Stages in Response to Loss

People vary greatly in their response to LOSS, but most come to terms with it by working through a number of stages. The process outlined below highlights the sort of stages that occur as part of the healing process, but not necessarily in this exact order.


[of Loved One, Lifestyle, An Ideal, Health, Plans, Income, A Treasured Possession, etc.]

Denial – Inability to believe, Shock

Release – Acute Distress, Crying, Sighing, Breathing Changes, Sadness

Restlessness – Loss of Sleep, Loss of Appetite, Change of Habit


Isolation – Alienation, Withdrawal

Remorse (real or unreal) -“If only…”, Guilt

Panic – Can’t think, Can’t do usual tasks

Difficulty Planning – Making Decisions

Anger – Hostility, Resentment

Idealisation – How good it all was before loss.

Vulnerability – Anniversary, The odd reminder of loss

Acceptance – Situations and ability to make new plans

Hope & Confidence – Renewed Strength & Energy



When all seems to much –  Just “take a day at a time”

When all seems too much – Just “take an hour at a time”

When that seems too much – Just “take a minute at a time”

And you will get there…

When to Seek Professional Help for Stress

  1. If you feel you cannot handle intense feelings or body sensations, or experiencing severe mood swings
  2. If you continue to feel Chronic Tension, Confusion, Emptiness, Loss Of Control or Exhaustion and continue to experience body symptoms
  3. If you continue to feel numb and empty, unloved and don’t want to get up and face a new day
  4. If you continue to have bad dreams and poor sleep
  5. If you continue to eat too much or too little, or take drugs or alcohol in excess
  6. If you continue to have no person or group with whom to share your emotions
  7. If your relationships seem to be suffering badly, or sexual problems develop
  8. If you have accidents, your work performance is suffering or you have increased tendency to illness
  9. If as a helper you are suffering “BURNOUT”

DO REMEMBER that you are basically the same person that you were before this time of stress—but you have to adapt to change.

DO REMEMBER that if you suffer too much or too long help is available.