Bereavement and grieving

Apologies for the lack of updates over the last couple of months.
Shortly after my last post, in the small hours of January 2nd, I got a frantic phone call from my brother telling me to get back to London as quickly as I can because our father had a heart attack. I couldn’t get there in time and he passed away before I arrived.

I’d always known that one day I’d have to deal with his death, it’s been my biggest fear since losing my mother as a child but wasn’t expecting it to happen just yet. He was only 75, he’d recently retired, had a new ‘lady friend’ and was enjoying his life.

I have not been coping well with the loss at all. I had what could best be described as a mental breakdown at the end of January. It’s triggered abandonment issues that I had when I was younger, I’m terrified to let Jack or Lucy out of my sight. I’m scared to go to sleep in case I don’t wake up. There was one night where I must have woken Jack 5 or 6 times because I was convinced he wasn’t breathing – the morning after was when he took me to see a doctor.

I’m seeing a therapist, I’m going to grief counseling, I’m on anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. I’m used to being the one caring for a loved one going through a mental health crisis, not the one in crisis. Throw in the guilt that I feel like I’m letting my family (and my students) down, and combine that with the knee-jerk reaction that I’m somehow too old to have this kind of inability to cope. It’s exhausting and terrifying and I’m completely adrift – Jack is my anchor

But I also know I will get through this. I know it’s going to take a number of months for me to adjust and start to heal – and that the healing and grieving process can take years. My doctor is confident that prescribing my anti-depressants should be a short-term help, but as she put it, depression makes it difficult to grieve properly – and that as I work through the process, my body will be able to find the reserves to fight the depression, that I can’t do it all – not alone, and not at the same time.

I’m also finding writing this is embarrassing to admit to yet logically I know that keeping it all bottled up inside isn’t helping. I have a physical journal that I’m writing in every day and I’m posting this as a first step towards becoming less isolated again. Collapse

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