The ‘up and down’ nature of grief

People sometimes speak of ‘stages’ of grief. This doesn’t mean that grief is something you begin one day, move through step by step, and emerge unchanged from at the other end. Rather, the stages reflect a range of emotions that you may move between.

       − Anne

For most people, grief involves ups and downs, moving between the traditional idea of grieving (crying, missing the person, feeling pain) and what they might describe as moving forward (returning to activities, learning new skills, forming new relationships). This can feel chaotic, but both the ups and downs are part of grief.

Most people find they gradually learn to cope better with their loss, but don’t despair if it seems like two steps forward and one step back, with feelings of intense grief again and again – this is common. The experience is often described as like being on a roller-coaster, but it can also be thought of as a series of cycles.


This information was last reviewed in April 2017
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