I was experiencing many of the same emotions after my sexual assault that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross describes in her five stages of accepting the death of a loved one. The only difference is that, with death, you at least get the perk of being brought some yummy casseroles.
Kübler-Ross outlines the five stages of grief as follows:
Stage #1: Denial and isolation:
"This is not happening to me."
Stage #2: Anger:
"How dare this happen to me."
Stage #3: Bargaining:
"Just let me get X and I won't care about Y," or "If this doesn't happen, I promise to..."
Stage #4: Depression:
"I can't bear to face going through this."
Stage #5: Acceptance:
"I'm ready; I don't want to struggle anymore."
If you've been through a personal tragedy, chances are that you too don't want to accept it and let in all the painful emotions—at least for a while.
Psychologist Sharon Wolf believes there is a "core pain" you must be ready to feel during really bad times to fully recover: "If you want to heal rightly from a crisis, be ready to tolerate more pain than you thought you could ever feel," warns Wolf.
Thankfully, Wolf promises if you learn to sit with, feel, and tolerate this core pain, it will get smaller and smaller, until it ultimately disappears.
Bounce Back Assignment: If you are avoiding your pain and grief as I tried to do, remind yourself: