I didn’t know my sorrow was grief and depression. I just knew I was in a dark place. We experience grief throughout our lives. A family member may grieve the death of a loved one. A person might grieve the loss of a relationship. Or you might have received a diagnosis and are grieving expected death. The emotions that come up after a breast cancer diagnosis, are like the experience of loss. To understand what stage of grief you are in and the stages that lie before you, we must examen Kubler-Ross’ Stages of Grief model. This model was developed in her book On Grief and Dying originally made and applied to people living in a state of grief due to death or dying personally or of a loved one. Let us explore the stages.

DABDA, Kubler-Ross’ Stages of Grief, deal with stages in your life that you pass-through to reach the final stage of Acceptance.

Denial- When you are first diagnosed, it’s normal to think, “They made a mistake. This can’t be happening.” You may feel symptoms of shock or numbness. This is normal and a short-term way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion. It’s a defense mechanism.
This stage is normal and will fade

Anger- Anger is another reaction to loss. As physician, attorney, and author David Kessler quotes on CNN, “Anger is pain’s bodyguard. It’s how we express pain,” he said. “That stage gives people permission to be angry in healthy ways, and to know it’s not bad.”
Combat anger with exercise, journal, vent with a trusted person

Bargaining- This stage deals with the guilt. The “If only” and “I could have.” You bargain with your disease, bargain with your pain, and may bargain with higher power.
Know You Did Nothing Wrong!

Young woman depressed

Depression- This is a profound sadness as you understand the impact this disease has on your life. Often depression happens because feeling helpless, hopeless, or guilty about needing help from loved ones
Nurture yourself, share feelings with trusted others, and express feelings via writing, music, or art.

Acceptance- Acceptance doesn’t mean “all is good” or you are in state of nirvana. It takes time to understand your “new normal”. This doesn’t mean that all your past emotions are gone. You have learned to live with the grief and are now open to moving forward with your life.

This too you will overcome!

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