Blessed are the forgetful for they get the better even if they are blundered. (WFN)
Kubler-Ross listed five stages of dying in his 1960’s book, On Death and Dying: denial, anger, bargaining, grief/depression, and acceptance. These stages are not linear, sometimes simultaneous, and not impossible to be cyclical. Further study shows that these stages are not only applicable to death, but also in a wider psychological conditions relating to depression and loss. There are some debates upon whether other stages are eminent. But tentatively, Kubler-Ross model is still stand and widely used for its fruitful analysis of depression and loss.
Patient no. 6633744, Miss. N, suffers from a great loss due to failed romance relationship. Her (now ex-) lover left her for some reason. It is hard for her to forget him, because he’s been with her, as best friend and warm lover, for almost nine years. Not to mention he is her first experience of a mature and adult amorous romance. As for outsiders, it might be a trivial case as common theme in any soap opera. But for the sufferer, this burden is unbearable. According to the testimony, this has led her to disorientation, self-hatred, frustration, defeatism, convulsion, and impulsive behavior, distorting her personal and social life as student. At times when she is about to finish her undergraduate study and choose the next determining path of life, it has the tendency to self-destructive and morally suicidal omen.
Using Kubbler-Ross model, the patient has undergone some steps. At early consultation, the existence of loss was denied. But not long after, it was recognized and reconciled. The patient asked advices to restore her relationship. She admitted that she had deeply infatuated with him and would do anything to get him back. The stage of bargaining was happened, without the existence of anger.
Later development, the patient felt so sorry and pity for herself. She felt she was wrong and was the cause of her lover’s forsakenness. She bore all the blame. She did not even dare asking for forgiveness or trying to bargain as an effort to be back again to her lover. All that was left was misery and agony, that the patient said was inevitable punishment for her. This was the most devastating stage, the grief/depression. Unfortunately it was, as far, the longest duration of the other stages. It left an incurable episode on her professional record as a student and a member of the respected society.
Nevertheless, a slight dawn of hope is imminent. Having been almost a year in the grief stage, bit by bit, the patient managed to erode the guilt, hope, and self-pitiness. She eventually learns to accept that it is all over. She puts efforts to start over. She realizes that if she keeps on like this, she will only torment herself. She started to look the wide-wide horizon lying in front of her, infinitely bordered. And the sky and stars at night, and how insignificant she is, and her overrated misery. She doesn’t feel as sad as she was when she ponders about him. It seems like she has come to acceptance.
But this stage wavers. In order to forget him and starts a new, she erases literally everything about him. She even plans not to meet him, or minimize it, or at least try to. The danger of recuperative memory and traumatic relapse is latent. Temporary diagnosis suggests it is not yet a fully acceptance, but rather denial or escapism.
As in the Kubler-Ross model, going through acceptance does not necessarily mean that all pain and grief is gone, but it can also mean that the subject succeeds to deal with it with more complex ways. It also asserts that after acceptance is reached, the other stage may reoccure. And they may get more severe as the cycle count rolls. To make it a complete bleak, the stages can also concure at a single moment, for example, denial and anger can co-exist, as bargaining can fuel depression. As a closing, this symptom is good news as the patient start to jump over grief. But the warning is still dormant if any remembrance or extraordinary circumstance takes place.
Dari sahabatku, Yayan Puji Riyanto. Thanks, Yan.