Friday, May 8, 2015

THE STAGES OF GRIEF - BARGAINING


THE STAGES OF GRIEF - BARGAINING

Trying to be functional in life with all this pain is hard enough. But, one cannot escape going through the added weight of the intense emotions of all the loss this pain also puts the sufferer in. The denial, bargaining, anger and depression, to hopefully someday finding acceptance, is just so hard to deal with! Achieving acceptance can lead to a sense of peace and joy in the new “normal" we have to build for ourselves.

In my last post we looked at denial and anger. Today we will proceed to look at bargaining, the next stage of the Stages of Grief, as taught by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_K%C3%BCbler-Ross

BARGAINING
In this stage we look at the behavior and questions, we ask and state, as attempts to change the circumstance or an escape to reason away the losses. Sometimes you will find these go around and around in our minds leaving us frantic! Your thought process and emotions may be ridden with feelings of guilt, statements such as "If only.. ", Or "What if...? " Some may even try and bargain to change things. Often people will find themselves praying, "Dear God, I will do this…, if you'll do that…," or asking a doctor if they do this or that if, it will make things better. We may also find ourselves going from place to place seeking answers from many health care professionals.

I thought that if I did every single thing the doctors and other health care professionals wanted me to do that I would find relief for my pain. In my personal story I shared in the first part of The Stages of Grief with Our Losses, http://functionallivingwithchronicpain.blogspot.com/2015/04/stages-of-grief-with-our-losses-of.html I shared how I went from doctor to doctor and tried all kinds of treatments to find something that would work. I pushed myself through all the pain at physical therapy, as well as at home, to get back the strength and what I needed to be able to get better and go back to work!  I always had hoped that the NEXT thing would be the one that would work! But, mixed in with that hope with each new treatment or medication was always a fear of what would happen. And then after yet another failure of whatever I attempted I would become angry and depressed. Does that all sound familiar to you? We do all we can to get our “old” self’s back!
  
I would wonder if I had a different doctor if they would know something better than the last doctor. I would wonder if maybe I tried some particular treatment I read about if that would work. Or maybe even if I had sought treatment sooner instead of trying to fight through my pain, like I did, if that would have prevented the nerve damage that lead to the constant pain I now endure every single moment of every single day.
In the bargaining stage these are all normal thoughts and reactions to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability of having to put your life in others hands and not having much control! I do know that in all this I DID take control in seeking ALL I could to find someone that could help me get better! As well as researching and doing every possible thing I could to push through the pain to make it go away! I was just causing my self more physical pain by irritating the damaged nerves and all the other diagnoses I have. And, in the end it led to the same conclusion by each specialist, "I am very sorry, but you will have to learn to live with this pain for the rest of your life!" I have been so use to hearing it that I felt sorry for the doctors because they had a real hard time saying it, they were so compassionate and I would try to comfort them.

In hindsight, I just didn't want to hear it again. I wanted to shut it out and became a "comforter" as I tend to be. I'd say, "That's okay, I understand. You did all you could. I appreciated it! I have heard it before!" Another time I even asked the specialist if he would consider an amputation. Considering the nerve damage is near the top of my spine that was rather incomprehensible to him (that's the joker in me)! The look on his face was priceless! Then he realized I was really joking. 

But, as I write this now, remembering all these experiences, I weep....for my heart is broken. This is the reality for many of us. This is not what we want. This brings too many losses to bear! I don’t need to restate what those losses are. You get it! We all have the same questions, do the searching and push ourselves! And many of us find it leads to what many may consider a failure of our own minds and bodies. But, it is not! Please don't do that to yourself! If you have done all you can to find an answer and pushed to get better, you in good conscience, KNOW you did all you can do! If you don't feel you have, well, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting another opinion!

Sadly, this will leave many of us in a depression. If you are having a hard time motivation in doing things during the day, trouble sleeping, angry, finding yourself crying often, or having of feelings of hopelessness and deep dark sadness please seek help from someone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Professionals can help you find your way through these hard times! Please don't struggle alone! There are many skilled behavioral therapists in your area. Call someone to help! You don't have to do it alone!

And please, if you have thoughts of harming yourself please call the Suicide Lifeline!

In my next blog we will take a look at depression which is the next stage of grief. But, do know that is not where the stages of grief end! Acceptance is the last and final stage that we will look at after that!

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