The duel is a natural process that people go through when confronted with a loss, your goal is to help the individual to reorganize their emotional state and thoughts to accept the loss and can move on or start a new one. When a person is grieving they are assimilating all the cyclone of emotions that come at once and that are difficult to assume, over time they end up accepting the new situation and the person can return to their normal life.

Five stages are considered in the duel:

1- Denial: the person does not just accept the loss, to accept the news, it is a defense mechanism that our body does so that the initial shock is not so hard.

2-Anger: once the person realizes that there is nothing to do, they feel very angry, frustrated and helpless when they see that they cannot do anything to change things, they pay with their loved ones.

3-Negotiation: in this stage the person tries to change reality, look for alternatives, avoid accepting something that deep down we know is inevitable.

4-Depression: it is a phase of deep sadness because he realizes that he cannot do anything, this is when loved ones are most needed because the person is invaded by a strong sadness that leads him to the most absolute emptiness.

5-Acceptance: finally the loss is assumed and it is not lived with as much drama as the previous one, here the person is physically and mentally exhausted.

On the other hand, the grief does not necessarily have to be due to the death of a loved one, but may be due to the emotional loss of people (divorces for example), material goods, autonomy, pets, etc.

Many people who are grieving wonder when it is necessary to ask for help, because sometimes the grieving can last longer than it should and can be dangerous for mental health, with the risk of going into depression . If this happens we call it pathological grief and it can occur when the loss is so painful for the person, they do not assume it, or if they do so but do not advance from one phase to another.

When is it necessary to seek the help of a psychologist?

The first thing we have to consider is the type of duel. Are we talking about mourning the loss of a family member? A love breakup? Acceptance of a chronic illness? Here at Bekia we will focus on grieving the death of a loved one . On the other hand, the duration of the death grief will depend on the person and there is no exact time, but to give you an idea the average of the process is usually one or two years with small relapseslater on critical dates that remember the death of that person (Christmas, birthdays, saints, anniversaries, father’s or mother’s day …). The pain is usually acute the first months but after 3 months the person tends to be “a little more stable”, we have to be patient with ourselves and not rush, indeed, those who try to overcome it quickly do not succeed and they are the ones who will surely need the help of a psychologist in the future.

There are other factors that contribute to a duel lasting more or less:

-Relationship with the deceased person.

-Have had issues that were left unresolved with the person.

-How does the person decide to face the pain, does he address it from the beginning or avoid it?

-How was the death of the person, a death by disease or natural death is not the same as by a murder.

In any case, it may happen that the person during the process gets stuck in one of the stages without being able to move on to the next one or that he has regressed in the process. Other times a considerable time has passed and the person has not just adapted back to his daily routine or if he has done so but has lost the joy of living … Symptoms appear such as: excessive feelings of guilt, slow motor and thinking , a long period in which he is not able to carry out a normal activity (there is a serious functional impairment), personal devaluation … Other symptoms can go further, such as having hallucinatory experiences where the person sees or hears the voice of the dead. Ultimately, if all these symptoms incapacitate the person andprevent you from continuing with your normal life is when you consider that you have to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist. In addition, you should be especially careful if you have already experienced some type of depression in the past because the chances of relapse are higher.

Can you overcome a duel without psychological help?

If possible, many people do it without going to a psychologist or psychiatrist . However, it is very difficult without any help , either from friends, family or someone outside your usual environment. Let yourself help if you see that not only can you not, closing in band will only slow down the process.

At the beginning of death many people seem to get along well, they have visitors, they have to prepare things, they are stressed … In short, with so much busyness they do not have much time to think and their activity levels are high. The initial phase can be painful but is short-lived. The worst moments usually come later when a few weeks have passed and the person is alone , when visits from family or friends are less frequent, as life continues. It can also happen that you think that you are making progress and that you suddenly have a strong relapse, in those moments is when you have to lean the most on someone who listens to you and makes you feel better.

On the other hand, if you do not want to carry your emotions with other loved ones, you can go to non-profit associations where support is given to those who are going through a period of mourning. They periodically hold meetings, in which the new members share their loss and express their discomfort, the old members listen to the new members and help them by advising them and redirecting their feelings in a healthier way. They are a good alternative to share an experience with others who have gone through the same process because you will feel understood and you will surely cope better. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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