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Scott A

Does Therapy Help?

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Scott A

I lost my wife of 24 years five weeks ago.  Her passing was sudden and unexpected.  She suffered a stroke and was in a coma and her situation was hopeless within the first 24 hours. She passed a day later.  I'm having a very hard time dealing with some of the things I experienced...feeling of regret and guilt eat at me whenever those images seep to the surface.  I try as best as I can to suppress such feelings, but it seems the only way I can do so is with distractions.  I stay busy and when that doesn't work, I drink. I've never been an emotional person, I'm very reserved, but her passing has me shaken in a way I've never experienced and would never wish upon anyone.  I've never put much stock or thought into therapy, but several friends have suggested it might be something to try.

Have others found therapy helpful?  

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chincube

I'm new to this as well, so I'm no expert in this.

People say don't suppress your feelings, however my experience is try as you might there's really not much "suppressing" that can be done. I, too, drink when it gets too much, even though I know it's not a good idea and am aware that it's not a solution. But sometimes when there's no suppressing, and after attempting to distract myself whole day with work or projects, I feel so exhausted and do not want to face those emotions.

I did start going to therapy already. I did not know what therapy does, I still don't have a very clear idea. Most of the time I did not know what I was doing beside crying and talking. But it's some effort of my own that I can control, and since my life is so out of control, in some way it feels nice. I can't say how much it's helpful, but for sure it doesn't do me much harm. Once I discovered something I didn't think of that I have been feeling as well. So I'd say why not try it if you can.

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SSC

@Scott A my husband died by suicide six months ago.  Sudden death brings its own unique challenges to grief that going to therapy can at least address.  I was fortunate enough to get in to see an amazing therapist within a week of my husbands passing who specializes in suicide grief.  In my early days of intense pain and foggy head I was certain she would have all the answers to fix my heart and my shattered life.  In some ways she did but it’s more of the therapist helping you to navigate through your feelings of anguish and talking through your guilt, letting you know what is truth and what is distorted blame (toward yourself). 

Therapy has helped me but this is a personal choice.  It’s not for everyone but keep in mind it takes time.  The one thing therapy and everyone here on the forum has taught me is this; do not suppress your grief.  Your feelings need to be acknowledged and felt otherwise you’re causing more harm.  I was a preschool teacher for many years for children with disabilities.  Ive had students with autism.  I understand your struggles to some degree.  I highly encourage you to make time for yourself, to be kind to yourself and recognize your feelings and express them.  It’s the only way... you HAVE to “sit in the wound” and feel all the pain and torment.  There is no other healthy way to get through this.  It is awful and I’m so very sorry you have to go through this.

I also feel this forum is a type of group therapy.  It has been a life saver for me.  I come here when I have nowhere else to go, seeking solace.  The community here is very loving, kind and helpful.  Come here often.  Others here understand when people in your life just don’t “get it”

sending you hugs

 

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Pitszal
8 hours ago, Scott A said:

I lost my wife of 24 years five weeks ago.  Her passing was sudden and unexpected.  She suffered a stroke and was in a coma and her situation was hopeless within the first 24 hours. She passed a day later.  I'm having a very hard time dealing with some of the things I experienced...feeling of regret and guilt eat at me whenever those images seep to the surface.  I try as best as I can to suppress such feelings, but it seems the only way I can do so is with distractions.  I stay busy and when that doesn't work, I drink. I've never been an emotional person, I'm very reserved, but her passing has me shaken in a way I've never experienced and would never wish upon anyone.  I've never put much stock or thought into therapy, but several friends have suggested it might be something to try.

Have others found therapy helpful?  

Scott

Sorry to read what you are going through. My husband ( 60 years of marriage) passed March 18 of Cancer I think about him 24/7  and miss him so much.  The feelings that you are going through are unfortunately normal. You will never forget your wife no matter what you do even if you seek therapy.  Your wife will be in your heart forever. What I can say is though, is going through  therapy is a good idea. They can help you through your pain and help you go through life. You owe it to yourself!.

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KayC
5 hours ago, SSC said:

 In some ways she did but it’s more of the therapist helping you to navigate through your feelings of anguish and talking through your guilt, letting you know what is truth and what is distorted blame (toward yourself).

I've often thought of it as them guiding your through the maze of grief.  When George died, I was not only blindsided, I didn't know where to start.  I'd lost a lot of people in my life but this was like no other.  It hit me on every level and affected every aspect of my life!  

It's key to get one that is a good fit for you, if you try one and they don't resonate with you, don't be afraid to try another.  Within three sessions you should know if it's the right one or not.  It can take quite a while to make headway, there's nothing quick or easy about grief, so give it time to work through.

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/10/seeing-specialist-in-grief-counseling.html
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2014/08/grief-understanding-process.html
https://ezinearticles.com/?Youve-Got-the-Power-How-to-Know-If-You-Are-Doing-Your-Grief-Work&id=9047323

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2014/03/bereavement-doing-work-of-grief.html
 

Edited by KayC
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SBA

My boys think it would benefit me to see a therapist, but I'm not sure.  I don't know if I want to spill out my feelings to a complete stranger, but I also know I don't want to burden my friends and family so I come to this board, I talk to myself (a lot).  I can't turn my brain off, Dave is continually in my thoughts and while I have wonderful memories, the truth is, that I want him back, not sick (Alzheimer's) but the old Dave who was my everything.  Neither of us were perfect, but we loved each other so much and together since I was 16 and him 17, married just short of 48 years, so now at almost 70, I can't see what my future looks like or I guess I don't like what I see.  I am blessed with family and friends, but just so sad.

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Scott A

Thank you all for the kind words, thoughts, advice and for sharing your own grief.  It helps to know others understand what I'm feeling and the fact that I've become an emotional wreck is not unique.  I'm now feeling like it's worth exploring therapy, just to see how it goes.  I know what I'm doing now isn't healthy.  At times I feel ok, but other times, alone with my thoughts, I struggle...and that worries me.  I appreciate the advice to find the right fit...that's not something I had considered.  Thank you all so much.  

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foreverhis
On 5/3/2019 at 1:31 PM, SBA said:

I also know I don't want to burden my friends and family so I come to this board, I talk to myself (a lot).

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.  And I've decided to make some changes in how I relate to my family and friends.  Like you, I haven't wanted to burden them.  They've got their own busy lives, plus I'm a stark reminder that this can happen to anyone.  As well, they don't always know what to say or do.  They are grieving for and miss my husband,  but know that it is entirely different.  They've lost a piece of their lives, an important piece certainly, but a piece.  I have lost my everything, my soulmate and best friend, and the one person I could always count on to comfort and support me.  What do you do when the person you need is the person you've lost?

After the first little while, everyone went back to their lives and I've begun to feel like an afterthought, an outsider, though that is certainly not their fault.  It's partly due to my own perception of who I am without my husband, that is only half of myself.  I've been an "and" for 35 years, so not even my closest people are certain of how to help and relate to me sometimes.  The man who shares my history and was my future is no longer here and I am "first with no one" (quote from an article I read).  That's a really painful place to be.  I have to try hard to remember that it is through no fault of my husband's, mine, or the people who care about us.

So now we come to the change I'm planning to make.  Everyone thinks I'm doing much better than I am, and part of the reason is that I've let them see only the "strong" parts.  I leave out the worst, the sobbing sessions, the confusion, the guilt and self-doubt, the images I can't shake, the painful decisions that still haunt me, the brain fog, the anger at the situation (not at my love; he did nothing wrong), the days I feel stuck in quicksand unable to move in any direction.  Well, that stops now. 

While I don't intend to be a quivering mass of self-pity, I am also not going to always "put on a brave face" and act as if everything is normal.  There is no such thing for me and will be no "new normal" (hate that term). There will only be figuring out ways to live with this reality and without my love by my side.  If I'm having a bad time, I'm going to say so.  If I'm scared, I'm going to ask for someone to figuratively (and sometimes literally) hold my hand.  Some of us have been through life's ups and downs together for decades.  My husband and I tried to be there for them, so I'm going to tell them I need them to be present for me.  The thing is that my husband could read my thoughts (in a really scary way sometimes--whole sentences plucked from my brain and answered before I even spoke them), but no one else can.  How can anyone tell what I need if I don't say it?  So even if they don't know what to say or do, even if they wish they could "fix" it, even if it makes them uncomfortable sometimes, I'm going to let the people I love know I need their support, though I may not always be able to say exactly what I mean by that.

So here's a question for you and all of us:  These are the people who love us, who we love and support and help.  Why on earth shouldn't we ask them to carry some of our burden right now?  We would do the same for them without hesitation.  If we had a heavy package and needed help carrying it, we'd ask for help.  In the long run, this isn't really different.  In not wanting to be a burden to others, we weigh ourselves down, stumbling deeper into the dark.  What else do we have in this life if we don't have each other through not just the wonderful times, but the also hardest?  I am only positive about a small group, but I think that's all I need.  My husband and I had already lost many "friends" a long while back when over a few years we both developed non-life threatening medical conditions.  We're kind of used to it by now.  I've lost a few acquaintances who said they'd be here, but who have vanished.  But that small group, my real family by both birth and choice, those are the people I need to be more honest with now.

And speaking of that, in about 2 hours,  my sister-by-choice and brother-by-choice (aka our best friends for 30 years who are constantly mistaken for my actual sister and my love's actual brother) will be here for a long weekend.  I will probably not be on the forum until next week some time, so I wish all of us as many moments of peace and comfort as we can find.  And please do think about what I wrote just now.  It took me 6 months to realize that it's not wrong to ask the people who love us to help carry some of the weight of our grief for a while.

Hugs to everyone.

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KayC

No it's not wrong to ask for help.  I just hope your friends are truer and the people in your life more caring that what I had in my life when George died.  They were not there for me.  My sisters cared but they live all over the state and they hadn't a clue what I was going through, still don't.  How could they?  Their husbands still live.

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Stevie

I am so sorry about your wife. I lost my fiancé in November. It was unexpected. I was devastated. I had to put my grief on hold for a few weeks because his family wanted me out of the house. I had to find a place to live, pack (somewhat), plus I went back to work 2 days after his funeral. I moved out of his house exactly one month after he passed away.

Here’s what I learned from suppressing my grief... I got really sick, I couldn’t make through the work day without breaking down. I had bouts of rage that I took out on people who didn’t deserve it. I was a mess.

 I started therapy in January and it’s helping me. I had to learn to allow myself to be with grief. When the waves would come I would put them aside and distract myself with other things. A day or 2 later I would arrive at work and sob in the parking lot and have to excuse myself during the day to sob again during the day. Once I started to allow the waves to crash over me and to be with my grief I  stopped sobbing in the parking lot and managed to get through a work day without sobbing.

 I see a therapist once a month so I can process my feelings. It’s not easy. I was going weekly but  a week wasn’t enough time for me to deal with my feelings.

 I just had my appointment this week and it really helped. I wasn’t sleeping and couldn’t focus. I went into her office and told her I needed to talk about him and it was like I “emotionally vomiting “ out all everything I was feeling. That night when I went to bed I fell right to sleep and I have felt “lighter “ and more relaxed. 

Therapy may not be for everyone but so far it seems to be working for me. That hour I can take off my armor and be myself and say whatever I want. She listens and gives me some perspective and reminds me that everything I’m feeling is normal and part of the grieving process.

 

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JES

I too, thought of therapy but being that I worked for Mental Health, didn't go as I didn't want to chance that Id get someone I knew thru work.  But, Ive had a great support system and spent many hours talking on phone to sister, friends. Two of them have husbands that are not well, so they are very afraid this could be them, so therefore are very understanding and really listen and let me get my feelings out.  This forum also has helped so much as I know others here " get it" and are very caring, even in their own grief. Sending thoughts and love to all. Jeanne

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Moment2moment

I did therapy with a grief counselor from hospice of 10 months, up until a few weeks ago. I went every few weeks.

It helped me, especially the first 7 months because largely I was in a state of shock and having panic attacks and ptsd flashbacks of her dying in hospice.

I got to where I could leave the house and eventually get a part time job. I mostly vented during that time and she helped me see that I was not going crazy during times when I could not understand my emotions.

After about 7 months the lid came off of my emotional kettle, so to speak, and I entered a darker phase of grief, i.e. the "dark pit". I fought my way out if that abyss by distraction and busyness. Or so I thought.

By this time the few friends and family I had were not appropriate or available or interested in hearing any more about my black moods and suicidal flights of fancy.

My counselor was the only person I could take to and before it was all over I transferred my desperate need for intimacy and support and affection onto her and this "transference" got me kicked out of counseling.

She could not handle it and I was confused about how it happened but it did. So no hard feelings but I was left without a counselor, which I had become dependent on, and so I face my first anniversary alone tomorrow. No one to talk to but God and you guys here.

I will find another grief counselor end of year when I get Medicare. I will be mindfull of "transference", which happens a lot in therapy.

I still have a lot of issues that I need to work through in my loss. I am no longer doing counseling myself. I have gone back to delivering flowers and food as a job that gets me out among people and I can bring my dog along, which she and I love.

I learned more than I ever thought I would by going to grief counseling.

About myself, my wife, our relationship, my capacity to love again, and my deep woundedness in the wake of her death.

I have been suicidal more than once. I still fear that I could lose control of my impulse to stop myself. My dogs keep me here and I talk to God all day long.

I am thinking about writing a book about what I have been through but I am scared on the one hand of getting in touch with the deep scars. Or it might be cathartic. I don't know.

I do know that I need to get back into counseling as soon as I can.

If you try it stick with it awhile. It is a "process", not a cure. By all means make sure you are comfortable with the counselor.

I had 2 before I found the one that helped me. Losing her set me way back in my grief. I miss talking with her so much. It is like a second death of an intimate soul to me. I am a mess most if the time now.

Yes, I highly recommend counseling and individual works for me. You guys are my group therapy.

Love

Lily Bell

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Pitszal

It seems that everyone is going through the unfortunate normal thought of processing a  death of a loved one. Grief..Guilt..Anger..etc until you come to Acceptance . Everyone is different in how they go through their grief. I myself are going through Grief & Guilt right now. After 60 years of marriage and knowing my husband since I was 14. I now live with my Daughter & Sil I don't know what I would do without them. They are a blessing to me.  I highly recommend counseling for those that have not reached Acceptance yet! Time is a healer and I really pray that all of us can read that time, My thoughts and prayers to everyone.  

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Scott A

Thank you.  I can't decide if its grief or despair or just mental anguish that hurts the most.  All I know is the distractions work for a short time, then the reality sets back in and I ask myself what's the point of any of this?

One of the few things that keeps me going is you all.  I've been mostly reading for a couple weeks, actually jumping in helps.  Thank you. 

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Moment2moment

For me it is despair that hurts the most.

Horrible sad things that happened and nothing will ever change that. Nothing can be undone. She will never be back. Never. No do overs.

The history of our life is over and I am the keeper of her and our memories together. That is all that is left-memories.

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Scott A
17 minutes ago, Moment2moment said:

For me it is despair that hurts the most.

Horrible sad things that happened and nothing will ever change that. Nothing can be undone. She will never be back. Never. No do overs.

The history of our life is over and I am the keeper of her and our memories together. That is all that is left-memories.

I'm sorry to hear of your loss, your struggles and your experience with therapy.  I hope you find comfort in keeping her memory alive.  Keeping my wife's memory alive is one of the few things that provides me a bit of comfort.

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chincube

@Scott A Today I went to therapy and after the session I thought of you. Last week the session was not productive at all, maybe because it was my birthday and all I wanted was to die. Today's session was however quite helpful, I thought about you and maybe it'd be helpful for you to consider whether therapy is what you need.

I don't think I have to describe my feelings and emotions, probably everyone here are familiar with them too. But the therapist that I went to made me think of some questions that I did not think of, and through working in my brain to answer those I feel a bit of relieve.

Today she asked me why is it so important for me that other close ones of my man to be in grief, and what does them being in grief mean to me. It occurs to me that for me grief is really a changed form of love, an expression of this love that had turn into another form since the death happened. Seeing people that he cared about not in grief, makes me feel sad and angry that maybe they didn't love him. She also asked me how do I think a best friend of his is grieving, even I never thought of that but in fact I know how is his best friend interpreting his grief towards my man. She then asked me to compare to how I am grieving, then I realized that I can have many more ways to express my grief - there are still many things I can do and that I want to do to be in grief, instead of only be devastated.

This is just a personal case of myself, and for me it is very intimate and personal. But I don't know, because I thought of you, and I thought maybe sharing this intimate case with you, that maybe it can give you an idea what can work or not work for you - therapy wise. We can be very different, maybe these trains of thoughts that my therapist worked with me do not apply to you. Well, you know what I mean - we can only distract ourselves so much, and there is only so much alcohol we can drink but we can't drink away our reality but only a short escape.

By the way, sometimes I have so much illogical fear that I would forget about him or lose memories of him. Sometimes I catch myself when I'm about to do something normal like eating that keeps me alive, I'd think if I do something normal like this I would risk forgetting him. I am still so afraid I will lose memories of him! Now whenever I remember some random memories between us, I write it down. I will keep on exploring what else I can do to keep the memories, that's very important for me too.

Please take care!

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foreverhis
On 5/4/2019 at 9:48 AM, KayC said:

I just hope your friends are truer and the people in your life more caring that what I had in my life when George died.  They were not there for me. 

Some are true and caring, and some have disappeared.  It's a very small group I can count on, but they've proven time and again that they will be here for me and for my husband's memory, as we have been and I will be for them.  The people who've disappeared mean nothing to me now, though it was painful at first. 

And I am developing a small set of new friends on our block.  That bunch of neighbors I've mentioned, all in our age group with similar backgrounds, interests, and priorities.  They've all realized that we only have the people in our lives to count on and that by being largely insular (aside from the usual "Hi, how are you?" and occasional chats), we're wasting the time we do have.  My husband's illness and death brought out a lot of "I don't want to be reminded this could and likely will happen to me" and "I don't know what to say, so I'll act like nothing has happened" at first.  Now?  There's better understanding among us that life is precious and fragile, and that none of us are young now.  I'm on the younger side at 60; we range in age from 60 to 72.  We've had difficulties, tragedies, and/or losses of one kind or another.  Mine happens to be the worst, most jarring one (and always will be for me).  But we're trying to bring a little spark of happiness and a bit of light to each other rather than spinning on in our lonely orbits.  It's a gift I will never take lightly, just as I will never take the love of my friends-family for granted.  One thing I hope is that both my old and new friends will like each other.  That would be the best gift of all.  (So far, so good; our best friends were here this weekend and we invited over a few of my new friends for a little cocktail and snack gathering.  Everyone seemed to have a really nice time.)

I do know I'm lucky to have what I have.

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beaniele
For me it is despair that hurts the most.
Horrible sad things that happened and nothing will ever change that. Nothing can be undone. She will never be back. Never. No do overs.
The history of our life is over and I am the keeper of her and our memories together. That is all that is left-memories.
My words and feelings exactly.

Linda

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Mildman

Scott

i have suffered a similar  sudden loss 5 months ago. All the feelings you describe I have experienced and am still having. I started seeing a counselor after 2 months. I needed some time just to get over the shock. In my experience the counselor is there to let you know all your feelings are normal and you are not going crazy. They will undoubtedly tell not to try and hide your feelings. You have to  go through and face those feelings so you can learn to deal with them. They are there so you can vent to them and express your feelings. They do not offer a cure nor do they have a magic wand to make you better. I started drinking more myself but tried to keep it at dinner time and not during the day. I'm sure you know drinking can become a problem. From everything I've read and what I have been going through so far  you eventually learn to live with your loss not get over it. There are many up and down moments. This forum lets you realize that others with losses have gone through and are going through the same feelings. What can appear discouraging is when you see a person posting with over a year in grief sound like they have made no progress but it is most likely they are posting when they are experiencing flashback of depression that last less and less over time. I know that from my own situation after 5 months. You are even able to come out of the panic attacks quicker.  It is a terrible road we are on and as you said I would not.wish this on anyone. I have two friends one male one female both had sudden losses. Seeing how they have learned to go on gives me hope that I will be able to get there too. I am writing this while I am not feeling too bad as I just returned from some volunteer work I stated. Remember what I said about reading the posts and hang in there we have no other choice but to go on.

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Scott A
2 hours ago, Mildman said:

Scott

i have suffered a similar  sudden loss 5 months ago. All the feelings you describe I have experienced and am still having. I started seeing a counselor after 2 months. I needed some time just to get over the shock. In my experience the counselor is there to let you know all your feelings are normal and you are not going crazy. They will undoubtedly tell not to try and hide your feelings. You have to  go through and face those feelings so you can learn to deal with them. They are there so you can vent to them and express your feelings. They do not offer a cure nor do they have a magic wand to make you better. I started drinking more myself but tried to keep it at dinner time and not during the day. I'm sure you know drinking can become a problem. From everything I've read and what I have been going through so far  you eventually learn to live with your loss not get over it. There are many up and down moments. This forum lets you realize that others with losses have gone through and are going through the same feelings. What can appear discouraging is when you see a person posting with over a year in grief sound like they have made no progress but it is most likely they are posting when they are experiencing flashback of depression that last less and less over time. I know that from my own situation after 5 months. You are even able to come out of the panic attacks quicker.  It is a terrible road we are on and as you said I would not.wish this on anyone. I have two friends one male one female both had sudden losses. Seeing how they have learned to go on gives me hope that I will be able to get there too. I am writing this while I am not feeling too bad as I just returned from some volunteer work I stated. Remember what I said about reading the posts and hang in there we have no other choice but to go on.

Thank you for the words of encouragement.  I feel as much despair today as I felt day one.  I hope maybe someday I'll start to feel normal again.  

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Scott A
15 hours ago, chincube said:

@Scott A Today I went to therapy and after the session I thought of you. Last week the session was not productive at all, maybe because it was my birthday and all I wanted was to die. Today's session was however quite helpful, I thought about you and maybe it'd be helpful for you to consider whether therapy is what you need.

I don't think I have to describe my feelings and emotions, probably everyone here are familiar with them too. But the therapist that I went to made me think of some questions that I did not think of, and through working in my brain to answer those I feel a bit of relieve.

Today she asked me why is it so important for me that other close ones of my man to be in grief, and what does them being in grief mean to me. It occurs to me that for me grief is really a changed form of love, an expression of this love that had turn into another form since the death happened. Seeing people that he cared about not in grief, makes me feel sad and angry that maybe they didn't love him. She also asked me how do I think a best friend of his is grieving, even I never thought of that but in fact I know how is his best friend interpreting his grief towards my man. She then asked me to compare to how I am grieving, then I realized that I can have many more ways to express my grief - there are still many things I can do and that I want to do to be in grief, instead of only be devastated.

This is just a personal case of myself, and for me it is very intimate and personal. But I don't know, because I thought of you, and I thought maybe sharing this intimate case with you, that maybe it can give you an idea what can work or not work for you - therapy wise. We can be very different, maybe these trains of thoughts that my therapist worked with me do not apply to you. Well, you know what I mean - we can only distract ourselves so much, and there is only so much alcohol we can drink but we can't drink away our reality but only a short escape.

By the way, sometimes I have so much illogical fear that I would forget about him or lose memories of him. Sometimes I catch myself when I'm about to do something normal like eating that keeps me alive, I'd think if I do something normal like this I would risk forgetting him. I am still so afraid I will lose memories of him! Now whenever I remember some random memories between us, I write it down. I will keep on exploring what else I can do to keep the memories, that's very important for me too.

Please take care!

Thank for for reaching out and for sharing your thoughts, feelings and what you're going through.  Your words are encouraging, that despite ups and downs you still find therapy helpful.  I guess that's what I'm looking for...hope that something will be of help.  That someone will help me to a better place.

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KayC
On 5/5/2019 at 8:48 AM, Moment2moment said:

I did therapy with a grief counselor from hospice of 10 months, up until a few weeks ago. I went every few weeks.

It helped me, especially the first 7 months because largely I was in a state of shock and having panic attacks and ptsd flashbacks of her dying in hospice.

I got to where I could leave the house and eventually get a part time job. I mostly vented during that time and she helped me see that I was not going crazy during times when I could not understand my emotions.

After about 7 months the lid came off of my emotional kettle, so to speak, and I entered a darker phase of grief, i.e. the "dark pit". I fought my way out if that abyss by distraction and busyness. Or so I thought.

By this time the few friends and family I had were not appropriate or available or interested in hearing any more about my black moods and suicidal flights of fancy.

My counselor was the only person I could take to and before it was all over I transferred my desperate need for intimacy and support and affection onto her and this "transference" got me kicked out of counseling.

She could not handle it and I was confused about how it happened but it did. So no hard feelings but I was left without a counselor, which I had become dependent on, and so I face my first anniversary alone tomorrow. No one to talk to but God and you guys here.

I will find another grief counselor end of year when I get Medicare. I will be mindfull of "transference", which happens a lot in therapy.

I still have a lot of issues that I need to work through in my loss. I am no longer doing counseling myself. I have gone back to delivering flowers and food as a job that gets me out among people and I can bring my dog along, which she and I love.

I learned more than I ever thought I would by going to grief counseling.

About myself, my wife, our relationship, my capacity to love again, and my deep woundedness in the wake of her death.

I have been suicidal more than once. I still fear that I could lose control of my impulse to stop myself. My dogs keep me here and I talk to God all day long.

I am thinking about writing a book about what I have been through but I am scared on the one hand of getting in touch with the deep scars. Or it might be cathartic. I don't know.

I do know that I need to get back into counseling as soon as I can.

If you try it stick with it awhile. It is a "process", not a cure. By all means make sure you are comfortable with the counselor.

I had 2 before I found the one that helped me. Losing her set me way back in my grief. I miss talking with her so much. It is like a second death of an intimate soul to me. I am a mess most if the time now.

Yes, I highly recommend counseling and individual works for me. You guys are my group therapy.

Love

Lily Bell

Wow, I relate to so much of what you said!   I too keep going for my dog and I hate to think what life will be when he dies, he's 11 and past the time his breed lives.  I hadn't heard of transference with regards to grief/loss but that makes sense.  It's a good thing to be mindful of, helps just being aware.

I hope you find a good counselor when you search for one.  It's a relief to hit Medicare age but it was a hard learning to me, I got Healthnet Advantage Program and it's an HMO, a learning experience for me as it's very different than the employer plans I had in the past.  I've had it 1 1/2 years and still learning my way through it.

You say everything hit at 7 months, that makes sense too...I've always heard it said that around 6 months is the hardest time, shock wears off, and so does support, of course the timeline will vary with everyone's circumstances but 7 months is in line with that.
 

Have you thought of trying a grief support group?  I've been leading one a couple of years and we have become close, it's the one place where people get it and understand, we can be ourselves with our feelings.  We've also gleaned some friends through this.  And most grief support groups are free!

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KayC
19 hours ago, Mildman said:

What can appear discouraging is when you see a person posting with over a year in grief sound like they have made no progress

I want to address that because it'll be 14 years for me come Father's Day.  

Grief has no ending.  No hard timeline fits all.  We vary by our personalities, resilience, support or lack of it, the depth of relationship, everything factors in and affects how we handle grief.  So can how much "grief work" we do...articles, books, counseling, I even did art therapy!

It's important to allow ourselves our feelings and not squelch them.  That said, we still have to function, go to work, pay bills, fix something to eat, etc.  It stands to reason we try to keep our grief at bay while at work, otherwise we'd lose our jobs...but even so, it seeps in at times, especially in the early time and hopefully employer and coworkers understand.  It hits us when we go home, where we shared our space together and now feels absent.  It's hard to sleep, hence a trip to the doctor.  Anxiety can hit full bore, hence another trip to the doctor.  We try different things, meditation, relaxing scents, walking (helps endorphins) to relieve stress and clear our heads.  I used to go out in the woods and scream!  However we get through this, collectively we've probably tried it all.

Yeah alcohol can worsen how we feel as it's a depressant.  You know that, at least you're not imbibing in the daytime.   If I thought I could get away with it I might have turned to drink but I knew better and have a bad liver so avoid it.  The way through this to me is to process our grief, to find some purpose in life, and incorporating getting out and doing something meaningful and be with others some of the time.  It's hard because what came naturally when they were alive, now we have to work at and it's still not the same...never will be.

This doesn't "get better" in a year or some other definitive time.  It's a lifelong journey.  It's not to be scared of though, we can make it through this, we're doing it together, one day at a time.  People (who haven't been through it) think we should be over it by now, no, we're never "over it".  Not one day, not one day!!! goes by but what George isn't on my mind and in my heart.  He's my soul mate, my best friend, my lover, my partner, he's everything and how the hell I've survived all these years without him I do not know.  I didn't think it was possible to survive a week without him, but here I am.  My life lacks the luster it once had with him, but it's doable, I've learned to, gradually.  Doesn't mean I don't have my down times.  When I'm going through a really hard place in life, his presence is keenly lacking.

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