The 5 Stages of Grief Dr. Elisabeth Kübler, a Swiss psychiatrist, first described the Five Stages of Grief in 1969 to explain the emotions that a person dealing with grief may experience. Many people have interpreted this incorrectly, thinking that everyone experiences all five of these stages, in order. But nowhere does it say you’ll experience them all, or go from one stage to the next. Some people start with “depression” and then jump into “anger” and may never get to “acceptance.” More likely than not, if you’re experiencing a very tragic loss, you will face one or all of these emotions head-on: 1. Denial – Refusing to believe what has happened, feeling shocked. “This can’t be happening.” 2. Anger – Accusing others, such as a supreme being or friends, for what has occurred. “How dare you let this happen!” 3. Bargaining – Asking the universe or a supreme being to “cut a deal” with you. “Just let me live to see my daughter get married.” 4. Depression – Experiencing listlessness or exhaustion combined with feelings of helplessness, guilt and lack of interest in life. “I might as well give up.” 5. Acceptance – Facing the loss and moving on, returning to setting goals in your life and focusing your energy more positively. “I’m ready to deal with this now.” Understanding the 5 Stages Although these five stages can be a helpful model to keep in mind as you deal with grief and sorrow, everyone’s grieving process will be different. Sometimes a person will follow these stages exactly in order, sometimes out of order and other times only a few stages. Also, the length of time you will spend in each stage varies. Even though these stages were modeled for someone who’s dealing with recent or imminent death, this model can apply to other situations as well. A divorce, betrayal by a friend or large-scale tragedy like 9/11 can also send a person through these stages.