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Sudden Loss of Father


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Hello all, 

I am new to this site; I am looking for ways to help me through the grieving process of losing my dad. I unexpectedly lost my father December 19, 2020. I have been filled with grief, pain, sadness, anger, and fear since he took his own life 4 months ago. My father struggled with mental illness for most of his life. My father’s side of the family, has struggled with mental illness most of their lives as well. My father’s father (my grandfather) took his own life (intentional death by police shooting) when his children were young, between the ages of 6-12 years old. My father, his siblings and his mother (my grandmother, aunts, and uncles) have carried the terrible and tragic loss of their father their entire lives. The pain I feel for the loss of my father and the struggles he has gone through is immense. I struggle with anxiety myself, similar to my father and his family members. My father and I had rough patches throughout our lives and our relationship. In the last year before he passed, he and I were working towards mending our relationship. We were working together to gain clarity, to gain understanding, knowledge, of ways to work with and embrace the stress in our lives. To share our pain, to help guide each other to more positive outlooks of life. During his lifetime, there was not always the understanding and help available to people with mental illness. As I was growing up, I remember different hospital visits where they were trying to "help" or "fix" my father. They did shock treatments, and many different types of medications to try to ease his suffering and pain of depression, anxiety, and bi-polar disorder. As a teenager and now as an adult I have been through things with my father that most will hopefully never experience. Moments when dad was struggling, when he was hospitalized during times in his life where is mental illness was out of control. Being in a hospital room with my dad, the man I looked up to and loved the most. Seeing him lose the clarity of reality when his mental illness was taking over him. He would be in a place where he did not recognize people or situations for what they truly were. In high school, before I (or anyone else) fully understood the severity of his mental illness, dad disappeared for 3-4 days. This is when his mental illness was discovered to not only be anxiety and depression but also bi-polar. Dad had a manic episode and this is why he disappeared. No one could get ahold of him, knew where he was, if he was okay, or alive. After days of hearing nothing my dad called me. He was in another state, telling me he was doing everything he could to get back home to me. He eventually made it back into our home town where he was stopped by police and brought to a place to be cared for. Later in my adult life, there was a time he was in a hospital, and I cannot remember exactly how or why he was there. But I was there with him, through it all. I had stepped out for lunch and was gone for maybe 5-10 minutes when I received a phone call from the hospital that multiple security guards, nurses, and doctors were in his room because he had become violent and confused. When I arrived back within a few minutes of the call, he yelled at me and told me I was conspiring against him with the doctors and nurses, that they were trying to hurt him, not help him. I sat down next to him with all of these people in his room standing around and watching everything unfold. I had to calm him, reach out to him and try to help him understand that we were all there to help him. He eventually calmed down and we were able to move forward with trying to get him the help he needed in that time. Situations like that started giving me a different view of my father, I was a daddy's girl my entire life. And seeing him so lost and confused was one of the most heartbreaking experiences of my adult life, until now. The pain, the struggle, the illness that eventually ended my father’s life is now what I am left with. These moments in time where we tried to help, tried to make things better, this is what I am left with, knowing that it was not enough to overcome his own demons. 

 Growing up and realizing I have the same issues with depression and anxiety, I tried to find my own way of coping with those demons. I have found meditation, my own form of yoga, journaling, and trying to live a healthier lifestyle is what works best for me. My father had not tried my methods for trying to heal so we had started the conversation about him trying some of my coping mechanisms. He was trying to eat better, exercise, and spend time with family. I know that I was trying to help him work through his own demons just as I was doing for myself. However, in this deep dark part of me, I tell myself it wasn't enough. I wonder if there was more I could have done, something I could have said differently, more time I could have spent with him. The what ifs are never ending in the scenario of how I could have tried harder to save my father from his demons. 

I am struggling friends; I have lost 15-20 pounds since the passing of my dad. Most days I struggle to eat, I struggle to give myself self-love and care, I struggle with large amounts of stress that are deteriorating my body and my quality of life. For the most part since my father passed away roughly four months ago, I have struggled every day. I have made myself busy to keep some of the pain at bay, to distance myself from it. The act of grieving, feeling the pain, sadness and loss is so much to bear. It has been easier for me to look past it, rather than deal with it. I know that I need to grieve and cope. But allowing the full pain and sadness to come through is so overwhelming. Any comments, wisdom, replies, advice is greatly appreciated and valued. 


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