing us pain or for leaving us. We feel guilty for being angry, and this makes us more angry.
Remember, grieving is a personal process that has no time limit, nor one “right” way to do it.
The doctor who diagnosed the illness and was unable to cure the disease might become a convenient target. Health professionals deal with death and dying every day. That does not make them immune to the suffering of their patients or to those who grieve for them.
Do not hesitate to ask your doctor to give you extra time or to explain just once more the details of your loved one’s illness. Arrange a special appointment or ask that he telephone you at the end of his day. Ask for clear answers to your questions regarding medical diagnosis and treatment. Understand the options available to you. Take your time.
The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control through a series of “If only” statements, such as:
- If only we had sought medical attention sooner…
- If only we got a second opinion from another doctor…
- If only we had tried to be a better person toward them…
This is an attempt to bargain. Secretly, we may make a deal with God or our higher power in an attempt to postpone the inevitable, and the accompanying pain. This is a weaker line of defense to protect us from the painful reality.
Guilt often accompanies bargaining. We start to believe there was something we could have done differently to have helped save our loved one.
There are two types of depression that are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. We worry about the costs and burial. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. We may need a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words.
The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell. Sometimes all we really need is a hug.
Reaching this stage of grieving is a gift not afforded to everyone. Death may be sudden and unexpected or we may never see beyond our anger or denial. It is not necessarily a mark of bravery to resist the inevitable and to deny ourselves the opportunity to make our peace. This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from depression.
Loved ones that are terminally ill or aging appear to go through a final period of withdrawal. This is by no means a suggestion that they are aware of their own impending death or such, only that physical decline may be sufficient to produce a similar response. Their behavior implies that it is natural to reach a stage at which social interaction is limited. The dignity and grace shown by our dying loved ones may well be their last gift to us.
Coping with loss is ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience — nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. But others can be there for you and help comfort you through this process. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing.
Everyone gets anxious from time to time – it’s a normal response to stressful situations like having a job interview. But for some people, the feelings of anxiety can be a lot more extreme and become what’s known as an anxiety disorder.
- Generalised anxiety disorder is where someone feels anxious about a number of things on most days over a long period of time – 6 months or more.
- Phobias, including social phobia are when someone feels very fearful about a particular object or situation and it interferes with life. Examples are fear of attending social events, driving across bridges, or travelling on planes.
Some other kinds of anxiety disorder are obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorder.
Anxiety disorders can be managed and overcome with help. It’s important to recognise and treat them as soon as possible.
- 8,001 couples were granted divorces in New Zealand.
- There were 8.4 divorces for every 1,000 estimated existing marriages and civil unions.
- The decreasing divorce rate coincided with a decrease in the number of children whose parents divorced. There were 5,916 children under 17 years whose parents were granted divorce, down from 7,824 children in 2007, and 9,093 children in 1997.
Kiwi students report second-highest rate of bullying in international study
The finding is included in the third volume of data to be published from the OECD’s latest three-yearly survey as part of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) carried out in 2015.
Survey answers from New Zealand showed just over a quarter of the students taking part reported being subject to some type of bullying at least a few times a month.
That included 6.7 per cent who reported being hit or pushed around by other students, 8.3 per cent who were threatened, and 6.3 per cent who said other students took or destroyed things that belonged to them.
Pisa considered just under one in five New Zealand students as meeting the criteria for being described as frequently bullied, compared to the OECD average of 8.9 per cent.
The Pisa programme was reputable and did say that by and large New Zealand was doing “pretty well” in terms of student wellbeing. “Kids are engaged, motivated to be engaged, and supported in their achievement in school.”
“Taking the figures at face value, perhaps there are echoes there of our high rates of domestic family and inter-personal violence that very often take place in the context of families and in the presence of children. That may be behaviour that’s carried over into the playground and classroom.”
High rates of youth suicide might also be another face of the same statistics.
The Pisa report acknowledged rates of bullying prevalence varied “greatly” across studies. That reflected differences in assessment approaches, as well as differences across contexts and cultures.
Pisa said that for its report, the incidence of bullying was based on reports from the victim’s perspective.
Data already published from the 2015 assessment last December showed New Zealand improved its international ranking in maths, science and reading. That was based on test results from 4500 New Zealand 15-year-olds at 183 schools.
The latest publication looks at student wellbeing, overall life satisfaction, schoolwork-related anxiety, achievement motivation, sense of belonging at school, bullying, parental involvement and time outside of school.
For the section on bullying, an index was developed based on students’ reports of their experiences of the six types of bullying described – being left out, made fun of, being threatened, property taken by other students, being hit or pushed around, and having nasty rumours spread about them.
New Zealand’s index score was 0.61, while the OECD average was set at zero. Latvia had the worst index result, while Australia was fifth-worst, the United Kingdom was sixth-worst, and Canada was seventh-worst. Least bullying was reported from South Korea, Turkey, Montenegro and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan).
Bullying had serious consequences for bullies and victims, the Pisa report said.
“Adolescents engaged in bullying as perpetrators, victims, or both are more likely to skip classes, drop out of school, and perform worse academically than schoolmates who have no conflictual relationships with their peers.”
They were also more likely to show symptoms of depression and anxiety, low self-esteem, to feel lonely, change their eating patterns, and lose interest in activities.
Bullied students tended to feel unaccepted and isolated. To reduce their exposure to bullies they often didn’t take chances to make friends or take other opportunities that could help them become better integrated with their schoolmates.
Some other results from the New Zealand survey:
* 72 per cent felt anxious before a test, even if well-prepared
* 50.7 per cent were very tense when they studied
* 73.7 per cent felt they belonged at school (near the OECD average)
* 88.8 per cent said they spoke to their parents after school
* 92.3 per cent said their parents were interested in their school activities
* 45.2 per cent expected to complete a university degree
* Students reported an average of 163 minutes on the internet on weekdays outside of school, and 196 minutes on weekend days