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Loss of best friend/therapist


alwayssad

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I lost my best friend who was also my therapist on Saturday. I had been in treatment for 5+ years on a weekly basis. PT was the most intelligent, eclectic, funny, down to earth person that I have ever met. She made exploring scary issues and troubling thoughts and feelings an easy task. I looked forward to every meeting we had. I learned so very much about myself and the world in general. PT helped me thru the most trying and painful time of my life. The loss of my loving spouse of 40+ years. He was my reason for living and I felt as if I would never survive, quite obviously I have. I now am troubled and pained by her loss. She became my new rock, my new anchor to reality. I have never had a firm grip on reality and I have spent 54 years in one type of therapy or another. My spouse loved me despite my mental health issues and he helped me become a better person. After his traumatic loss PT started helping me climb back up to reality. I don't know how things are going to turn out now, but I am going to keep on trying. I owe it to the many people in  my life who have helped me throughout the years. They and I have fought too hard to give up now. I come to this web site to hopefully connect with others who have similar lives. Sometimes it's just a matter of being able to reach out and know someone is there. I am quite alone and quite lonely. My spouse and I really only had each other, we never really socialized. Grief is a really hard issue to handle and we all handle it differently. Every time I feel as if I am getting a handle on things, another very important person in my life dies and it all comes crashing down again. I have lost four brothers and sisters , both my parents, both grandparents, both in-laws and multiple friends, including one whos funeral was 3 Saturdays ago, not to mention PT and my Darling spouse. I have nursed several of these people around the clock for many, many months till they passed on. I am spent I can not do this again.

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Welcome to our site!  I've been here for nearly 16 years, since I lost my spouse.  At first I was here because of my own loss, as I began the process of learning about grief, I wanted to be here for others, the same way someone was here for me when I went through it.  I've suffered many losses since, mother, sister, BIL  of 50 years, my soulmate in a dog, Arlie, my 25 year old cat, many other pets, friends...the older we get, the more it seems to keep happening.  I've learned death is part of life...but knowing that doesn't make it any easier.  
You may want to post in Loss of Spouse as well, it's ongoing, the adjusting, living w/o them in our lives.  This past year has been especially difficult in Covid isolation.

In our Loss of Spouse section, many of us "leftovers" from spousal grief seem to have formed a core bond, supporting each other in the trying times of aloneness in this time.  We've shared in our times of growing old alone, losing our beloved furry companions, and so much more, and we always welcome another joining us!  Some don't venture out of that section much so that's one reason I suggested posting there, as I think you'd fit with where we're at and what we're going through.

I know it's been a long time you've been grieving, so most of this is probably not new to you but I'll share it anyway, if even one thing is a help, good, if not, you can skip past it. ;)

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

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