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10 Common Stages for an Individual in a Crisis

Although it is common to feel the 5 stages of grief, some of the following emotions can also be involved when processing a crisis or grievance.

Shock: You are in a stage of feeling temporarily stunned… This feeling of disbelief lasts for minutes, hours, or even days.  Soon, with time, you will face your emotions head-on and make decisions.

Facing Emotions: Emotions are your feelings.  They are intense.  Confront these feelings honestly.  Get supportive help.  During this time, do not make major decisions.

Depression: Crisis is a new state of isolation.  Your depression may be due to other stresses.  It’s okay to cry.  Keep life simple. Get rest. Reduce stress. Reach out to others.

Physical Symptoms: Your thoughts can cause physical distress.  These physical symptoms can be the result of unresolved grief.  Talk to your family doctor.

Panic: Your fear of facing the unknown can create a state of panic.  Panic is normal.  Avoid being impulsive.  Go slowly in making decisions if this stage occurs.

Guilt: You may experience guilt in a crisis.  Healthy guilt is the result of either doing or not doing something prior to the crisis  or loss.  Guilt becomes unhealthy when it lingers or affects the quality of your life.

Anger: Your crisis may create strong feelings of anger and resentment.  These feelings are normal.  You may want to blame someone or something.  This is the time to seek support for your feelings.  Expressing your anger is good.  Exercising, journal writing, or talking with a trusted friend will help.

Resistance: You resist returning to normal life because it feels too painful.  Decision-making is difficult.  It is important to balance your life.  Give time to each part: self, home, work, family, and feelings.

Hope: Life becomes meaningful once again.  You express emotions, seek affection, receive encouragement.  You feel you have survived this crisis.  You want to smile again and remember the good.  You grow stronger and begin again.

Acceptance: Acceptance will come in time.  Until then, we encourage you to progress through these stages at your own pace.

Healing Your Heart

Be gentle with yourself.  This crisis has created stress in your life.  It will take time and energy to feel whole and find a peace of mind.  Allow yourself to feel your feelings.