Too many family deaths
Well, I'm 18 and still in high school. I'm a very outgoing person who is very involved and has average grades. In 2001, my father was killed, but at that time, my parents were divorced well before he died. I was the last to talk to him at the hospital; when I let go, so did he. It was OK for me, mainly because he was an abusive alcoholic, so I didn't feel very emotional. The problem was, he was buried on my birthday.
Just recently my only sister passed away. She was killed by a drunk driver in a hit and run incident on Mother's Day. I received the phone call...it was terrifying. Then, in January 2006 my grandmother died. She was very close to me as well as everyone else. After that, out of nowhere, my best friend moved to another city. I'm losing everyone.
Whenever I see something that reminds me of any incident I start to cry and yell and curse God. I blame him for my terrible life. I also can't get images out of my head of the accident - I see it as if I was there. It's scary for me to cope with this. I am an emotional wreck, and I have not thought about death because it terrifies me. What do I do? I can't afford a psychologist. I'm scared that this is going to mess up my life. What's wrong with me?
I am very sorry to hear about all the losses you have suffered in so short a time. I don't care how strong you are - you are supposed to be hurting when you get hit like this over and over. As you know, you are experiencing a lot of grief, but it sounds like you are surprised that you are reacting with what is called spontaneous crying.
It sounds like you feel that since you understand what has happened to you, you should be strong; since you can see the inevitability of your father's death, you should not be taking these losses so hard. I would assume that anyone in your position would be reacting quite similarly and it doesn't mean that anything is necessarily wrong.
It is important not to damn yourself for your emotional reactions or to try to hold them back. The brain works in different ways and at times in a contrary manner. It is natural at times to think calmly about a certain issue and simultaneously to feel quite emotional about it. Honor the losses that you have had and let yourself grieve them out appropriately. They will probably dissipate on their own. Usually, the grief reaction for one death lasts between 6 months to 2 years if it dissipates naturally. From the tenor of your email however, it is probable that the shock of all these traumas has overwhelmed your system. The rapidity of these traumas could well have made it impossible to grieve them out in a normal fashion and in a timely manner. When this happens Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD develops. This is essentially a shock reaction or delayed grieving. It is very treatable, but it is important to seek professional help for it.
I would recommend seeking out a clinician that is familiar with Neuro Emotional Technique, EMDR, and hypnosis. This trio of therapies makes therapy much more effective and quicker. Don't let the cost stop you as it will be much more expensive in terms of pain and lost function if you don't see someone. Try to use the resources that many cities have in the form of community counseling services.
I am sorry for your losses and wish you the best.
Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT
This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit: http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/