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Unresolved Grief

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Hi All,

This is my first post. I'll get straight to the point. I lost my younger brother almost 30 years ago. I was 9 years of age and he was 4. He died in his sleep and me and my dad could not wake him while my mom freaked out in panic in another room. We found out later it was undeline pneumonia and his heart muscles enlarged, blocking the electric pulse to keep it beating. Prior to this, he had numerous doctor visits and was never admitted to hospital even though he should have been.  After it I was pushed aside and stayed with cousins alot of the time. Hearing statements from nuns and priests like "stay strong for mom and dad" at the time. In short, I never grieved properly. When I was 22 I had a nervous breakdown (I'm now 38) that hit me out of nowhere. Depression, anxiety, social anxiety, obsessive thoughts for 17 years. I kept going looking for answers. I knew the loss of my brother was the cause I just didn't know how to fix. Numerous therapists throughout the years and I tried so many different techniques.

I know through all of this that unresolved grief is the cause. I let alot of this go by writing about it and grieving my own way early this year which really helped. I've also took part in a bereavement group which was amazing and that helped too. I've also had other loss. At 27 I was diagnosed with Fabrys disease and 2 years later I had bilateral hip replacements. I lost my uncle and my dad 2 cancer in 2012 and 2014 and a few close friends to suicide throughout the years.

I know everyones losses are there own and there is no hierarchy in grief. A few weeks ago I got those feelings again. Anxiousness that I now know is due to old experiences. With all my losses I still know that losing my brother at that vulnerable age is the root cause. I don't know how to go back again to fix this properly but I feel something else is looking to be addressed. I'm working through The Grief Recovery Handbook on my own (they recommend a grief partner) but I also think that the remaining feelings maybe due to a damaged inner child and I'm looking for some advice on how best to approach this? I know there's a way to fix all of this and I'm willing to go wherever needs be so just some advice would be great!




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I'm sorry for all you've been carrying for so many years, that's a lot.  It sounds like you could benefit from a Grief Counselor, it's more than we could tackle here.  But hold on, we'll see what Marty has to say when she comes on.  




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Dear Tommy, I'm so sorry to learn that you lost your little brother at such an early age, when you yourself were so very young too. And from what you've shared with us, you received little if any support at the time. Such a heavy burden to carry for the rest of your life!

Your experience of prolonged grief fits the description of Complicated Grief ~ and the good news is that some very effective treatment programs have been developed for this form of grief by Dr. Katherine Shear of Columbia University (see A New Treatment Program for The Grief Than Won't End).

Read more about it here, and note especially the extensive list of readings listed at the base:   What Is Complicated Grief? 

You'll find a list of therapists whose practice is informed by Dr. Shear's work here: Find A Therapist - The Center for Complicated Grief

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