Protecting your Children from your Grief

Hello I am going to try again with this forum. It’s been a really bad few weeks and I seem to be more grief stricken than I was two months ago. I think the first two months after my darling John died I was in deep shock and then I realised with horror that he wasn’t coming home again. Ever. It is truly terrifying. I explained before, like many on here, we did everything together. All our friends live far away. I don’t have any siblings. My Dad died in January. I have two wonderful daughters and John was a much loved Step Dad. They have been here for me since the day he died but I am afraid my deep grief is becoming difficult for them to handle. My youngest has had great tragedy herself when her only child died at 6 hours old 10 years ago. She is doing everything she can to comfort, help and support me. I am worried she is beginning to crumble under the pressure. My eldest daughter also tries hard but finds it difficult to talk about life in general and is always a worrier anyway. What can I do? I need help. I am thinking of getting some anti depressants from the Dr. Life is so bleak, meaningless and empty. Does anyone have any advice on what I can do?

Dear @Johnswife, it is so good to see you back, I wish you were not here because I wish you were not suffering, but as you unfortunately are, I am glad you’re back to get some help. Hopefully all the misunderstandings from the past have been clarified, and you will be able to post here when you need to. I don’t have the time to respond properly now, but my mum also seems to be in the situation where she doesn’t talk about her grief anymore because she doesn’t want to stress me, I will also write a detailed reply on anti-depressants, and if you do go down that route, the questions you should ask your GP. Take care.

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I’d like to take the time to respond to you and give you reassurance that you will indeed find support on this site from people who know exactly what you are going through after losing your soulmate. I lost my wonderful husband 30 months ago, it took me 9 months before I started to interact on the forum. I took time to read others experience and it helped me so much. If you click into my profile and look at my activity you will see the progress I have made, that’s not to say I don’t have my struggle with grief 30 months on, but I know how to deal with it. You’ll find genuine, kind people here, who can truly relate to your loss. You will also make wonderful friendships too, ones that will respect your feelings.


So sorry for your loss i was 11 wks in when really hit me will be 14 wks on monday i hate it its so hard and ive never experienced grief like it i have a 12 yr old and we talk about dad but when she is at school or out of site i have my moments i just keep saying i want you back and i cry i live other end of country from my family so its not easy i also lost dad 4 yrs ago drs habe given me anti depressants can take a few weeks to kick in and have re started mine after a few wks break as other lot finished then thet told me to take 2 a night but i was delirious so changed when i take them i didnt want to go on them but as i was struggling to sleep and then really struggling mentally they suggeted i try them will see how we go
Take care x

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As to whether you should go on anti-depressants or not, that is something that you should discuss with your GP. I have been on 5 different anti-depressants in my life - Clomipramine, Citalopram, Sertraline, Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Mirtazapine, and have been reading medical journals on mental health for over two decades to learn about my depression and anxiety, amongst other things, so I know a bit about this area, but I am not a qualified medical professional, so you should ensure that whatever decision you take is made after having spoken to your GP.

Did any of the anti-depressants that I took work? I don’t know. I don’t think Sertraline worked at all, and I did not like it, and Mirtzapine had bad side effects, so I stopped it immediately, but how about the others? Whilst they didn’t seem to make me better, maybe they stopped me from getting worse? Who knows? But they DO work for some people, and so you can never use other people’s bad experiences to say you will not take them, because you never know, they might work for you.

There are a few things that you should be aware of before you visit your GP so that you can discuss these with them. Many GPs unfortunately prescribe anti-depressants too easily. You have a 10 minute appointment, they see you have the classic symptoms that are associated with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and so they prescribe you the pills. As the NICE Guidelines tell GPs to offer patients SSRIs as first line defence, because they are a new type of anti-depressant and have less side-effects, that is what you are likely to be prescribed - so if you’re really worried about side-effects and that is putting you off from visiting your GP, you shouldn’t be, because unlike the older anti-depressants, these have much less side-effects.

Then, there is also the question of whether you are actually suffering from MDD, or whether it is grief. Whilst many of the symptoms can often be the same, many psychatrists consider them to be different. However, the American Psychiatric Association stated in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - Volume 5, that anyone who is suffering from grief for more than two weeks should be treated as suffering from MDD. Other psychiatrists disagree.

So you will have to go to your GP to get a diagnosis. These are the questions you should ask

  • How are you diagnosing me as suffering from depression and not just grief?
  • Why have you chosen to prescribe me this particular medicine? What are the alternatives, and why was this chosen instead of the others?
  • What side-effects might I experience?
  • How will I know whether this medication is working for me or not? If after 6 weeks I still feel the same or worse, what will the options be?
  • Are there any talking therapies available that might help me?
  • What about a holistic approach? Are there any lifestyle changes you recommend?

It’s a tricky one. Andrea Cipriani from Oxford University says in his research that anti-depressants work. Others say that on average they make people feel only slightly better, and question whether it is worth giving pills if the benefit is no negligible. The counter argument to this of course is that whilst on average they might make people feel slightly better, for some people they make them feel much better, and we can’t really know whether a person will feel much better, only a bit better, or the same, until we have given them the anti-depressant to try. That’s the argument that James Warner from Imperial College London makes.

So please book an appointment with your GP and discuss with them how you are feeling and what the options available to you are.

As for your daughter, I am so sorry she lost her only child, and I hope you and your family are a bit better tonight. Take care.

As for hiding your grief from your children, my mum and I don’t discuss how we are feeling now. I ask her how she is and she says “fine, thanks to God”, and she asks me how I am, and I say “thanks to God, I’m ok”, and that’s it, even though I know she isn’t fine, and she knows I am not fine.

She broke down on the phone two months ago, saying she’s really struggling without my dad, and I asked her why had she been lying to me that she is fine, and she said “it would just make you worse”, and I told her I’d rather know how she is even if she isn’t doing well, but she’s back to putting on a brave face. And even when I am doing really badly, I just tell I am ok. If there was something I could do to help her, or vice versa, then maybe telling each other we’re not coping well might work, but when there isn’t anything we can do, what’s the use? We’ll only bring each other down even further.

Of course, everyone has different circumstances. If you feel that talking to your daughters about your grief helps, then you should. That is what they would want, please do not feel like you are a burden on them. I am sorry your daughter is a worrier, but she’d be even more worried if you bottled it up and got worse.

Johnswife, I think it admirable that you want to protect your children from grief but honestly? I don’t think you can. Like you and any one of us, they need to go through it. Remember? We can’t go under it, we can’t go over it, we can’t even go round it, we have to go through it. All you can do is be there for each other. There is a thread called ‘Back to Square One’ - it only has 3 posts but I thought of you as I read them. Might be worth reading because I can’t put it any better than Heather Diane or Jonathan. Take care and look after each other. Love to you and your family. xx


@SanWThank you for your kind words. I can’t imagine having to get through this go 30 months but will take comfort from your words. It’s just so hard isn’t it. I was always a fixer and a planner. Now I feel like a different woman. I don’t like her. :broken_heart:

@Fg15 Your daughter is so young I am so sorry. I am 16 weeks today so we are at around the same stage I suppose. It’s really really hard. I am going to talk to the doctor tomorrow. Take care x

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Love to you Kate I will look at that thread. X

@Abdullah thank you for your time. My Dad, Mother, Stepson and Grandchild all died in recent years. Having to carry on now my darling John has died has shown me that there is a level of grief that is beyond anything I experienced before. John was there to comfort me do you see? . Everyone experiences grief in their own way but loosing the other half of you is shattering. I am going to talk to my doctor tomorrow.

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Yes, your beloved John was the constant in your life, your rock, who was there to see you through all the difficult periods in life, and now he is sadly not here.

Good luck at the doctor.

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Thank you @Abdullah