What is GRIEF?

Grief is something that very few people know about. Most people think of it as depression. There is a big difference between depression and grief. Depression is a mental illness whereas grief is not. Grief is something universal. It is a reaction or feeling upon losing something, most probably a loved one. The state of loss is known as Bereavement and the reaction to that loss is called Grief. The reaction is in the form of mental, physical as well as social.

Grief is a transitional state where one is adjusting him/herself to life after a loss. It is a state of distress when one person has gone out of the life of another person who is emotionally attached to the one who has left him/her; that person then suffered emotionally due to the loss of a loving relationship. It could be the death of someone, or a breakup or divorce.

Grief could also be of other things like losing a job, but today we will talk about the most common grief, and that is losing a loved one, either by death or by break up or divorce.

Experiencing grief is normal and usually, people feel it after a loss. During this state, a person can feel sadness, anger, guilt, withdrawal, emptiness, and/or anxiety. Grief is a journey from the distress of a loss to the acceptance of that loss and getting back to life normally. It is a process and it varies from person to person.


For depression, people have to take psychotherapy sessions or medicines. But, grieving, they do not necessarily need to have psychiatric medications or psychotherapy sessions. They may (or may not need) some counseling sessions.

Depression is a mental illness caused by the imbalance of chemicals present in the brain. These chemicals are known as Neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters convey messages in the brain. When the messenger will not be able to send the right message to the right place then there could be some misunderstanding. In the case of depression, misunderstanding is all the symptoms of depression. We have discussed neurotransmitters and depression in our others blogs.

Although grief and depression have some overlapping symptoms and conditions:

  • Sadness
  • Crying
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Diet issues
  • Loss of interest
  • Guilt
  • Self-harm
  • Fatigue

But they are two separate things. When they co-exist then symptoms are worst. It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between their symptoms, but only a trained qualified professional can do it.

The one thing which is different in both of these is that in depression, a person feels worthless, blames self and all the focus is on his/herself. On the other hand, during grief, all the focus is on the loss or at the situation.


If you know a family member or anyone going through a grief process, support them in their crucial time.

  • Let the person express their positive and negative feelings and thoughts
  • Give them time
  • Let them experience their feelings
  • Do not say anything to make them feel guilt
  • If they confide in someone else other than you, let them share their feelings with them
  • Listen to them if they speak to you
  • Do not discard their feelings
  • Be empathetic
  • Help with some routine tasks like laundry or grocery because they don’t even feel like moving out of bed sometimes
  • Be there with them


GRIEF PROCESS During this process, a person may not function well or will not be able to perform routine tasks in a good way. He or she behaves differently with people and may be lost interest in activities that he/she use to enjoy. Overall well-being is affected when a person is grieving over a loss or loved one.

A person may have sleeping and eating issues or may feel sick while going through the process of grief. These things make it resemble depression but it is a process and a grieving person will be fine when he/she will go through the stages of grief in their own way. For some people, it could be a period of 6 months but for others, it may take years to complete this process of grief.

It seems difficult when someone is grieving, they may become angry at you or not open up to you. Be patient. Do not give up. If you cannot do anything, ask for help from a professional.

Everyone has a different way of grieving but there are some common stages and feelings during this period. We at PRC Clifton Karachi psycho-educate our clients and help them deal with the process in a healthy way.

There are generally five stages or phases of grief which are as follows:

·       DENIAL

Usually, the first response to loss is shock and not believing, not accepting the reality in order to minimize the emotional pain. It is difficult and extremely painful so the person just wants to believe that the loss has not happened; processing the loss is not easy, so denying it would make a person cope with the overwhelming emotions. It is a temporary phase and after that healing from the pain will start.

·       ANGER

When a person tries to accept reality, he/she may feel this common emotion of being angry. He/she thought and questioned why this happened to him/her. It is absolutely normal in the grieving state and the person is not mentally sick. Sometimes, the person him/herself is confused too that why he/she is becoming angry about little things or without any obvious reason. Some people openly express their anger and it is an emotional outlet for them. Some people do not express their anger as being angry is not acceptable in many cultures or families. Those who do not express their pain through anger might start to resent the person who is no more with them. This may lead to guilt, crying, anxiety, or bitterness. Due to this, a person isolates him/herself from others who might want to comfort him/her. Everyone takes their own time in healing and moving toward the next stage of acceptance.


It is the negotiation phase where a grieving person tries to deal with God or people around them that he/she will become a good person if the loss will be reversed or it must be a bad dream only. Some people pray that he/she would do anything like not be angry anymore if the current pain will be gone. Some people will try to make offers or deals that he/she will leave the bad habits if the other person will stay or not leave him/her. It takes some time to realize the painful helplessness that nothing could be done now to get back the person who has died or gone. He/she will never come back.


When the reality hits hard that a person has lost someone precious, then they become depressed. It is a phase or stage in the grief process. It is not real clinical depression. In this stage, the grieving person becomes socially isolated and deals with the overwhelming emotion of sadness. In this stage the emptiness is overwhelming and the person becomes weak or feels a lot of fatigue. It is the emotional drainage. The person feels the void much more now than in any other stage of grief. All of this is very tiring but it is temporary. The person slowly and gradually moved toward the acceptance stage.


It is the last stage of the grief process where one accepts reality. It does not mean that the pain is gone. Pain is there but the person has moved on with his or her life. Memories cannot be deleted but those memories do not let the person stops living his or her life normally. Accepting this reality of losing someone is no doubt painful but by the end of the grief process, one becomes okay. The person becomes a new person with a lot of personal growth.

The order of the stages could be different for each individual and not everyone goes through all these 5 stages. As it is a unique experience for everyone, so they may or may not go through all stages. Some might experience all 5 stages and for others, only 3 or 4 stages are all that complete their process of grief. This process is overwhelming and difficult for the people who are going through it. But it’s absolutely a normal process.

If you need help with someone who is going through the grief process, you can always come to PRC Rehabilitation Center for counseling. Parvarish Recovery Center is basically an addiction and psychiatric rehab center but we also deal with other mental and emotional issues. For our full range of services feel free to call us at 0341-1959599 or visit our treatment rehabilitation centers.

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