Although crisis is often unpredictable, there are predictable phases that we experience. Knowing these might allow a struggle to be normalized.
Phases of a crisis: Impact stage - learning new information that is overwhelming. This may include being stunned, numb, immediate grief, anger etc. This lasts up to 2-3 days but can be experienced in as little as moments.
Withdrawal/Confusion - this stage is where we recoil, go inward, and try to process what this new development means. Depression can be a part of this stage as well. This might be cycled through in a few days or it might take weeks or even months to process through, depending on the magnitude of what is being experienced.
Adjustment stage - This is where change is happening with or without our permission and the crisis experience starts to become familiar. We might begin to understand our choices with moving forward. New normals and patterns begin to emerge. This stage tends to take longer than the previous one.
Reconstruction stage - Intentional decisions are made and moving forward takes on a new rhythm. The crisis may not have resolution (loss still has happened), but rebuilding a new life around the loss takes precedence.
It is important to understand that we can feel stuck in stages and make assumptions how quickly/slowly things are supposed to unfold. Avoid assumptions about how things are supposed to feel or what is supposed to happen. Know the stages. We move through them in unique and personal ways.
Stage cycle taken from H. Norman Wright - Crisis & Trauma Counseling
Mark Holloway, MA, LPC