Really Struggling

Hi

Don’t feel ready just yet to go into deep detail, but am really struggling right now. Mum died in December, after being told in September that she had terminal cancer and a year left. Unfortunately the cancer spread to the brain, so things happened much quicker than we had been prepared for (if you ever can prepare!).
But that not it - have lost Mum, Dad and Dog(best friend) is less than 3 years, and just feel very low. This has also sturred up lots of painful feeling and emotions from the past as well which makes it all the more difficult.
Am on medication from the doctor and having private counselling sessions on a regular weekly basis.
Just wondering if I will ever “get over this” or feel normal again. What do you do to cope? sometimes its an achievement when I get up in the morning

Hi Pete, sounds like you are having a really tough time. Glad that you are in touch with your GP and having counselling - talking about things is good and this can only help.

It’s not unusual to be feeling low and for everything to feel a struggle, most people in your situation would feel the same and we hear this a lot, particularly when people are bereaved.

Keep going and take it a day at a time. It’s great that you have found this community - we only launched yesterday, more people will be sharing their experiences as we go along.

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Hi Pete, I hear you on this. In the last 18 months my Dad, stepdad and mother-in-law have all passed away. It can often feel like you are trapped in a long, dark tunnel - full of illness, grief, pain. Indeed it takes a long time to come out the other side of it. If your Mum died in December then it is all still very recent and raw.

Talking about it definitely helps and finding the right kind of things to reflect on and remember too, trying to shape a positive narrative about the past and the happy memories (maybe a bit of rose-tinted glasses, not necessarily always a bad thing!).

To answer your question, yes you will get over it and you will feel ‘normal’ again but of course it will be a new normal - one in which you no longer have those hugely important people physically in your life, but they continue to play a part in the background as it were - emotionally.

Stay strong Pete.

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Thanks so much for sharing, Nick. Really sound advice that we sure Pete will appreciated. Hope you’re doing ok.

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Yes, thank you Nick, really do appreciate you sharing this. Kind of reassuring to hear from someone who is in similar position so to speak. Hope you are doing okay?

Something I have found to be helpful, especially if there is no one around at the time, that you feel comfortable talking to - is to write it down. What ever your feeling, just grab a pen and paper and write it down. You can tear it up and put in bin afterwards if you want, but it just gets things out of your system so to speak.

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Hi Pete,

It sounds as though you’re having a very tough time. My Dad died a couple of years ago and although I knew it was coming it still knocked me sideways so I can’t imagine your loss. It took me about 6 months to be able to think about him properly and every time I started to think about him I’d think about something else. I felt sad and also guilty as I thought I should be grieving in a certain way and I couldn’t help asking myself why did no one tell me it was going to be like this! It was the advice of a (wise) friend who had had more than his own share of grief who said “Don’t let anyone tell you how to mourn”. It was the best advice I’d had… we all grieve differently and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. For me, I’m close to my brother and sister which was a great help and I kept myself busy with my work. I miss him every day but the happy memories have come back and that’s what I focus on now.

From what you say it sounds that you are doing the right things, seeing your doctor and having counselling. You WILL get through it and you’re not abnormal to feel so low. Try not to be too hard on yourself or think you should be feeling this way or that. It is very early days for you so perhaps small steps to start with and it looks as if you’ve taken the first few.

I think the previous reply from Nick is spot on about having those people still in your life in the background but it will be a different life. And it can still be a great one.

Miranda

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Hi Miranda

Thanks - yes it truly is the toughest place I have ever been right now. Is impossible to explain to people exactly how feeling but to try and explain a little:

Dad passed away 3 years ago from pnewmonia and heart failiure which was fairly sudden. Didn’t get a chance to deal with this or come to terms with it as shortly after my very very best friend, Diesel my dog fell ill. I was thrown straight back into it all and after several operations, sadly had to make the decision to have him put to sleep. To say I was devastated, and still am is an understatement to be honest. Then once again didn’t get chance to deal with anything, as couple of weeks later, Mum found a lump. I was immediately thrown again and focus was on her and being full time career for Mum … So now its like I am mourning and grieving for the 3 closest people in my life all at one time - sorry, probably makes no sense, and sorry to mumble on …

Was very apprehensive about going for counselling. My GP offered me 6 sessions, and I simply said sorry, but that isn’t going to cut it. I decided to find a counsellor privately, and took several before I found the one I am now seeing. The first couple I just didn’t feel comfortable or that I could trust them. I then found the one that I am now seeing - he wanted to do an initial assessment session which a agreed to. I explained a very brief outline in that session without going into much detail, and told him that I find it hard to open up fully to people/trust them. I asked if he could just be patient, as it might take a while before I start to open up fully. He was very understanding and sort of put me at ease. Said that I can take it at my pace, doesn’t matter what order things come out, and can do what I want to do. Have only had 5 sessions so far and only just starting to think of opening up about some major things, but to be honest, now that I have weekly sessions with him, I don’t know what I would do without it.

Just trying to take one day at a time, and if I get up and can’t do it, then just not doing it - sorry world but tough!
Have had to cut back on my business a fair bit this year, whilst still trying to keep some focus on it, to give me some space and ease the pressure a little - such is one of the advantages of being self employed.

Once again, so sorry to mumble on …

Peter

Hi Pete, My husband died 2 years ago, and although people ( usually well meaning but have not experienced a death) tell you it will get better. I don’t think it does, you learn to live with it, you are doing all the right things. You will also start to remember the good times best luck for the future

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Hi Peter. No need to apologise. It sounds as though you’re doing everything you can to help yourself, at least I can’t think of anything more you could do! Your counsellor sounds perfect for you and recognises that you haven’t had to time to grieve so as you say one day at a time. I worked with my Dad and our business was neglected for a while but I found most people to be understanding when I explained the circumstances and it pulled through. It’s still very early days for you and I expect will take a while for you to figure things out. I sincerely wish you all the best. Miranda

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Hi Pete

I read your original posting and for some reason it made me stop and think. Your reference to the doctor was the ‘hook’ that made me stop and write.

I’ve sat here for a while trying to find the right way to express my feelings and relate them back to yours, I have found that very hard to do so I have decide to just tell you what’s happened to me and hope that you find the right path for you through the turmoil’s of loosing a loved one.

My wife Josie died just under 4 years ago after a 6 year hard fought battle with cancer. She was 42.

My daughter (then 12) and I where at her bedside at St Johns Hospice when she died. The hospice gave Josie the dignity she deserved and us the support we craved. I have said so so so many times how wonderful the hospice was, I still spout it from the rooftops to anyone that will listen. And to a few that wont listen.

The point of this was that when Josie died. I did too. I fell apart.

I hated everyone. I pushed everyone away, I was aggressive, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t stay awake. I couldn’t be alone and hated being with people. I just became one giant contradiction and fell deeper and deeper into a long dark tunnel. But secretly, looking back, I was comfortable there. Being there confirmed my loss, it gave it validity, Jo died, I was sad,” Look how sad I am!”.

My family with the best intentions in the world took me to the doctors for anti depressants and sleeping tablets. I had months and months of counselling. I never really ‘bought’ into it at all. I would tell people what I thought they wanted to hear, I guess I lied to them and myself.

The lowest point was 3 days in Weller wing at Bedford Hospital. I was sectioned because of my mental state.

Again another round of counselling and more damn tablets. And more lies.

I then met a lady who after a few weeks of private one to one sessions asked me to imagine my life as a window, “Sit in front of the window and describe what you see”

I said to the left of the window I see Josie being diagnosed, in the middle I see her death and to the right of the window is now. She said “Walk up to window, Open it,lean out the window, and look left”

That was a pivotal moment. I had forgotten about life before Jo’s diagnosis. I had forgotten the many good times, the fun the giggles and the love. I had forgotten it all, actually I had chosen to ignore it but the result was the same.

My ‘look left’ moment was such an obvious thing for me to do, but the pain and the desire to stay in the dark had clouded me.

The chemical help offered by the doctor and the counselling offered seemed to push me back in to the darkness. I think it was because I fought against it all, I never really believed it would help, therefore it didn’t.

The other realisation was that Josie dying was sad. It bought out my depression. I fought against my depression. Recently I have decided not to fight it. I embrace it. I get depressed from time to time and I feel the desire, the need for the darkness. For me those periods last moments hours or weeks…but they pass. When they pass the light returns. From the moment I ‘accepted’ them, they haven’t come back. I’m waiting for them but the haven’t. Maybe my depressive periods have had their own ‘look left’ moment as well and left?

I know that this doesn’t really offer any great panacea to how you feel at the moment and for that I apologise but all I can say is…try to find your look left moment. Its there, somewhere.

Best of luck Pete.

Andrew

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Hi Andrew

Thanks for sharing your story with me, and please no need to apologise.

Am trying to keep going one day at a time, and my counsellor is great - had to go private though! Am on anti-depressants too, but got doctors next week to review as possibly need something stronger, we will see how goes.

Thanks

Peter

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Thank you so much for sharing your story Andrew, and for going into so much detail to offer Pete an insight into your experiences.

I’m a little lost for words if I’m honest - both from reading what you went through and for your generosity in writing that (which I imagine wasn’t the easiest thing to do).

What’s coming through from a lot of the things people have talked about so far is that over time, and with help, things get easier. But it’s often a combination of things that make the difference - and there’s no one magic thing that will work for everyone.

What makes me smile (admittedly through one or two tears whilst reading your beautifully written post…) is seeing people come together on this site already to offer help to other people going through tough times - people who don’t even know each other.

Thanks everyone :slight_smile:

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Switched GP surgery this week as was getting know where with my doctor and could never get an appointment. Only been with new GP a week and just the fact that they can actually be bothered to listen to what wrong/what need, is so refreshing (old GP surgery just couldn’t be bothered). Now got all regular meds on repeat, so can just reorder without having to struggle to get an appointment. Plus appointment already made for me to go back on 6th July.

Why am I telling you this, you may ask - well my point is if you feel your doctor is not listening to you/helping you, do not be afraid to switch doctors.

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Andrew, you write brilliantly. I will remember to look left.

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Hi Pete, thanks for sharing that sounds really positive and good to hear you feel your new GP is supportive.

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Wow. Just… Wow. Can I ask you who the lady was who did the window imagery with you please?

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Hi there Pete. Just thought I’d post a quick message to see how you’re getting on?

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Hi Joe
Am still struggling to be honest, but just trying to take it one day at a time. My new GP seems to be much better, and considering/discussing changing medication to a stronger one, as what I am on I have reached the maximum dose of 40mg. My counsellor is being very patient with me, as think it is going to take a lot of time - so much stuck inside so to speak that just need to get out and come to terms with. The switch to Decaf tea was much better than I expected, and seems to be helping a little bit with that side of things.
Trying to stay as positive as possible, but really tough. Some days get up and ready to do anything and everything. But then most days I struggle to get out of bed. Really frustrating that I can’t do what I used to do/know that I can do … Sorry, might me rambling on a bit

Hey Pete.

There’s no need to be sorry! But to help, I’ll ramble on a bit here…

Glad to hear the new GP is working for you - this is a positive step, and conversations about what’s best in terms of medication will be helpful. There’s a huge amount stuck inside, I’m sure, so it’ll obviously take a while to get everything out - but as I’ve said before, all that you’re doing to get help is great progress!

That’s really interesting about the switch to decaf - some people often say that a change in diet in general can be helpful, so that could be something worth talking to the GP about and getting advice there?

Even the longest journeys start with small steps, so to me, it sounds like you’re well on the way to feeling better and getting back to what you know you can be.

Thanks for keeping us updated - it’s good to hear how you’re getting on.

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Pete, how you are feeling is perfectly normal under the circumstances. I lost my mum in Oct 2014 and I have struggled every day since. She was my mum, dad and best friend all rolled into one. I turned to her for everything. Now there is just a whole.
A couple of things that have helped me on my way are to never grieve means you have never loved. Would you prefer to love and lose or to have never loved. The other is someone said to me the grief won’t ever lessen but you will begin to build a life around it. This statement alone helped me a bit because everyone kept saying you will get over it and I know I never ever will.

Hang in there. Life does go on and it’s a precious thing.

Karen