Family Answers

My brother just passed away from cancer and I already have undiagnosed anxiety/depression, advice?

Dealing with the sudden death and grief of a loved one is a challenge that requires the ability to truly allow yourself to process. Sometimes, there can be triggers that can bring about more anxiety and depression with or without treatment. The goal in therapy is to assist in processing this, understanding healthy ways to come to terms with loss and aid in finding appropriate coping skills that can help make the process less debilitating. We often put up a defense unknowingly at times when a trauma is too much to bear. I'd like to help resolve some of that by finding ways that cope.  Trauma can be triggered from so many things as well: a smell, a thought, a phrase, resemblance and the list can go on. In finding out what your triggers are and how they can impact your anxiety and depression is a great tool for you to understand and know when to apply the coping skills discussed in therapy to get through. With grief there are multiple stages as well. It can take some time to truly process, but with patience and consistency as well as the lack of judgement it can be easier to work through.  Recalling memories or expressing the thoughts of what you would have like to say or hope that your loved one understood can help resolve the unanswered questions, racing thoughts and doubts that can arise after losing a loved one. Having a strong support system can also be beneficial as you can process the grief together with those that have also been affected by the loss. It can also be hard to find the words to describe the feelings that can come up. With therapy, there can be a new perspective or way to tackle the underlying feelings and thoughts and help bring you to a space of acceptance and healing. When those memories or thoughts come up for you, let's find ways to get through them. The goal is to be at a space mentally where you can navigate through without being impacted negatively with the thoughts and feelings that can come up thereafter. 
Answered on 01/12/2023

How can I communicate to my wife that she displays the same type of behavior that she accuses me of.

Hello James, My name is James and I am licensed in the state of Florida as a Mental Health Counselor.  As I think of the situation that you describe, I think your wife has 'changed', she has probably become more verbal and less patient than she was at the start of your relationship. I also think that you most likely have changed also. The dialogue that you need is not necessarily about the "things that are CAUSING  the argument in the first place." That discussion might prove fruitful however the dialogue that I believe is needed involves you and yourself. Basically you are the Husband and she is the Wife. You could start your self dialogue by asking what difference the topic makes if the result is that your wife feels disrespected or threatened. Her "throwing on the brakes" could be a stress response. So, having admitted to having certain specific characteristics to your voice ("my voice is deep and loud") and having described her behavioral and verbal response to your specific verbalizations I suggest that you change your tone, literally ! Examine your routine, are you regularly engaging in high stress activities? Do you find any correlation between out of the home stressors (work, traffic, finances) and relationship issues? Many people don't realize their anger cycle until they look for it. If you find that you are bringing outside stress with you when you come home then look for ways to decompress before you engage with home issues. Try to imagine your wife as a frightened child, your voice is going to be received through that fear filter, making it louder and more aggressive to that child than you intended - as evidenced by your repeated apologies and explanations. SHE NEEDS TO SEE A CHANGE not hear apologizing. If the topic is not immediately, physically dangerous then I suggest you hesitate before responding. Take time to process what you are hearing. Ask yourself if you have any active filters that might be impacting your interpretation of what you are hearing. If you have mastered a relaxation technique then do it before speaking. If you have not mastered any relaxation techniques then take a few minutes during your 'personal growth' time and look up, practice and learn to do some of them. LISTEN - the most common complaint that I have heard from couples is one person doesn't listen!  It is always 'the other person'. ASK - make sure she is finished speaking. Make sure she knows you heard her by repeating what you heard (so i need to put the seat down, is that right?) SLOW DOWN- Let her know you don't want to speak without thinking so you need a few moments. SPEAK CALMLY, SLOWLY and QUIETLY- after you decide what you want to say, say it with love. You could start with a hug, 'I love you" etc but remember her complaint is that you yell at her so lower volume is important. I said multiple levels of concern were indicated by your question. I wholeheartedly believe that your family could benefit from couples therapy. Many couples deny themselves this tool until it is too late. Communication techniques etc. can be like a mechanics tune up, skip them long enough and major repairs are unavoidable. What I described is basic anger management or communication improvement related. Ultimately, James, your self described "bad habit" may contribute to your wife feeling  "small and dominated" and if that is not what you want then YOU be the change that you want to see. Change takes time. You both deserve to feel safe and loved and happy in your home. I hope this motivates you! Respectfully, James Pelzer LMHC
(MS, LMHC, CAP)
Answered on 01/09/2023

How to succeed?

Thank you for reaching out via BetterHelp with this question. I think it's a really difficult situation to be in, when we feel like the actions of others are impacting our own mental health. We can't change them, or their behaviours, but we can work with how we respond, and how we maintain and reinforce our own boundaries.Boundaries It can feel really difficult to set boundaries to keep ourselves OK, and still be flexible with those boundaries when we have the energy and capacity to help those around us. If this was going to be your main therapy goal, I would expect you and your therapist to explore what boundaries you feel comfortable sticking to, and which boundaries you struggle enforcing. What does enforcing a boundary feel like, and what happens when those around you don't like it? 'if I'm not there for them who will?' This feels like a lot of pressure for you to be under, especially because they're your nephews. Some families have great support networks (it must be nice to be part of one of those families!) however some families are very small and thinly spread. I would be asking: Why do you have to be the mom that they need? This is a topic I would explore within the therapy, personally, looking at what you're able to give without burning yourself out. We cannot pour from an empty cup, and it sounds like you're looking out for not just yourself, but your sister and your three nephews. That's a lot of people for you to be thinking about, holding in mind and supporting on a daily basis. Successful vs Stuck I totally support and commend you for wanting to try therapy and seeing how you can focus on your own success. This often has a trickle down effect on the people around us, in our lives, when we're working through some of our own content, it can make it easier to deal with, or recognise these things, in others.  Looking at what your goals in your life are, and how you want to support them and continue to work towards them might help lessen that feeling of being stuck. That feeling of making progress, however small, can be a huge game changer. What next? If this is something you decide you want to work through with a therapist, they'll be able to explore the options and you'll likely set a therapy goal together. Not all therapists are right for all clients, so, I would suggest making sure you feel safe with the therapist you end up working with. The great thing about BetterHelp is that if you don't feel like your first therapist is a good fit, you can change until you find someone that you feel does fit, and will work with you in the way you want. Whatever path you choose, I wish you all the best with this work. It sounds like it could be a lot of layers of deep work and self awareness.Best wishes, Jess
(Diploma, Psychotherapeutic, Counsellor, Pass)
Answered on 01/09/2023

Should I wait to start therapy?

Hello Maggie ... thank you for your message and your question. First of all, I want to say how sorry I am that you lost your dad. Losing someone you love has to be the hardest thing imaginable to handle. It is a very helpless feeling. Empty. Sad. Powerless. And more. People can say all kinds of things that they are hoping will be helpful -- you know, like when they say "He is in a better place" -- but the bottom line is that there are no words ever that will make that pain go away. Over time, we learn to navigate our lives around that pain but it never entirely goes away. It is the price of loving people. There are no "rules" for how to feel, act, grieve, or whatever you want to call it after losing someone you love. The fact that your loss happened unexpectedly added another layer of emotion to this loss. You didn't even see it coming so it was a shock and a loss all wrapped up into one event. Be kind and compassionate towards yourself as you move through this period of adjustment. Don't be surprised if you have good days when you feel like you have your feet planted and then not such great days when you feel like you are spinning out. You will have both of those days and probably many variations of those days. It is pretty normal to have all kinds of feelings. I would hope that you would not judge your feelings. Many people judge their feelings. They say things like "I should be able to handle this better" or "I don't know why I am so angry" or some other self-judgment. Judging yourself for feeling whatever you are feeling is not helpful. Feelings are normal and the kindest thing you can do for yourself is no doubt what you would do for your best friend -- be supportive, kind, compassionate. You could be experiencing some emotions around the fact that you were traveling with your job and were not there when your dad passed. Again, be compassionate towards yourself. You had no way of knowing that this was going to happen.  You mentioned that you experienced some type of traumatic event a few years ago. Our bodies keep kind of a "record" of these events and react automatically to "cues" in the environment that we are not safe. Sometimes -- many times -- those cues are not really signals of danger but that is how our bodies perceive the cues after some kind of traumatic event. This is why you have experienced anxiety following the event 3 years ago. Now, with the loss of your dad, your body could respond to more cues. It would be very helpful to learn some mindfulness techniques which are the most helpful techniques to deal with anxiety and panic. Remember, the actual feelings of anxiety and panic are one hundred percent normal and valid. They are uncomfortable and sometimes they are the result of our misperception of what is going on around us. But they are real and knowing how to respond to those feelings can be so valuable. Whether you consult with a therapist or not, learn some mindfulness skills such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, the 54321 technique, or any of the DBT skills. You can Google mindfulness and/or DBT skills and find an array of things you can do to help yourself. Now, as far as your question about seeing a counselor to help you navigate this process ..... again there are no rules. Counseling, in my opinion, is something that all of us can benefit from at just about any point in our lives. The good times, the bad times, and all the times in-between. Sometimes, it just helps to have a sounding board -- someone who will listen to your thoughts and feelings without judgment or even any suggestions. A lot of times people know exactly what they need to do but don't realize it until they say it out loud to someone else. Other times, a counselor can provide some perspectives that are different than the ones a person currently holds that will make things easier for them to accept. When you start counseling -- if at all -- is a very personal choice. If you are open to the idea of allowing another person to walk with you through this difficult journey, then there is no reason not to start right away. Starting right away might help you prepare for more difficult challenges along the way. I guess if I had to make a choice myself, I would choose to start sooner than later. It helps to have made that connection with someone we trust so that we are already familiar with this person (the counselor) when the bad and worse days roll around. When we are experiencing a particularly hard day, it makes things even more difficult if we are trying to explain from the beginning why we are feeling so bad. It helps to have someone who already knows the backstory and can help us with very little prompting. In the meantime, there are some other things that you could do that might help you with the grieving process. Finding ways to honor your dad might help. Some ideas include creating a memory book, painting small rocks that have cheerful greetings or colors that you place on your dad's gravesite, doing volunteer work at a place that is a reflection of your dad's values, or just having little converations with your dad. I hope that this has been somewhat helpful. I know this is hard. I lost my daughter six years ago and I am still learning how to navigate life without her. Be patient and be kind to yourself.  Judi
(MA, LMHP, LADC)
Answered on 01/07/2023

How do you handle divorce with your kids? How do you explain it to them?

Hello Sam! Thank you for your message.  You asked a great question about how to help kids adjust to a divorce. Divorce is a painful, difficult decision for adults and children alike. Let me say that navigating the emotions and decisions may require you having good support for yourself as you help support your kids. That being said, you asked about specific tips to help your child(ren) cope with divorce. These tips are helpful for your young daughter as well as for older children.  Discuss calmly together, as parents, how you will tell your children about the divorce. Include in this discussion that the divorce is not their fault, reassure them you both still love them, and listen to their thoughts and questions. Answer their questions to the point that they are able to understand at their current age/maturity level. Keep the door of communication open to discuss more as they grow and mature. As your spouse moves to a new home, and visitations begin, work out a pattern of custody that you are both comfortable with and stick with it. Stay involved in your kid's life. You may want to set up video calls with your kids when they're at the other parents house potentially. That's something that you could talk through together and make a decision that feels best for the children. Commit to working hard to coparent, make decisions regarding care for the kids together and be supportive of the time your child spends with the other parent.  In the same vein, try your best to limit negative things said about the other parent. Keep adult conversations among the adults and do not involve the kids. Communicate honestly and help your child express their feelings. Your daughter being so young may need help with communicating how she feels about the divorce. You may consider looking into some books about divorce written for her age level. Sometimes a preschool teacher, school counselor, or librarian may be able to help you with book ideas for your child. Consider counseling for the kids if and when it seems they may need extra support. Sometimes kids need to hear the truth from more than one source. Reassure your children that they will always have both of their parents love and attention and work hard to make that true. Consistency is very important for kids, so while the two of you will live in different houses now somehow your kids need to see that they still have your attention of both of you parents in a consistent way. 
(MA, LPC)
Answered on 01/06/2023

Incredible grief, hopelessness and sadness over the loss of my husband last year

Oh Laurie, I am so sorry to hear about your tragic loss of your husband.  I am very glad to see you have reached out for more support during this time as it sounds like you are still experiencing some very raw and real pain from losing such an important figure who has been so prominent throughout so much of your life.  Acknowledging that we are not feeling ok and that we (all) in fact, need more support and assistance to pull us through our hardest times is not an easy thing to identify and act upon. And yet, you have done just that by reaching out here.  I am glad to see you found the strength and courage to do so in this case.  Depending on how much other support we have naturally through that of loved ones, friends, church family etc. experiencing grief and loss, especially that of a lifelong partner can be extremely difficult to navigate.  While I do believe that time and perspective can help reduce the rawness of the pain we experience ultimately, the reality is that the length and duration of that time varies greatly and can be dependent upon a number of factors.  Given that your husband passed (it sounds unexpectedly) on a holiday morning, it is very understandable that having just gone through another holiday season these feelings would feel intensive and difficult to make your way through.  At times our pain and heartache can feel as though the loss was just experienced even a year or more later.  In many cases I describe grief as it comes in waves, just like those we experience at the ocean.  Some of them come as huge tidal waves very close together and make it difficult to even catch our breath before the next one, and at other times they come as smaller, more manageable waves that we can recover from somewhat before the next one comes upon us.  In any case, these are very personal experiences and each one unique depending on the individual and the loss that they are experiencing.  Therapy can assist in providing support during times such as these and in addition to providing information about the grief and loss process, a therapist can assist in helping you understand your emotional responses, how you are functioning etc and help with tools and activities that can assist in processing those emotions  so that they are part of your experience but not your entire experience.  Memories such as what you have described above as traumatic are stored differently in our minds/bodies than other memories and therefore can be very hard to process on our own at times.  Seeing a therapist who is familiar with these processes and experiences can help to better balance and reorganize those memory fragments so that they are less invasive and easier to navigate.  It sounds as though you have some medication support on board as well.  Sometimes when we start those medications it can take time to become as effective as we need from them, so I'd recommend continuing to work with your doctor to find the right therapeutic level for your brain.  It may be that the dose you are currently taking could be adjusted to find a better benefit for you as well.  Additionally there are many support groups and organizations to offer resources and emotional support to people who have experienced similar experiences such as yours and many of these are free/low cost in our local communities.  There are great benefits to these types of resources.  There are a number of very helpful books written on these topics as well which can help to better understand what you are experiencing and can offer tips and suggestions on how to cope through the heartache in the meantime.  At any rate, please do be gentle and compassionate with yourself in the process as it unfolds. There is no fast track to get through grief and we all grieve differently.  In your case there are many things you are grieving within the loss of this one important human in your life.  This can take time and a great deal of compassion to find your way through in the meantime.  I hope you found some of these words and follow ups to be helpful.   I would strongly encourage you during this time to lean on others who are able to stand taller in the moment and offer you the love and support you need during this time.  Thinking of you in the meantime and hoping you are able to find moments of peace in joy in the memories you hold with your husband as you try to seek healing and solace.  My heart goes out to you... -LMSW Therapist at Better Help 
Answered on 12/30/2022

How do I deal with frustration towards family?

Hello Vicky, It is very nice to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to send in your question. You ask a very relevant question, particularly for this time of year. It is certainly a difficult situation to be in. If you and I were working together in therapy, I would encourage you to set clear and consistent boundaries with them. From what you've described, it sounds like they have alienated most other relatives already. They are very negative and take on the victim role and probably think that everyone is out to get them, to hurt them, and that they do nothing wrong, ever! One important thing to remember is that you can not control anyone other than yourself. Neither you nor your partner can make the family see things in a different way, if they don't want to. This is a common situation, particularly this time of year with the holidays. We often feel that we "have" to see and spend time with family we would not otherwise want to spend time with.  If you and I were working together, I would want to know more about how your partner manages his relationship with his family. What keeps him in contact with them? It does sound like you and he are on the same page with this. When you do visit with them, setting clear boundaries might look like: Not talking about any sensitive topics, such as politics, religion, etc. Setting a clear time limit for the visit - spend afternoon with them and have lunch, but don't spend the entire weekend. Get a hotel, so you do not have to stay at their house. Get up, excuse yourself and walk out of the room if the conversations get heated or negative. Don't engage in negative conversations at all. If they ask you any personal, inappropriate questions, you might respond with,"that is a very personal question, I am not comfortable talking about that with you." As this is your partner's family, it would be more appropriate for him to be the one to talk with them about the discomfort you and he feel when you're around them. Just know, we are all entitled to boundaries and to feel comfortable. If you are not comfortable around certain people, you do have the right to say so, even if they do not like it or agree with it. I hope that you have found this information helpful and I wish you all the best moving forward on your journey.
Answered on 12/29/2022

How do I forgive my father for leaving even though that was the best decision for him?

Forgive, Not for Him, But For Yourself A father's life is no longer about himself but rather about how he fulfills the most crucial role in his life, raising kids. When a father becomes addicted, a disease for the sake of conversation, and the behaviors accompanying this, he fails at his job. The ways in which he fails are significant, and often the worst results of are hidden deep down in the children. Forgiveness is the act that breaks the trend of resentment and emotions running our lives. Forgiveness allows us to heal this wounded child inside of us that says if we stay angry, he stays hurt, and we can stay safe by never getting hurt again.  The only one to suffer is you. If you stay angry, or whatever the opposite of forgiving is, you must dedicate energy to that. Forgiveness, however, is letting it go. You don't have to agree or do anything once you find a way to forgive; you get peace. As long as you don't let your "righteous" mind that wants things to be "fair" speak up and control your actions, much like he probably did, you will be at peace when you learn to forgive and practice it in your thoughts.  Resentment will kill you if you don't get a handle on it. Alcoholism is often treated through a spiritual transformation. One of the most significant changes in dependence is discovering more about yourself, your view of life, and what you are connected/attached to. Without a higher power or some moral compass, people who struggle with addiction justify their behaviors on their feelings and then will always fail. It's why relapse is so prevalent. The work that needs to be done to be able to live life on life's terms is profound, and many aren't ready or expect to have to do that much.  This is all downright unfair. You have been wronged, ripped out of a childhood and now dealing with the consequences of a choice/disease your father had/chose. Even if addiction is strictly a brain disease, just like any disease, there are choices to be made that exasperate or improve our conditions. You have every right to allow your inner child who was mistreated to be angry and grieve. You do not have the right to be a victim and stay angry. You do not have the right to not participate in life because of what has happened. No matter what has happened to us as children, our life is ours; let's own it and work with what we have been given.  You will work on forgiving because it benefits your children/current or future/spouse/friends etc. You forgive because that is how you transcend addiction and find your bulletproof vest to live on life's terms and maintain despite the pains of real life. You forgive because you aren't going to let this wounded ego control you and tell you what to do. You will acknowledge your anger, but you will not act on it. You will acknowledge the pain, experience it, and not run from it. You will not abuse your life by trying to remedy or avoid the inevitable pain, and sadness like an alcoholic does. You will learn to be grateful for the bad parts because it teaches you things. You are going to do the things your mind, formed from the material of your father, tells you not to do. This situation will involve forgiveness.   If you haven't noticed by now, your emotions pass, your thoughts pass, but your deep, embittered view of yourself and others initiated by the disdain of your father is a habitual response that leads you to where you don't want to go. Stop the formation of a habit that will bring you down. When you start to notice resentments or "poor me" thinking, stop them and find something to be grateful for at that moment. Please do not indulge in the habit of being angry; it will be hard to break.  Utilize all of this information to change how you see the activity of forgiveness. You aren't going to, 'forgive," but you are going to love. Forgiveness is too abstract. You focus on how you can give yourself what you needed growing up, love, support, and acceptance. Forgiveness will come with this. You will learn to forgive, not to forgive, but because you love yourself. By maintaining peace for myself, I get to be empathetic, understanding, loving, and kind to others. I know that when I don't do these things, I am not doing well and feel angry and resentful.  You are worth the work. You are advocating for that child, giving yourself what you never did growing up. Love. 
(LCPC)
Answered on 12/29/2022

I want to know if you can help me through my grief. I don't understand how I am feeling.

My condolences for the passing of your sister. How very sad for you and your family. With her death being sudden, it can be a shock for you and result in a variety of feelings, such as shock, disbelief, anger, sadness, regret, denial, sorrow, numbness, and so many more. It’s understandable that you aren’t quite sure how you feel, as your feelings may be ebbing and flowing, and as you stated, you feel “pulled under”. Grief is a heavy burden to carry and yes, it can be described as your heart aching. It’s common to feel physically tired, as our minds, heart, and body are all intertwined. Plus, you wrote that you are caring for or helping to care for your nieces/nephews. It can be helpful to express your emotions. Keeping them bottled up is not healthy. For instance, crying is one way to release your sadness, if you cry (not everyone cries when they are sad). If you have a healthy support system (family, friends, church congregation), please reach out to them for support and talk about what you’re going through. If you feel more isolated or don’t feel comfortable asking for support or asking someone to listen to you and your feelings, journaling your feelings or participating in online support groups can be beneficial. If you don’t enjoy journaling, drawing and painting are other outlets for your feelings, as examples. Another technique to help with grief is making sure to take good care of yourself – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Self-care and coping techniques can be helpful here. Deep breathing, journaling, being kind to yourself, healthy eating, and making time for relaxation are some ideas to help proactively manage the stress that accompanies grief. Finding time for your hobbies can help ‘take your mind’ off your grief, as taking a break from grieving can give you a reprieve. Self-care and coping strategies should be tailored to what works for you, as each person is unique. This may take some trial and error to find what is effective for you for your self-care and coping techniques for your grieving. You may have heard this before – grieving is personal. Each person grieves in their own way. There’s not “one way” to grieve. And, grieving takes time – there’s no set time line for when you are ‘done’ grieving. And, given your sister passed away suddenly, your grief may take longer to process. And, your grief may be triggered when you least expect it. Remembering your fond memories of your sister may be one way to help you grieve or doing an activity that you did together or that you both enjoyed doing can help you process your feelings. It may be helpful to work with a therapist for your grief. Your therapist can help you explore your grief and concerns, listen to you and provide emotional support, and offer suggestions to address your grief and other concerns. He/she will listen to you and offer ideas and perspectives to help with your feelings. I would be honored to work with you, if you’d like. Another suggestion are the Groupinars at BetterHelp. The Groupinar topics change every so often, so it’s helpful to check back every couple of weeks to see what’s been added, for instance to see if there’s a webinar on grief and loss. I wish you well on your grieving and healing journey. You are not alone – help and support are within reach at BetterHelp. So, please reach out to your therapist for more help. In wellness – Dr. Sally Gill, LMFT
(PhD, MS, LMFT, C.C.T.S.I.)
Answered on 12/28/2022

How do I find myself and move forward when I have no motivation for the future?

Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out and for becoming so vulnerable as to share such intimate details from your grief journey with myself.  I am truly sorry to learn of your loss as well as the devastating heartbreak that continues to follow.  While many elements of bereavement can prove as being similar, the journey remains very personal, unique, and individualized.  Ultimately, a loss through miscarriage introduces the loss of hopes, dreams, anticipation, excitement, potential, opportunities, and roles.  The ripple effect that inevitably occurs can be profoundly overwhelming and paralyzing.  In addition to the shock associated with the loss, the trauma in which your system is processing is both foreign and new.  Any encounter with grief transforms us into someone new.  Certainly, the loss can impact ones own identity and the regular day to day participation in life functions.  Complication can abound and distance may be desired.  During this time of complete rawness, numbness, and pain, returning to the "simple" can prove as being both life-giving and sustaining.  Eliminating expectations for oneself and others will reduce frustration.  Accordingly, by becoming attuned to the needs of your body, you will be able to eventually ground oneself back into reality.  When considering where that heaviness lives within your body and drawing one's attention to that space, you bring forth potential to release the tight heaviness that may exist. With so much joyful excitement being robbed from you through the loss, it certainly makes sense as to why the future is not at the forefront of your mind.  Giving oneself permission to be in the present moment and perceiving time as a day to day participation, is your system's way of preventing further devastation from transpiring.  The nervous system is, in many ways, engaging within a protective response in conjunction with the loss.   Mourning, (the outward expression of the emotions associated with grief), is also extremely cathartic to engage within regularly.  Often, what cannot be said, will be wept.  There may be moments on this journey where you feel completely abandoned and alone.  While intimidating, that feeling of abandonment and isolation serves as an invitation to enter inward with oneself and to sit with the full intensity.  Becoming mindful of your daily needs and checking in with oneself, will be a regular task that yields great reward with time.  Remain patient with yourself on this journey and introduce as much self-compassion, love, and empathy, as possible.  While you will never be able to undue the loss, you will be able to accommodate the loss within your life story, as one of the most difficult chapters endured.  How you continue to find meaning will make a difference within your healing.  
Answered on 12/22/2022

Should I ask my mother to explain what happened with my dad?

Thank you for your question! It is certainly relevant and has been pondered by many individuals who have found themselves in similar circumstances. It is well established that divorce affects the entire family, not just the parents, so your desire to know more is understandable. Although your question is undoubtedly important to you, I must stress that I, nor anyone else, can make this decision for you. As you alluded to in your question, discussing this topic with either one of your parents is challenging due to the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing. So, while I cannot decide for you, I can offer you some helpful things to consider if you should choose to engage either of your parents regarding their divorce.1.     Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Before discussing anything, know your intention, goals, and what you want to accomplish during the conversation. Doing so will allow an opportunity for success. Likewise, prepare yourself for the converse. What if you do not get the answers you need or want? If the outcome is less than what you hoped for, how will you handle it, who will you process it with, how will you get through it, and so forth. 2.     Before you engage either parent, contemplate how you want your conversation to go. Think of your discussion as a calm, insightful dialogue rather than a confrontation. Know what you want to ask and tell them. It may be helpful to role-play the scenario ahead of time with a friend or counselor. Being prepared and having these ideas in your mind may help you maintain self-control while correspondingly directing your words.3.     During the conversation, several principles can be employed to provide an environment that will facilitate a healthy exchange between all involved. The following are certainly not all-inclusive but offer a basic framework to build from. a.      Define the rules. Before beginning, tell them what the rules of the conversation are, and be specific. Tell them what you want and that it is not about blame, but you need a better understanding of what took place. b.     Ask your questions calmly, do not attack, express your true feelings, and be specific.                  I.            Although you need to know more about what happened, it is paramount that you try to put on their shoes as well. They may not have done their “work” concerning the divorce, and the topic still holds an elevated measure of toxicity for them.                  II.            Speak with “I” statements and take ownership of your feelings. You would want to say, “I felt lonely and confused growing up after the divorce.” That is far more effective than “how could you ever have done this to me.” Be aware of how you are framing your questions.                  III.            Express your true feelings to them. Without blaming, give specific examples of what you think and feel, how the circumstances affected you, and what you need today. Writing it and reading it to them may be more manageable, relieving you of the pressure to remember everything.The points mentioned above are just a few helpful tips to consider if you elect to move forward and engage either of your parents on this topic. If you do decide to discuss the divorce with them, I encourage you to reach out to a professional counselor and work it through ahead of time. I hope this has been helpful.Dr. Timm
Answered on 12/20/2022

How can I keep myself mentally healthy/ recover when I keep going through traumatic life events?

Coming out on the Other Side.  If this were a therapy session, we would spend as much time as needed to sit in the context of your current state. There is much to unpack with what you have chosen to write. Mom's terminal cancer, depending on your relationship, could be many things to try and understand. We would try to determine which areas of her cancer and the possible outcome that is most pertinent could be a necessary beginning. Nan dying, is another thing to unpack based on your relationship with her and how this has affected you. Your cat, the reality of pets and their brevity in our lives, how innocent they are, and how quickly they seem to be taken from us. Not to mention, there is still work, bills, relationships, possible social interactions, and everyday stressors. Trying to "make sense of things" is often one area to start working on.  Stop trying to make sense of anything. You didn't say you were, but it's a typical occurrence that people get stuck in this way of thinking where they are trying to figure something out, even if it is how to move on, and it prevents them from living in the moment. Even with unfavorable moments, they are your life, and you must deal with them on life's terms. Death and death scares are often so abrupt they shake us. The death of someone close is like a mirror showing us our brief life and mortality. No matter what you do in this life, you too will be like nan, mom, and your cat. Don't try to make sense of it, legitimize it, or feel better. Just be in the moment. This is your life right now, it has never offered a more opportune time to be a part of it.  Experience the moment, but do not indulge in grief. Let yourself be sad when you are sad, happy when you are happy and relieved when you are relieved. Do not indulge in whatever thoughts that come up. At this point, you cannot afford to. There is already too much taken from your emotional bank to try and give it to another cause. Just sit with what shows up, remove expectations as to what to do with it, and try to reduce life stressors because they still exist.  Now is not the time to make big life decisions. Now is the time for rest and learning what pain is, what is really going on, and how to deal with it. As the title of this page indicates, you will come out on the other end stronger. Through tough times, you force your mind to react to painful, unavoidable situations where one builds their best self, the true and vulnerable self. Let this happen. Carve out time in the day to connect with your physical and spiritual self and feel the emotions you may have thought were inconvenient and wanted to rid yourself of. Do not try to do what you think you SHOULD do, but grieve when it comes up and talk to people about it.  I am not sure of the status of your spiritual life, but death often reveals to us that we are not meant to be here very long (I think I have said that a few times now). Accepting that this life is short, you can now start to live for what matters and how you perceive your afterlife. For Atheists, it can be sad to think there is nothing. To Christians, it is a joy to pass into the next, eternal and perfect life. Other religious groups have their own outlook that should shape how we approach death and life.  Let go of trying to find the energy to recover; that will come when it needs to. Think about if your body gave you that energy too soon. You would go about your life and not take this time to do what is necessary to learn about what grieving means to you and who you are when you are the most vulnerable and probably the most important thing, what is important in life. You are doing great in thinking about the things you asked about, and I encourage you to think of what can help you and what you would need or want to learn about yourself, others, and relationships going forward. 
(LCPC)
Answered on 12/20/2022

How can I live a peaceful life without having panic attacks and anxiety?

Hi Chantel, Thank you so much for reaching out and asking this question, it is not always easy to do that. It sounds like things have been really hard recently, especially since you lost your mom. When things like this happen to us it is really normal for our lives to feel overwhelming, our anxiety to increase, to feel lower in mood and to get feelings of panic that you say. It is also really normal for these things to impact on our physical health, like you say you have been sick and hospitalized for two years due to this. What we know is that all of these things link together, and can keep the cycles going which can be really hard when we feel like there is no way out.  It makes a lot of sense that you are worried about not attending school, and the impact this might have on you. Chantel, there is so much going on right now! I am really sorry that all of these things are happening, and you're feeling really sad about the situation, I think lots of people in your situation would feel similarly right now too.  I would really recommend that you reach out to a therapist who can work alongside you to make sense of what is going on for you right now, provide a place that feels safe and calm, and begin to think of ways to manage these really normal yet intense feelings that you have. There has been a lot going on and it might be that you need to process some of these things in order to relieve some of the anxiety and stress that your mind and body are currently under.  Please know that we unfortunately can't get rid of anxiety, this is something that we all have as humans. What we can do is learn to manage it, and live with it so that it is not impacting so much on our day to day. We can work towards doing things that are important to us, whilst navigating the difficult feelings that life brings us from time to time.  I do hope that helps normalize what you are currently going through and think about a way to move forward with this. There isn't always a quick fix or magic wand however (I wish there was!). Best wishes, Nikki 
Answered on 12/18/2022

How do I know if my lack of opening up is because I am emotionally healthy or unhealthy.

Hello and thank you so much for reaching out here at BetterHelp.  It takes a bit of courage to ask for help, especially around the subject of emotions.  BetterHelp's online counseling platform makes it a bit easier to connect with a counselor and get support where and when you need it.  Having a supportive counseling session in your own space can facilitate the opening up experience, helping you feel comfortable and able to address some of your negative thoughts and feelings. Your question is a good one, how can you allow yourself to experience any sad or negative feelings, and still feel supported by the ones that love you.  Honestly, you are not unique in being more comfortable being alone if you are sad or down.  It is not easy or comfortable to cry in front of other people.  So I do not think it is a bad thing to want to be alone to experience some negative feelings. The second part of your question, about not feeling that your family, especially your parents, can give you good advice, sounds like a bigger issue. If we were in session I would want to ask you a bit more, have you describe some situations when you did not like the advice they gave you.  And maybe explore some of the background issues regarding your parents and their lives. Perhaps the counseling will address how you interact with your family, how much do you communicate about yourself and your issues.  Also how well do you all communicate when you are together.  Hopefully there can be a middle ground that you and your family can reach, where they can better understand what is on your mind and how to best support you. It is always possible that this may take time, or some issues may not be easily fixed.  Then in session I would support you in locating other supportive people in your life that you can talk to when needed.  It may be some one in your friend group!  Also here on BetterHelp we offer many helpful tools including journal prompts, group sessions or online seminars that can add a lot to your overall counseling experience. I hope you will continue here with BetterHelp to explore your emotions and learn positive and healthy ways to cope with any negative feelings that come up in your life. All the best and Happy Holidays, Caryn
Answered on 12/18/2022

What do you do when your adult children have just shut you off?

Hi Connie.   Thanks for reaching out.  Sounds like you are going through a difficult and sad time right now.  This can be a stressful, confusing time.  How is your support system? Do you have family and friends you can lean on in this time of need? Family dynamics and relationships can become strained due to stress, anxiety, misunderstandings, and lack of communication.  Is reconciliation a possible option? You can reach out to your children and make it known you are there for them and the lines of communication are open.  In this kind of situation we often get stuck with feelings of guilt, blaming and wanting to find the reasons for the disconnection.  We may not receive the answers we are looking for.  This lack of closure complicates the situation.  What we can do is take care of ourselves and focus on what is in our control. Self care means prioritizing our mental, physical, and emotional well being.  Putting energy into the moments, activities, and relationships that bring joy and comfort can provide healing.  The loss of close relationships like the ones you have with your children can be painful and hard to process.  Grief counseling and/or joining a grief support group is helpful for processing loss and gaining acceptance to learn to navigate these changes and move forward.  Moving forward will require forgiveness, understanding, and acceptance.  Surround yourself with a network of close ones you can turn to in this difficult time.  Allow yourself to feel your feelings rather than burying them.  You will experience sadness, anger, and denial.  Know that it is ok to feel and process these emotions.   A professional Counselor can help you manage the grief process and teach the coping skills to help gain acceptance.  In the safe, judgment free environment of individual therapy you can talk about the feelings you are experiencing and come to terms with the absence of your children.  Within a group therapy setting, you will find and talk with others in a similar situation. Knowing you are not alone and gaining understanding from others can be soothing and comforting.   I am sorry you are going through this situation and wish you all the best.  Take care of yourself and be well.  
(LPC, NCC)
Answered on 12/12/2022

What are tips to have a better relationship with my daughter?

Hi Saya,  The relationships we have with other people, including our own family, can be some of the most rewarding things in our life and can also be some of the most challenging. From what you wrote in your original message it sounds like there are some additional complicating factors in the relationship you have with your daughter. I'm assuming that the children you have guardianship of are the same daughter's kiddos? It also sounds like your current husband is not your daughter's biological father? Both of those factors, which are variables outside of the immediate relationship you and your daughter have would have a big impact on the both of you. Typically when children are removed from their home and placed with others, be it unknown adults through the foster care system or relatives in a guardian type arrangement this is due to the parents struggling with things in their own life. Sometimes, as family and even more as a parent, the desire to remove all the pain from our loved one drives us to try to fix as much of their struggles as we can. This is where giving everyone who is involved a chance to vocalize what they need from one another when it comes to boundaries may be helpful. The fact that you were willing to take on the duties of raising your 3 grandchildren at this point in time is a huge gift, You were willing to step in, provide a stable home, and give your daughter a chance to work on the things she needed to while knowing her kids are safe. Often parents who find themselves in a situation in which their children are placed elsewhere are dealing with a lot of guilt and shame. If substances are involved, often the guilt and shame are amplified. The parent feels like they have failed or that they are horrible people, rather than simply the fact that they needed a bit more help in the here and now. One thing that may help with this when it comes to you and your daughter is to have an honest conversation around how everyone got to the point that you are at and what things look like going forward. Asking your daughter what boundaries she might need with you (and your husband) could also be a way to honor her needs and to validate her experience. There may be things that are happening, even inadvertently that you may not be aware of are adding to the rift. Ask your daughter what she feels like she needs in the relationship with you and listen with an open mind and let her speak her mind without reacting to what she says or jumping in. This is where the art of active listening comes in. When we practice active listening it is important to show the other person that we are listening. Putting away distractions such as electronics, and finding a place where you can talk uninterrupted help the other person to know that you are listening. Utilize verbal and non-verbal communication to reflect that you are listening. Make eye contact and nod where appropriate. Utilize phrases such as "I understand" or even the "mm-hmm" as again these show that you are actively engaged in what the other person is saying. Encourage communication by using open ended questions. Typically open ended questions start with Who, What, Where When, How. And Why. These terms elicit more than just a yes or no answer and invite the other person to expand on what they are saying leading to more fruitful conversations. Examples include using phrases such as "When did you start to notice...". "What are your thoughts about...." and "How do you feel about..." Using reflection is not only an additional way to demonstrate that we are listening but also a way to "check-in" and make sure we understood correctly what the other person meant. Often times conversations go off the rails simply because someone misinterprets the intention of another. Clarifying can help. Here's an example of what that would look like: "I've been having a hard time at work. There's too much to do and I can't keep up. My boss is frustrated that everything isn't done but I'm doing the best that I can!" "It sounds like you're doing the best that you can to keep up with the workload. That sounds very frustrating and stressful!" Another concept to keep in mind as you continue to work on the relationship with your daughter is what are referred to as "The 4 Horsemen". These are behaviors that escalate conflict and damage a relationship. Over time, these harmful behaviors may become a normal part of communication. The 4 Horseman are criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. The good news is that for each of these there is an "antidote" that can neutralize the negativity.  The antidote to criticism is the "gentle startup". The focus is shifted from the person to the problem. This can be achieved by using warm body language and a gentle tone, saving discussions for the appropriate time and using "I" statements. An "I" statement is a way to express with another person how we feel without blame. For example "I feel frustrated when I ask you to do the dishes everything because it makes me feel like you don't value me." sounds a lot better than "You're so lazy and never do the dishes". The antidote to defensiveness is learning not to take things personally, using feedback as an opportunity to improve, and showing remorse and apologizing when appropriate. "I shouldn't have raised my voice. I'm sorry" can go a long way Communicating fondness and admiration is the antidote to contempt. Showing affection, giving compliments, and recognizing the other person's strengths are how we utilize this. Think about some of your daughter's strengths that you can see. Sometimes a strength is just getting up to face another day. The final antidote is self soothing as an antidote to stone-walling. When we have an urge to shut down and retreat into ourselves it is far more helpful to self soothe instead. Agree to pause the conversation when stonewalling enters the picture. Practice deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation One of the biggest (and hardest) things to remember as you continue to work on the relationship with your daughter is patience. You may be more ready to work on it than she is. Be gentle and give her time. There is no set schedule for how things play out in life
Answered on 12/11/2022

how do deal with the anger sadness and trepidation I am filled with going into Christmas?

Hello Zee and I want to commend you for reaching out for additional support during what sounds to be a very overwhelming time for you.  It certainly sounds like you have been through quite a lot over the past couple of years, on top of a time that was already difficult for the entire population.  It is at times like these that our lives feel unmanageable or that it can be difficult to know where to begin.  I am so glad to see you reached out for guidance/support during this season and are showing up for yourself in this way! I would encourage you to pause on that a moment and recognize that accomplishment for yourself! Any one of those experiences could feel overwhelming to navigate and you have several major life events hitting you simultaneously...and then we add in the holidays! Undoubtedly that feels like a lot I am sure.  The grief and loss experiences alone can be difficult to find your way through, without all of the other layers.  I am so sorry to hear about the several major losses in your life which occurred so incredibly close together it seems. Especially with your parents.  That is a very different type of loss and can contain so many challenging layers to navigate in the process.  When we experience more than one loss at a time, that can prove to be extraordinarily complicated.  Grieving is a very personal experience and one that is unique to everyone.  We often go through multiple phases and experiences while grieving.  We may notice things like shock/denial, feeling as though we want to negotiate our experiences "bargaining", feeling angry at our loved ones or our circumstances, feeling depressed, and ultimately accepting the loss (even though we may not ever feel "ok" about it).  This process is not linear and we can enter and exit these various stages more than once while processing our losses.   This becomes especially complicated when we lose more than one loved one (or experience) at a time.  We can sometimes find ourselves in various stages with various losses, all at the same time. Talk about overwhelming, confusing and complicated! We also don't only experience grief/loss over the death of a loved one.  Many other areas of our lives can lead us to experiencing feelings of grief as well.  These may include loss of a personal relationship, a job, a lifestyle, our health, our financial independence, our physical well being etc.  The experience is very similar.  So you can imagine in experiencing all of the things you noted above simultaneously how overly complicated your emotional state may feel internally! It sounds like there is a lot of hurt, disappointment, and betrayal in your recent experiences as well.  It can be very helpful to work with a licensed professional to assist in sorting out these feelings and experiences and to assist you in learning new skills, techniques, and approaches to manage these emotions in a way that can enhance your overall life experience and satisfaction.   You have certainly overcome and survived an extraordinary culmination of stressors over the past years as you described above.  I would imagine there is probably more going on that you were not able to identify above as well.  Meeting with a therapist on a consistent basis can help you to prioritize what is most meaningful in your life and assist you with getting back on track with maintaining a quality of life that you deserve and can enjoy once again! I hope this brief response helps to answer some of your questions and gets you started in reclaiming some agency over your life once more! I wish you well in the meantime and again commend you for advocating for yourself and coming forward with your questions today.  Take care of yourself and remember you are worthy of happiness!
Answered on 12/10/2022

Can a person be troubled by spending a lot of time alone?

You sound like the type of person who loves to help those around him. While this is a huge strength, it can also be incredibly draining. Any decision is ultimately yours to make but here are a few things to consider; 1) Before throwing up your hands, have you considered setting boundaries with your relatives and friends so you don't feel as if you are always being pulled in a million directions? 2) How much of the current situation that bothers you is completely out of your control? And what parts of that make you uncomfortable? 3) Family is usually worth fighting for; however, have you thought about a time where you will feel comfortable drawing the line? 4) Who out there is fighting for you? Being the person who is there for everyone is incredibly draining at times and it is imperative that you care for yourself as well as, if not better, than you would care for your loved ones. 5) You mentioned spending time alone. Giving yourself time to recharge can be vital to your success as a person, friend, relative and general participant of society. If you're feeling pressure by specific individuals to spend all of your time and energy on them, it may be time to consider if these are the best relationships for you to continue pursuing. 6) Have you considered that devoting energy towards yourself and healing yourself from the inside may be the thing that sparks those in your family to make similar changes? Change is terrifying for many individuals and the ultimate motivator can be someone they care about making strides toward actively bettering themselves. How do you currently care for yourself? What are some ways you have cared for yourself or shown yourself compassion in the past that you felt were beneficial?  I hope some of these thoughts will be helpful in your journey of healing. I'll leave you with a few final thoughts; At the end of the day, trust your gut, after all, we have a gut instinct for a reason and it is usually right.  Fight for those you care about - especially yourself.  
Answered on 12/04/2022

How do I do things in life even tho the people closest to me don’t seem to support it?

Incongruence related to values and expectations can cause a lot of internal discomfort and confusion.  Anxious and depressive symptoms can make that confusion worse as well as the core values and beliefs that have been influenced in our lives by family, friends, and society.  While my first recommendation would be working with a professional counselor, therapist, psychologist, or social worker I also understand this may not always be possible. If you are unable to work directly with a professional, beginning to explore the values, rules, attitudes, and views in which you operate (or would like to operate) will help you define the healthy boundaries you want to place on the relationships in your life.  Coming to a place where you have an understanding of your own value system and moral compass will enable you to feel assured in setting those boundaries related to your choices. When one's choices do not align with their value system, or the consequences of their choices create separation from the ones we love, this is often when people struggle with self-acceptance. We tend to move closer to maladaptive coping strategies or strategies that often result in negative consequences.  If you choose to work with a professional, one of the first steps would be to identify the specific emotions like fear, anxiety, distress, inadequacy, and insecurity related to the incongruence.  Rapport and trust in the therapist you are working with will be essential in working towards a goal of clarity, peace, and self-acceptance.  Working with a professional, developing effective coping strategies for reducing negative emotions and/or symptoms can make the difference in quality of life during this self-exploration.  Every person functions and operates differently, so finding the specific coping strategies that work the best and are most effective for you will be essential. Finding a professional who has a strong, well-rounded, and competent understanding of the barriers, complexities, challenges, stigmas, and culture you are ingrained within should be something you seek during the process.  People who are starting their therapeutic journey should treat this like a job interview: you deserve the best service and treatment! Find someone who you can connect with, feel comfortable exploring difficult topics, a person who will challenge you to grow from a place of support and genuine positive regard! Take your time exploring a variety of professionals, reviewing any feedback from previous clients, their credentials, work experiences, as well as having interactions of interpersonal conversations.  This should be the first goal as you begin this journey! Professionals who have experience working with this problem area will be able to work concisely and effectively with you to identify YOUR goals for treatment, aid in developing a plan to work towards goals, challenge you to make progress, encourage you to find your path to success, and work alongside you to build skills you may need in the future when faced with other challenges.    As you begin to unpack the incongruence, the best advice I can give is to be honest, open, and willing to explore.  Motivation may come and go, so finding the reason for you to dig deep into the problem will be essential in staying connected even when this feels uncomfortable or challenging beyond your normal comfort-level. No matter what, good luck in your journey! You are strong and that shows by the mere fact that you even reached out for clarity and support!
(M.Ed, LPCC-S)
Answered on 11/27/2022

I just lost my dad 1 month ago and I cannot stop crying

Hi Sunny, First let me say how terribly sorry I am to hear that you dad has died.  I am glad that you were able to be there for his last breath and hold his hand.  Losing a parent is one of the most difficult things that can happen to a person.  On the one hand, most of us on some level realize that our parents are going to die before us, but our parents were one of our biggest social supports.  You didn’t just lose your dad, but you lost one of your biggest social supports, and no one is likely to ever fill the shoes of your dad.  Your dad was with you from the moment that you were born, and now he is gone.  You might even feel abandoned or isolated that your dad has passed; this situation is a tough thought for anyone.  Please, please go easy on yourself.  You just went through one of the toughest things in your life.  Anyone in your situation would be crying, and you are just human.  The good thing is that you are crying so much, and that shows to me just how much you cared for your dad, and likely how much he cared for you.  Many experts consider grieving to be normal for 10% as much as you knew your dad.  If you are 30 years old, expect to be actively grieving for him for 3 years.  If you are 50 years old, expect to be actively grieving for him for 5 years.  These are just the minimum.  If the situation was sudden, accidental, or traumatic in any way, you might have to double your grieving time.  Please take as much time as you need in the grieving process.  In our modern culture, people are expected to be back at work almost immediately, and that is a problem for everyone.  Some cultures would have an open grieving for a minimum of a week to a month where everyone was expected to cry for that entire time frame.  So, for you to be crying a month later is not only normal but also healthy for you. Crying is one of the healthiest ways to grieve, and I am glad that you are crying.  Please cry as much as you want.  While you mentioned that you were crying during your grief, please expect other emotions to show up during the grieving process.  Most dads are not perfect and you are not perfect either, so expect a wide range of emotions to show up in the grieving process.  You might remember a time that you were mad at your dad for something that he did to you or that you did to your dad.  It is perfectly healthy to have these different emotions as you go through the process of thinking about all of the different interactions that you have had with your dad.  You might even feel numb at times, but please go gentle on yourself again.  Grieving is different for everyone, and everyone had a different relationship with their dad.  Based on your relationship with your dad and your relationship with yourself, your grieving process will be different.  Please don’t let anyone tell you that you should or should not have any emotion toward your dad during the grieving process.  Some people may mean well when they try to tell you how to grieve, but more than likely, the they will hinder you from going through the grieving process.  Here at BetterHelp, we have a goodbye letter that many people utilize for their grieving process, and all of the clients that I have had have found this goodbye letter to be beneficial to them.  Any quality goodbye letter will have many of these topics.  The important thing is to write about the things that you remember him and you doing together.  While at times, you will want to focus on some negative things, as you work through the grieving process, you will want to focus more on the positive things that happened between you and your dad.  Most of us had dads that taught us many things, so try to be grateful for the many things that your dad taught to you.  It is also perfectly acceptable for you to write multiple goodbye letters to your dad.  You might want to write one now to him, but also write a second one the first anniversary of his death.  You might also want to write a goodbye letter to him every year on the anniversary of his death.   One of the most important things for you to do is to develop a social support network, and you will probably want a wide variety of people in your social support network.  Your social support can include anyone that is trying to help you through the grieving process.  Many people will include not only their family and friends, but also people from church, co-workers, and even next door neighbors.  The only important thing is that they want to see you get better, and I am sure that over time, you will start to get better.  You will likely want some of the social support people to be in person, over the phone, or even on the internet.  People that are gentle and supportive of you are the ones that you should slowly gravitate towards.    The final and probably the hardest thing for you to do is to find meaning in the death of your dad.  You probably don’t want to try to try this too early.  When you can find meaning in the death of your dad, you will likely be able to find meaning in life again.  Right now, you might not have much meaning in life, but don’t worry, that is just part of the grieving process.  At no point during the grieving process should you be hard on yourself or allow others to be hard on you.  Always remember that gentleness and kindness are the best way to go through the grieving process.  Paul Teska, LPC + LCDC
Answered on 11/26/2022