Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stages of grief

According to some online tests, the validity of which remain in question, I am "center-brained," as opposed to left-brained or right-brained. If this means I can vacillate between feeling something deeply and intellectualizing it, I don't know. But I do have a tendency to do that.

If this is why I enjoy reading (smarter) self-improvement literature, I won't be surprised. I find it both fun and enlightening to observe my feelings and trace their psychological footprints.

And if this has anything to do with early this morning--when I couldn't sleep because I just had a thought about my stages of heartbreak--I don't have the patience to find out. It's my much-awaited Saturday, after all, and I want to watch a movie with a tub of buttery popcorn.

But these--in words and images of words--are what kept me up early this morning, after I came in from a night out with a friend.


The K├╝bler-Ross grief cycle and my checklist.
Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.
Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.
Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.
Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.
The stages don't come in a linear manner; according to the site, it's "a roller-coaster ride of activity and passivity as the person wriggles and turns in their desperate efforts to avoid the change."

Funny how they use the term "roller-coaster."

What I know of my own grief cycle is thus:

1. Shock - Mostly at my own stupidity/gullibility/naivete.
2. Anger - Mostly at the other person and myself, for not delivering on the certainty. If there's one thing we should be able to count on, it's the promise of commitment. But this is where I also giggle at my own desire for a controlled environment--and idealism. You're so romantic, said one learner, you think you can fly at the touch of a loved one's hand--and that's why you cry..
3. Epic fails - Mostly at being the world's idea of mature, because I hate the notion of "maturity" when you feel your heart is shattered into tiny little pieces, and I think "managing your emotions" is only for people who think highly of themselves for never asking for a hug or for love. This can be restated as: "It's my party, damn it, and I'll cry if I want to. You should cry too if it happened to you."
4. Melancholy and sadness - Mostly for myself, because life could have been wonderful, and it didn't became the kind of wonderful I wanted it to be, but I know, because life is beautiful, that it will be some other kind of wonderful. And I am sad because it's so easy to forget that, and to be lost in Nos. 1 and 3, and why do people do that to themselves, why, why, in God's name, why? At this point, anything, from totally unrelated news headlines to TVCs can make me cry.
5. Surrender bordering on indifference. - Mostly because I need it to erase embarrassing stages like No. 3 and No. 4.
6. Acceptance, peace, love and little bunnies. - I'm a hippie at heart, what can I say? I can forgive.

But first, I forget. :-)