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November 19, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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Want to Die


I fantasize about death because I hate this world and want to die. During August someone killed my brother and it caused my mother to commit suicide in November. I am depressed beyond words and attempt killing myself a lot because I can't stand this incredible pain. What should I do? Counselors don't know anything and just want my money. No one understands me and I sit in my room crying all the time wondering what I did wrong. Please help me. I hate life and want out.

Celia, 18-year-old woman


Celia my dear,

Anyone in your situation would be terribly distressed. You have lost two people in your life, and I imagine you loved both of them. And both died in a traumatic way. You are grieving, and traumatized, and they have left a huge hole in your life, and so it's perfectly understandable that the pain is just too much, and you want it to stop.

But it is not true that "Counselors don't know anything and just want my money." People in the helping professions typically choose this kind of work because they are motivated to relieve suffering rather than to make money off their clients. You are in Australia, where services by psychologists are covered by Medicare. If you go to your GP and ask for a referral to a psychologist who bulk bills, you can have competent, effective help for no cost to you at all.

If you and I could work together, I am confident you would be able to start rebuilding your life within 8 to 12 weekly sessions. That's not to say you would be happy then, but you would be able to accept the double tragedy, and continue your grieving in a "healthy" way.

You see, grief is a little bit like a broken bone. It hurts. Over time, if everything goes well, it heals, and eventually things return to normal. With a broken bone, normal healing is about 6 weeks. With traumatic grief like yours, 2 years is more like it.

What can you expect when you have healed? As I said, life will go on, and you will be able to think and talk about your mother and brother like about anyone else, without pain. You will be able to remember good things in your life with them, and even the bad things without feeling guilty about admitting that there were bad things as well as good. On special days - birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas -- there will be sadness, then life will return to normal.

I have a wonderful friend who is now in her 50s. When she was 23, she was crossing a road with her baby girl in her arms and with her 6 year old son holding her hand. A thoughtless driver smashed into them. The little boy died, the baby got brain damage (and learned to walk at 15, though the doctors said she never would), and the mother suffered serious injuries.

As the result of this tragedy, she became incredibly wise, strong, loving and resilient. People seek her out when they are in trouble. For most of the year, life goes on fine, and she can talk about her long-dead son, and anything else. Once a year, on the anniversary, she spends a day crying for him, honoring his memory.

This is what is meant by being healed. This is a good resolution to grief. You can achieve this too. It will take time, and pain, and effort. Like my friend, you can put a silver lining around the cloud. Think about how you will use your life to make sense of your double tragedy. You might consider a career in which you can work to reduce suffering for others. That's what I did to make sense of my troubles when I was young. Or you can do what my friend did, and get on with life but still spread peace and joy and support wherever you go.

And please, get a referral to a psychologist.



This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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