Ever wondered why you’re feeling low / angry / lost / empty / obsessive..?
It could be that you are grieving something you’ve lost.
Feelings of grief aren’t always related to the death a loved-one or the end of a relationship, sometimes we experience real acute feelings of grief over a lost job, a missed opportunity, an old home or the loss of a dream.
It is possible for people to work their way through the whole grieving process over a loss which they didn’t even realize had occurred.
For example… perhaps you find yourself obsessively bargaining in your head over an unsuccessful interview; “if only I’d said that instead of this…” or “maybe if I’d talked about that aspect of my experience, I might have got a second interview…”
According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ (1969) 5 stages of grieving, ‘bargaining’ tends to happen after the ‘denial’ and ‘shock’ of the loss and before the ‘depression’ and ‘acceptance’ stages. So obsessive rumination over something which has been and gone, could indicate that you are caught in the ‘bargaining’ stage of grief and are finding it hard to accept that the loss has actually occurred.
Perhaps you have noticed a feeling of low-mood, emptiness or depression, but are unsure what could be at the root of it. It is possible that you have lost something without realizing it, and are operating from the ‘depression’ stage of grief.
I previously noticed in myself a feeling of low-mood and emptiness and, after talking it through with my therapist, realized I was grieving the loss of a job I had left 6 months previously. Even though the decision to leave was mine, I still had to work through my feelings of ‘depression’ related to the loss.
Reassuringly however the final stage of grief (according to Kubler-Ross) is acceptance. When we have come out of the denial and shock of the loss, stopped bargaining about how to recapture what’s been lost and worked through our feelings of ‘depression’, we finally reach a place where we accept that the loss has occurred and life goes on.