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I Feel Like I'm Losing My Mind.


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I lost my Grandmother April 30th and I cannot seem to get control of my emotions I am constantly in tears. I have never been this depressed and empty inside in all my life. I was given time off from work and assured that my job was not in jeopardy just get myself well and my job would be there once I returned.Apparently, I wasn't getting it together quick enough because I was informed that I would be immediately terminated tomorrow if I do not come to work. Everyday is a struggle to get out of bed and face the day, my coworkers have been great but I cannot even look them in the eye without crying. My Grandmother was an amazing person and she suffered alot the last 18 months of her life and never complained. She was the most unselfish, amazing, wonderful woman I have ever known and I know she is in a better place. My brain knows it but my heart wont accept it.

I have called our Employee Assistance Program twice and I have an appointment to speak with a counselor on June 4th. I hope I make it until then because I really feel like I am inches away from a nervous breakdown. I have no choice but to be at work a shell of myself or I wont have a job to return to when I am feeling better. I sit at my desk and silently cry when I do go to work. I want this feeling to go away but I cannot seem to shake the void and depression I feel. I understand that it is a part of grieving but nevertheless it is unnerving for someone who is normally a happy, easygoing person.

I finally confided in my Mom today about how I was feeling. I didn't want to burden her with my feelings because I knew she was grieving over the loss of my Grandmother,her Mother.I feel such guilt dumping my feelings in her lap, but I couldn't go on pretending that I was fine when I was quickly coming apart at the seams. She is of course very worried and relieved that I have agreed to speak to someone. She also is completely at peace with my Grandmother's death because she watched her suffer for so long. I long to feel the same peace.

In the meantime I continue to struggle through a day with no tears and a day that I don't feel as if I am losing my mind.

Thanks for listening,

Terri B

Edited by Terri B
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Terri B,

You are not losing your mind. You are grieveing and we have all been where you are right now. I am glad to hear that you are going to talk to someone because getting your feelings out is essential. You might also consider talking to your doctor about some medication. As far as confiding in your mom, I know how you feel. You don't want to further burden them, but I think sometimes it helps them for many reasons. It makes them still feel needed,sometimes it helps to get your mind off your own grief when you have to think about someone else, it might make her feel more open to confiding her feelings to you. So don't worry about it. Just know that you are going through normal feelings and aren't going crazy or having a breakdown!

Hugs,

Shell

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I agree with Shell. What you are going thru is normal. It doesn't feel normal, it feels horrible. I am glad you talked to your mom and have an appt with a counselor. I remember right after my mom died, I just couldn't get out of bed or function. I broke the day down into 3 hour sections. I didn't think about anything beyond 3 hours. I only worried about what I had to get done in that 3 hours.(showering, eating, driving my son to school).I remember being so relieved if I could get things done in that period of time. Maybe that would help, especially during your work day, break it down so the day doesn't seem so overwhelming.

I am so sorry for your loss. Take good care of yourself.

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Hi Terri,

My wife was very, very close to her grandmother also. I had long hair and a beard when grandma and I met, and I don't think she was thrilled with me on first sight, but we became very close in a very short time. I didn't even grow up with this fantastic lady in my life, and it was a terrible loss to me, so Tanya's loss must have been practically unbearable. Often, I would sit at a distance and watch them interact with each other. The beauty of seeing this singularly wonderful, sweet young woman and the person she held in highest esteem because of the way she lived her life (volunteering, helping anyone who seemed to need it, hoisting a cocktail and telling a very slightly off-color joke now and again), was nothing short of inspiring. It seems our culture wants to impose recovery deadlines, and if you don't meet them, tough luck. You will be able to recover despite the time limits imposed by your workplace, and being pushed back to work too soon may just be one of those hidden blessings, because it forced you to think about counseling. Does hospice sponsor any grief support groups you can attend in the meantime? If not, there may be other avenues you can take advantage of between now and June 4th if you feel like it.

Your grandmother sounds very much like Tanya's, so the intensity of your feelings of loss, with the added difficulty of knowing that she suffered in her final year and a half makes it almost certain that an empathetic person who loved her would react strongly. You mention that your brain/heart reaction isn't simpatico, and I for one, totally understand your difficulty. I know that my friends consider me to be a very rational person. I am a very rational person...except where rationality (as perceived from those outside my situation) comes into play concerning the death of my wife. I mention this because I am fully aware that, at least to observers, I am behaving irrationally. The seeming incongruity between heart and mind we are experiencing may be our way of reconciling the unacceptable--this doesn't happen quickly for most. How can we accept something that is completely unacceptable?

You are not losing your mind. In my view, you are experiencing this loss in a way that will ensure your mind will regain/retain balance and health. You aren't bottling up your emotions, nor should you have to. Recover at your own speed. Remember that the mind thinks, but the heart knows.

Steve

Edited by Steven
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Terri, dear ~

Isn’t it interesting that, if we fall and break a bone, we wouldn’t think we were “weak” or “crazy” or “falling apart” if we didn’t know how to fix it by ourselves – yet when we suffer a heartbreaking loss such as the death of a dearly loved one, we chastise ourselves for not knowing how to repair our own broken hearts?

As Shell and Annie and Steven have already said, what you’re experiencing is normal, especially at this point in your own grief journey. Your grandmother died barely a month ago, and as that initial shock and numbness starts to wear off, the full force of your grief starts hitting you in the face, as the reality and the enormity of what you’ve lost begins to sink in. At the same time, you’ve been told that, ready or not, you must return to work, where you’re expected to put your personal problems and feelings aside, put on a happy face, and do the job you’re being paid to do. Such expectations may be unrealistic – especially if you have little experience with grief and no other place to take your sorrow and pain.

It helps so much to know what normal grief looks like and feels like, Terri, because then you know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. Then you can plan for your own reactions and learn some practical ways to manage them – which in turn leaves you feeling less “crazy” and much more in control.

If you haven't already done so, I hope you’ll pay a visit to my Grief Healing Web site. Once there, take the time to visit each of the pages listed at the bottom of the Home Page, most especially the Articles and Books page,and the Site Map ~ Links page. When you get to that page, under the Links column on the right, scroll down to the category labeled DEATH OF A PARENT and follow some of those links. See also ARTICLES BY MARTY and click on any one of those titles to learn more about the grieving process. Such information assures you that what you are experiencing is normal (even predictable) and gives you hope that, if others can survive such pain, you will find a way to survive it, too. I’ve also written an on-line e-mail course on grief; you can read more about it at The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey.

I hope you’ll also take some time to read through some of the helpful and informative posts on this site. See, for example,

Can Anyone Help Me Understand

Book List

Links List

Like everyone else out there who is reading this, I am so gratified to know that some way, somehow you have found your way to this warm, caring and supportive place, because I know that here you will find some of the comfort, compassion and companionship you so desperately need and deserve right now. None of us can take away your pain at this sad and difficult time in your life, Terri – but we can assure you that you need not endure it all by yourself.

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Terri, I am sorry about the loss of your grandmother. When my mother died last year, my daughters ages 21 and 25 were greatly affected. They were extremely close to her, as I am sure you were to yours. I can only tell you that time has helped. We went through lots of tears and sometimes still do, but we are moving forward. My older daughter is getting married in October and she is using my mom's small diamond stones from her wedding ring in her wedding band. It is helping her to know that she will always feel close to her.

In time you will be ok. Is there a favorite pin or something that you can wear to feel her closeness with you when you need it? That seems to help a lot of us here.

Take care...Lori

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Hello Shell,

Thank you for your kind words. I pray alot and ask for guidance, understanding and normalcy. I don't know if I will get all of them but I still pray. It's comforting to know I am not having a breakdown.

Thank you,

Terri

Edited by Terri B
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Hi Steve,

Thank you so much for your beautiful words. Your wife and her Grandmother sounded like they were two wonderful and remarkable women. Over these last few weeks I have tried to explain how I feel to people and yet it is inexplainable. I search for words and I get nothing, your letter explained how I am feeling and more. When you feel completely alone (in my feelings) as I do, that is a comfort.I have repeated your phrase to myself "remember that the mind thinks, but the heart knows" too many times to count. I have never felt such sadness and depression but I have never thought of ending it all. I just know I will endure and be a functioning member of society however little I am able to piece it together. Thank you for taking the time to let me know that I am not alone, I am forever grateful.

Thanks,

Terri B

Edited by Terri B
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Hi AnnieO,

My friend suggested I do the same thing as you just an hour a a time. My first complete day back I was coaxed by my wonderful friend but I wasn't happy and prideful when I made the whole day. That horrible feeling was still there. It followed me home and everywhere I go it tags along. I am so sorry about your Mom she raised a loving and caring person. Thank you.

Terri B

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Terri,

You are very welcome--it was nice thinking about how happy Tanya and her grandma were spending time together. I used to wonder if they could have been closer if they were of similar age. I really don't think so; the two were always on the same page despite having almost 60 years difference between them. I can never say enough about Tanya--she was the most amazing person I've ever known, and she in many ways modeled her life on her grandmother's, so I really appreciate your comment about them.

I agree with you wholeheartedly as you describe how hard it is to explain the feelings we're all having; words fail for the most part when depicting what we're all going through. I find myself repeating the same things to friends and family: I'm not really lonely, I am missing the company of one person. The person who was the witness to my adult life, the person who knew what I was thinking, who understood by simply looking at me, the one person who completely got me. I think it is impossible to wholly impart these types of feelings, the kind that are precious and few, the kind that Tanya had with me, with her grandma, the kind you had with your grandmother, and the kind that so many who post here had with their loved one. The one place people can at least understand this thinking seems to be here.

Thank you for taking the time to respond, and for your kind words about Tanya and Grandma. I'm sorry for what brought you here, but glad you arrived.

Steve

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