Recycling Through Stages of Grief

Most everyone is now familiar with the stages of grief and loss, as originally posited by the psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Moving through these stages is certainly not a linear, unidirectional, one-time process. This model has effectively been applied to the adjustments faced by individuals who have been diagnosed with chronic illness.

I have personally recycled through these stages of grief and loss, multiple times. I’ve especially done so when serious MS relapses erupted in my life, after relatively stable disease periods. I’ve stayed at some stages pf grief and loss for embarrassingly long periods of time, too. It was especially difficult to move past the anger that developed after my diagnosis of MS. My entire world had turned upside down and inside out, and I was anything but happy about it.

When I developed additional chronic conditions, I noticed that I actually regressed in my adjustment to those more established ones. You might say that I was actually rebelling against the extra complexity imposed by facing additional chronic conditions. Adjusting to chronic illness is a complex, dynamic process.

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