Probably the most well-known of these might be from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' book, "On Death and Dying." In it, she identified five stages that a dying patient experiences when informed of their terminal prognosis.
The stages Kubler-Ross identified are:
- Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
- Anger (why is this happening to me?)
- Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
- Depression (I don't care anymore)
- Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)
I was ill 41 months ago during my birthday. Before then things lined up for me in my life with no problem. I was usually offered pretty good employment positions/opportunities and was able to curry favors through relationships with people. Today I feel like Nicholas Cage in the film "Family Man" where he experiences a drastic reversal of fortune and until he has a revelation about why he was being taught a supernatural lesson he feels as though he is in the Twilight Zone. Today I generally love to celebrate my birthday however that day is attached to this memory. Can we really pray bad thoughts away or really avoid the past? Or teach ourselves coping techniques and move forward? I have no answers only more questions.
That sums up my daily frame of mind. Yes I am alive. And yes I am grateful for my life. No I'm not terminal in any way. But I must share how tough it is to experience rejection after rejection, failure after failure, low confidence, no expectations and move through the day optimistically. I liken my current experience as a pet who has been beaten by a prior owner so now that I'm in a kennel [a chance to wipe the slate clean and begin again] it's difficult to trust the folks walking up to my cage giving me the once over to see if I am good enough to take home or not. I used to live with a knowing that things were going to work out in my favor. Simply because they always have so they will continue to. Well while I was in the hospital that knowing turned into hoping. Today, post hospital, post stroke, the hoping has morphed into an expectation of failure.
Over the past month I've had three interviews and three call backs. None resulted in landing the gigs. Well one possibility was to work on staff @ the Tonight Show. Many staff people relocated from NYC to LA and they needed someone to communicate with the New Yorkers because New Yorkers are so "direct" they are "hard to work with." Me being a New Yorker with the skills for which they were looking could translate the 'direct' communication into the poofy LaLa language that Hollywood would rather hear. Round two interview locked that job. Well due to the recent brouhaha, it made no sense for the company to hire me when Conan and staff were being fired, publicly and in a humiliating manner. With the added bonus of not being able to be on the air again until Sept. of 2010. Back to the pavement for me. Other than my pimp walk my personality is still the same. The personality that always landed the job, always had favor with people, that always won. Now since I am the constant in this story, it's me who is meeting with people what changed? Why? Don't attempt to answer that - you couldn't possibly...
It's not fun having these experiences day in and day out. And it is an effort to make a choice each day to be hopeful, to live with no expectations. To believe.
I began blogging last April in order to find a community of people who can say, I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL because I went through what you are going through or I AM GOING THROUGH what you are experiencing now and let me share my story with you. LET ME ENCOURAGE YOU. In the past, I blogged about faith, beauty products, gadgets, health foods and other rantings all to avoid discussing the meat of traumatic brain injury, how difficult it is to rebuild my life. All without viewing the blog sphere as a cheap form of therapy but rather a place to have daily dialog, yes I digressed. Instead what I've found is a wonderful community of bloggers who are mostly unlike me and whom lift my spirits each day with creative writing and unexpected friendships. I guess I'm doing something right. Blogging makes me feel like I am winning.
The post title is the word 'five' in ten different languages. After three years, I still grieve my old life. I am simultaneously experiencing four of the five stages - all but #3 Bargaining. It's interesting living in a head that experiences Denial, Anger, Depression and Acceptance all at once. You'll most likely never again read a person admitting these things or ever hear anyone say these things. People just don't talk about it. I tend to think that's because they never been through any type of trial. However I'm feeling like purging today. As a believer I have the spirit of Job on one shoulder [who trusts that God will provide and all will end well.
Am I to just put on a face and rejoice always, speak only positivity and move on? Or express myself in truth based on how I feel and then keep it moving? I do feel that I must use tact and decorum but always be true. I liken myself to Jack Nicholson's character in "As Good As it Gets" where although crass and needing therapy he says what's on his mind which leads him ultimately to the life that he desires with the woman whom he desires. Or both rejoice in truth? Again I have no answers just more questions. [Pity party over.]
Okay the deck is all clean now.