Question on Grief

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Hanging-On, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    I have a question about Grief, and when/how to recognize if you need counseling.

    My husband was murdered (and I found him), 9 yrs ago. The police fixed me up with a Survivors of homicide couselor, and we talked for a few months. I've talked (off and on) since then with different counselors. "I" don't think I need to go to a Grief Counselor, however difficult child's counselor gave me the name of someone and said that my grief is still "alive and well". Huh?

    During one of difficult child's homebased counseling sessions this month, I was tired and sad. When I was signing and dating some form, I gasped when I saw the date I wrote and said something like "OMG, I forgot". She asked what I forgot, and without thinking told her that it was my 12th wedding anniversary, and in 9 days it will be the 9th year since he was killed. I then told her that October is a hard month on me because at the beginning of the month is our wedding anniversary, then the anniversary of his murder, then the anniversary of his huge memorial, etc. This is the thing though. I don't ponder on the dates and dread them coming. I usually am doing something and it just jumps out at me that that day is one of those events.

    I left the city where it happened, and never went back. I stopped talking to my in-laws because it was too painful to remember that life, and it was very hard for them to talk to me too. Through the years we have spoken, and each time is alittle easier, but in the end it's painful from both sides. So maybe she's right and it's still alive and well. I just know that when the pain comes up I swallow and push it back down. If I talk about the murder and what I saw when I found him, it's in a mechanical way. No emotion, almost like reading a technical report to someone.

    She said I should talk to this counselor, but just the thought of talking about it and bringing up all that pain and trauma is something I don't want to do and have most likely avoided all these years. What do you think? How do I know if she's right, or that I'm past this and don't need to discuss it anymore? Thanks.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I will just give you my two cents.

    I didnt experience the same thing but I have suffered from trauma and violence in my life. I also could tell my stories with that unemotional, robotic telling. It was like I was telling a story that I read about someone else and I was repeating it for everyone. It didnt happen to me so I had no emotional involvement it would appear.

    I never dealt with the deeper issues that the trauma left on the real me. Only now am I doing that with therapy. It isnt easy. Im fighting it tooth and nail and my therapist has to pull those feelings out of me very slowly. I cry and scream and it hurts so badly but its so very necessary. Slowly Im getting better I think. It may take a very long time to get over a lifetime of pain.
  3. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    if someone recommended it they must see you needing it.
    you say this in your own signature:
    depressed anxious PTSD

    are you?
    if so, go talk it out. sigh and sorry you had this experience.
  4. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member


    depressed anxious PTSD? Not every day, but yes. Sometimes life is an emotional struggle. It's a struggle not to be sad and lifeless. Today is a bad day for me. No energy, sad, sick to my stomach. All of that can be explained by me not sleeping well, so no energy which can then make me feel sad and depressed because I'm dragging. The sick stomach could be that I ate something yesterday that is upsetting me. But I looked at the date, and sure enough it's the anniversary of his memorial service. That was very traumatic for me. During that service I just lost it. Like uncorking a bottle that I kept a lid on for days. I never knew I could be that emotional, and never have been like that since. So maybe that's why today is a bad day for me without me even knowing it.
  5. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical


    It can be very hard to realize that the grief has been hiding. I went through something not like you did but something of my own and shoved it so deep then it started to creep out in my life. I too am working on it now in therapy. My therapist is very good at encouraging (dragging me along kicking and screaming) to deal with it.

    If someone else saw it I am guessing it might be time to address it. Hard yes. Worth it yes.

  6. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    If what you have done all this time is push it down and not deal with it, then you have not dealt with it.

    You need to grieve. It hurts. It hurts like nothing you have ever felt before.

    And then, it does not hurt so bad.

    I am so sorry.
  7. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I am so so sorry, but yes, I agree, the trauma must be worked through. Otherwise, it seeps out, in the most unfortunate places, and in the most destructive ways. It is like having radioactivity inside of you. If you do not purge your soul of it, it will remain.........oozing and weeping out it's destructive force into your life that you are trying so hard to keep normal and happy. For you, for your kids, get the help.

    We will be here for you, and support you, on every step of the way. We will share our own journeys and our own sorrow, and let you know, you are not alone. Make that first step, it will be OK.

    Take care,
  8. Indianamomof4

    Indianamomof4 New Member

    It can't hurt, can it? I mean, ok, that was stupid, of course it hurts, but what I mean can it make you feel any worse to work it through?

    I think if you find someone you click with, someone who can help you get past it, or just allow it to surface, to feel it, to stop the robotic parts from talking, maybe it will be worth it.

    I cannot imagine that happening... my gosh. I'm sorry :frown:
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    JMHO, it's too much of a coincidence about the date. Take care of yourself and go to counseling. You can make yourself sick (as you well know) by bottling it all up. Take it slowly. A good counselor won't force you to go any faster than you can.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    This is very topical for me right now. I wish I knew what to say about what the "right" thing is. Do we ever forget the pain? Do we move on? Is moving on enough? If you've been through something that is as horrible as that, is it right to have deep feelings about it from time to time? Who is more entitled to those feelings than us, if anyone? If we live with them and don't let them cripple us day to day, is that wrong? Are we supposed to say that every day and forever we will never be upset again? I think that is unreasonable.

    I have PTSD as well, resulting both from long term abuse and from an isolated very violent crime committed upon me. Time heals all wounds, to a certain extent. And you have to avoid those things that trigger memories when you can. Am I still angry (in your case "grieving")? I think that there are some things, when pressed, that you never get past grieving for or being angry about. What was done to Hanging On and what was done to me will always be wrong, and we should never say it was ok. If it makes us fall apart, it's a problem. If it makes us say, "Oh wow, look what day it is", or "October brings difficult memories", I can't see that as a problem.

    Jeez Louise, hon, you made it 22 days into the month without thinking about it. That's pretty darn good if you ask me!

    I guess that if you feel like therapy would help you, you should go for it. But if it's to satisfy someone else's concern about something that they don't understand, it might be a waste of your time and emotions.
  11. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    May of your symptoms could be attributed to PSTD. There is a therapy for victims of trauma that does not force them to relive the event. REMDR has been proven sucessful in eliminating many of the symptoms of trauma without painfully reliving the events. It is a form of biofeedback. It is expensive and many health insurance policies won't cover it. In addition you must have several sessions before the effects are lasting but it might be something to look into.

  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Maybe I should explain a bit more.

    One of the things that happened to me was that I was kidnapped at knife point and then raped with my girlfriend. That happened on June 12th, 1980. I will never forget that day as long as I live unless I get alzheimers. Maybe not even then. I can still see it, feel it, smell it and hear them.

    For years, I have fallen apart every June and on the exact date I have always been a complete basketcase. This is the first year that I didnt even notice the date went past without incident until past midnight when I happened to see the date on the calendar and a small pang hit me. I kinda went "oh" inside. But I didnt flip out. I felt like I gave that 18 year old girl that had been terrorized a small pat on the back for surviving. And survive she did! Slowly IM taking back June.

    Over time I am going to take back the rest of the year because of different problems.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Janet what is REMDR? I tried looking it up and couldn't find anything.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That is RM but I think she is talking about neurofeedback.
  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I believe it's EMDR - can be successful when treating PTSD. We've used it with both kt & wm with limited results.

    Having said that, this is going to be a very personal decision for you. Is it shutting you down or becoming non functional? Are you having flashbacks? Are you having feelings of self harm? I'd be heading straight into therapy.

    Having said that, I can't imagine that it would hurt to talk this out if you are up to it. It may help relieve some of the pressure you are feeling - the day to day extremes in your life.

    Take this for what it's worth. Let us know what you decide.
  16. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just by the very fact that the in laws and yourself still have trouble meeting up - none of you have processed this enough yet. There is no 'proper' way to grieve, but I do believe in the stages of grief.

    What happened to you would bring anyone to their knees. The fact you only broke once, at the memorial, is a sign to me that you have not processed it fully yet.

    Either way, it can not hurt to check out a therapist and give it a try.

    HUGS! And like someone else said - we will be here for you!
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You never get over something like this. The dates always will be like this for you. I saw this with my mother, I see it with my mother in law, I see it even with me in some areas.
    But it does change a bit, as you've already seen.

    That said, you are pushing it back down when it comes to the surface, so you aren't dealing with it efficiently. Also, your recall of the events sounds like it's still too traumatic and so you are still deadening it in your mind. So yes, to a certain extent some of it is still alive, but the question is, is this causing you problems? Are you functioning, or is this really interfering with your ability to cope in your daily tasks?

    At some stage you have to face what happened and come to terms with it. Every time the pain surfaces, your mind is giving you another opportunity. "Are we ready NOW?" it's asking. It will go on doing this until it has been dealt with to the best of your ability.

    I know I never fully dealt with my pain (which is probably nothing compared to yours; but it is wrong to compare). I tried to get help sooner but it just didn't come together when I needed it. The psychiatrist I was referred to turned out to be useless. Eight years later other problems caused the pain and memories to surface again and this time I was ready to pounce on the pain and got good help, fast.

    Each time, you may not get to deal with all of it, but if you 'pounce' as I did, when the opportunity arises, then slowly you will deal with it faster than if you keep pushing it back down.

    Only you can choose the opportunity and make the best use of it you can.

  18. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    in my humble opinion, I think the others who said it is time for you to get counseling are right. I can't even begin to imagine the pain you have been going through!!! Nine years is a very long time to be suffering as you have been.

    Please take care of yourself... WFEN
  19. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    I get sad every single month on the 23rd (the day of the month that Alex died) I never am aware of the date, when I realize I have tears running down my face in grocery stores and such, I think of the date and it is always just before the 23rd.

    I understand the pushing it down when the pain gets tough. I have done that off and on over the last 18 months.

    I've been hurting a lot lately. (18 month mark) I can't imagine how I will feel many years from now.

    I also have never been to a grief counselor. I figure there is nobody out there that can take my pain away, I just have to feel it.My husband found our son at home and I ran downstairs when I heard my husband scream for me. That's when I saw him. That scene replays in my mind many, many times, especially during the beginning months.

    I know that I am better than last year, I just hope that with every year that goes by, I feel stronger and stronger. I know that I will never stop missing or hurting about my son.

    Sending hugs.

  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Nobody can take the pain away but they can help you move past the worst of the pain so you can get back in touch with the good things you need to also be able to remember. Also, you need to realise that part of you may be wanting to hang on to the pain because without it you fear you will be a traitor to his memory. But he would want you to remember the happy times, the laughter, the games and the joy. Grief that holds you back interferes with the good memories.

    The pain and grief will always be there, a little. But the pain does ease and change. It's like a war wound - horrendously painful when fresh, absolutely agonising. If surgeons need to operate there is often fresh pain as wounds are opened, cleaned and re-sutured for better healing. If it heals wrong or is infected, it can even hurt more, if infection really sets in. An infected wound needs to be drained, maybe treated with antibiotics or other medication until the infection is under control, then it can at last begin to heal correctly.
    And as it heals, the pain changes from deep, intense burning to an ache, and then a twinge. If you bump the wound before it's fully healed it may open again, or hurt as badly as it did in the beginning, but the pain eases very quickly now.
    The pain may never completely go away - perhaps in wet or cold weather you will feel a twinge of an ache in the wound. You will have a scar which may be smaller depending on the skill of the doctors and your own ability to heal well. But when you are sufficiently healed you will be able to go back to your job, to your life, and function to the best of your ability. Or if the injury has left you handicapped to a certain extent, you will still reach a point where things are stable and you can find a place for yourself to enjoy life, despite all that has happened.