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Was I Sick Or Did I Have A Panic Attack?


Spika

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On Friday I woke up feeling like crap. I have been feeling like crap a lot lately but it was just a little bit worse on Friday because I couldn't catch my breath and it hurt to breathe very deep, plus I was sooo emotional. Everything made me want to cry. I went to work as usual and then something very strange happened to me. It was like I was hallucinating... or having a day dream where I heard my dad's voice. It was stunningly real so I decided I needed to go and lie down at home.

So I went home and found I was running a fever. I took two aspirin and then my fever was gone. I woke up the next day feeling much better. I have been fine since. Has anyone experienced this? I read on livestrong.com that panic attacks can trigger a fever so I wonder if it was that. Lately, out of the blue my heart will start racing or I'll have trouble getting enough air.

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Hi Spika

First off I am so sorry for the loss of your dear Dad.I lost mine suddenly just over 20mnths ago and have been so lost and lonely since. I'm not a medical professional so all I can give you is my opinion and share my experiences.

It sounds like it may have been a panic attack.I never in my life had them until inlost my Dad.couldn't go back to work for almost 3 months.so much would set me off from the slap of reality,seeing a speeding ambulance,police car,fire engine.....all just reminding me of the night I tore into the hospital speeding myself when we got the call.sometimes I'd have to pull my car over because I would be crying so much,not able to breath properly,would feel very dizzy and light headed.....but I realised it was all normal......normal for the trauma of losing my Dad. Like you my heart would suddenly start racing,like this overwhelming sense of fear,I threw up quite a lot too.

Now it's not as bad but these things can still happen to me,the slightest thing can stress me so much and not having my Dad to go to scares me.life without him still scares me I just try not to think ahead. I still sometimes get a fright when I "realise" how real it is.....often I feel like I'm on auto pilot and then bang true reality hits and I know I can't wake from this nightmare because it is real.

When I do get panicked,can't breath properly I just hang on tight and go with it,let the feelings out,the tears,anger or whatever emotion it is......because it does always pass eventually. I guess now I'm somewhat used to it I think the shock is so enormous it can cause a lOt of physical reactions in our bodies too so it's a complete overload physically and emotionally.

So from my opinion I think you are just experiencing this awful grief. If you are worried I would recommend having a chat with your doctor who should put your mind at ease.I know my Mom went quite a few times the first year,worried about her heart but there was never anything wrong,doc said it was just anxiety which was normal under the circumstances.

Again so very sorry you've had to become part of this club none of us wants to be in

Sending much love comfort and a big ((hug)) to you

Niamh

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Thank you so much for your response, Naimh. I am so very sorry that you have experienced the pain of losing your father as well.

I also agree that it was a panic attack because I feel similar right now. I am so overwhelmed. And I feel like I have absolutely no one to talk to and that scares me so bad.

My boyfriends mom recently found out she has a brain tumor, his step mom found out she has breast cancer on Saturday, our cat is sick and needs $250 procedure done to make her better, and we cant afford anything. We cant afford the doctor for her, for me, and we have no insurance. To top it off, my boyfriend has been a smoker of 20 years and now he is having chest pains and mouth sores. But we cant afford to go to the doctor.

He is all I have left, I am so scared. Today he told me that he is so stressed with his own life that he cant handle/understand my emotional instability when he feels like he is dying and worried about his family too. I feel like it is selfish of me to expect him to handle it too . But he is all I have. He is trying to quit smoking because of his health and that is so terribly hard on him. How am I supposed to be strong for him when I can barely be strong for myself?

Some days are better than others. I feel like I am also on autopilot, that I am aware of all these things happening and then eventually it will just hit me like a brick in the face. I cant survive without my job but I can barely keep it together at my job. I feel like everyone is looking at me like why am I still so sad when my mom hasnt missed a day of work, has been getting everything finished, and doesnt even break down at work like me. (My mom and I work together and my dad worked with us too.)

And I feel so bad for saying all this because I feel like my troubles are too big of a burden on anyone, everyone has their own problems, so I shouldnt complain like Im the only one struggling. But I just dont know what to do.

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you're very welcome Spika.

Oh wow you are really being given a lot of blows at the moment in addition to losing your Dad. I am so sorry for all the additional stress, it's more than enough trying to just cope with the loss of your Dad, not to mind anything else. But I hear you, I'm there every so often it feels like everything goes wrong and I wish I could just get a break. I don't know where you live but is there any system whereby you can go to doctor or hospital even if you have no insurance, some kind of social welfare benefit ?

I'm sorry you have the worry of his health now too. It reminds me in a way of my Mom, she smokes too and I've tried everything from encouraging her to getting angry, to telling her how much it scares me. She's having some tests done at the moment, complete lack of energy etc which she's been told it is the smoking ....she's 66 so I HATE seeing her unable to walk far etc. But it's probably one of her few enjoyments now without my Dad with her so sometimes I just have to let it go. But I don't want to lose her anytime soon because of this, I want her to have the option of going on vacation sometime and being able to walk to sightsee etc. Ugh I get so frustrated because she doesn't want to give them up so there;s no trying at all.

You so right it is very very hard if not impossible right now for you to be there fully for your b/f, you have your grief to deal with and it's very consuming and tirying.

You know my Mom said last year she thought she was doing better than me and to some extent I do think so. Why ? I'm not sure, perhaps it's because she lost her Mom, she also lost 2 sisters who were her best friends ..........so she's been through the traumatic grief before ..............although I've lost aunts, grandparents & friends it's just not the same, losing them was hard but it didn't destroy every part of me and my life like losing my Dad did. I don't have siblings so can't relate to that type of loss. Having said that my Mom still has a tough time, still doesn't think she will ever be truly happy again and I'm right there with her.

Can you take any sick leave from work for a couple of weeks ? I'm sure your doctor should be able to give you sick cert so you can just have some breathing space to allow you begin to process this and allow your body adjust.

One thing I will say if you can is try not to think about what other people think, your grief and your Mom's grief is so different, the relationship each of you had with your Dad is so different. Don't feel bad for any of what you think or feel, although nobody can fix it that's for sure, but they can lend an ear and just some kindness and gentleness to be there for you & for now people should keeping their "little problems" in the backgound, because that's what they all are compared to what you are going through. Right now everything is all about YOU, who cares for now about other's struggles ......and I don't mean that in a callous way but right now your grief is the biggest "problem" on this planet, it's having a knock off effect to every part of you and that's all normal.

I know I've had some pretty horrible scary feelings when it comes to the financial side of things and sometimes I don't know how to cope with all the worry ..............you know what I do when it gets that bad, I go watch tv and zone out of it all, most of the time it works to get stuck into a good show and forget about "real life".

I hope you will find even the tiniest bit of comfort just coming here Spika knowing someone else in the world can relate to some of what you are going through. Please keep writing no matter what the "complaint".

((hugs))) to you

Niamh

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Spika, dear, I certainly understand why you're feeling so overwhelmed, given all that's going on in your life. I'm so sorry you're having such a difficult time, but I hope Niamh's warm response helps to assure you that you're not alone. You may find this article helpful: Coping with Anxiety in Grief

The information you provided when you registered with us indicates that your father was on Hospice of the Valley's service when he died. I hope you are aware that, as an HOV family member, in addition to our online Grief Healing Discussion Groups, you also have available to you all the other grief support services offered by HOV, including in-person grief support groups, short-term individual grief counseling, written educational materials and our bimonthly newsletter ~ all free of charge. You should have received our bereavement packet in the mail by now, but if you haven't yet heard from our Bereavement office, please feel free to give them a call, at 602-530-6970. You'll find more information about our bereavement services on HOV's website at www.hov.org; once there, click on Grief Support.

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I am so relieved that you replied again, Niamh. Thank you so much.

I so wish I could take time off work. Lately, work is where it hurts the worst. I work back in a dark office where no one goes unless to tell me what they want me to do and all I have is my work, but I just don't care about it anymore. Being here reminds me of my dad and the permanence of his absence. I moved from Rhode Island three years ago to be with him since he was diagnosed with cancer. The biggest reason I kept this job was because of him, because it was the only way I knew I could spend the most time with him. But now he is gone and what is it all for?

But I have too many responsibilities now to find a new job, and I used all my sick time while my dad was sick to care for him. I start working full time again tomorrow so I might as well suck it up I guess.

I'm glad your mom is so understanding of you, but I am sorry she won't try to quit smoking for her own well being. I understand how frustrating it is. My bf has tried to stop ever since we got together, 5 years ago. But he never does, so I wonder if he really wants to? He is trying yet again today since he is so concerned that he has something seriously wrong with him so I hope it sticks.

I will try to use your advice about not caring what other people think. I am also going to try and deal with this on my own. My boyfriend has his own problems, my mom and I have never really understood each other, and since moving from RI, I have no friends to talk to, and also like you I have no siblings. I would talk to my bf's mom but she already has her health and her son's to worry about too. One thing I do have is this site, and I was thinking about attending a support group too. The thought scares me so much though I don't know if I am brave enough.

Anyway, I have made it this long today without crying and without my heart racing totally out of control (knock on wood). I had a few non-bad days around two weeks after my dad died and then WHAM it seemed like it all reappeared even worse. Has that ever happened to you? It was like a calm before the storm. I don't want that to happen again.

Thanks again

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Thank you very much MartyT. It is comforting to talk people who can relate and who care. I am so glad I found these forums. I was actually thinking about going to some support groups that I found on this website. I'm just so scared to do it, I don't know why. Foolish, I guess.

While a hospice counselor was here she told us about a lot of things they would offer, after my dad passed. Don't get me wrong, I am interested, although just scared. My mom received the packet but she has never been one for counseling so I think she threw it away. I asked her for it but she never gave it to me. If all the information in the packet can be found on the website then I guess I don't need the packet.

Thank you very much for your response.

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Wow you're another only child,It feels so good to know I'm not the only one.....there seems to be quite a few on here!

Not foolish at all to worry about grief groups Spika.my Mom wanted me to go to a 12week one with her last year.....I didn't want to but said I'd go with her the first week to see.let me tell you I got so agitated the days leading up to it,i was petrified,didn't know what to expect,didnt want to go talk in a group with strangers.

So the first night my Mom had got a call from a close friend inviting her to her house.....my Mom enjoys those nights and wasn't seeing much Of her friend at the time because she was caring for her sister who was dying of cancer.so my mom jumped at the chance to call to her.she said shed skip the grief group and go the following week. I was fuming,I had been so worried about it I decided to just go myself anyways.....I simply couldn't take another week of worrying. I was angry going to it,thinking this should just be a regular night where I meet friends not having to live the nightmare of my Dad being gone.

Somehow I got the strength to walk right in there,shaking from head to toe. I was so glad I went after and Mom and me went for all 12weeks.

What was so good was sitting face to face and hearing other peoples feelings,fears etc and realising someone else in my city could relate to me and vice versa.I'd been on this site almost a year and it has been and still is my lifeline.but there was something extra being face to face with someone......having your feelings validated in person.my mom and I even kept in touch one lady and have been to her house,met up a few times and it just confirms that everything we feel is so so normal,altho it can feel like your losing your mind.

So that was my experience and Ive seen others here feel similar.....of course it's daunting doing something like this. You will do it when the time is right for you,when you feel like you can do it. I just hope my story can lessen your fear a tiny little bit.

I'm sorry work is so hard,I can't even imagine the gap left not having your Dad there.i didn't work with mine but I miss the little things like his calls for tech support,his email jokes,sending him jokes.....my heart still skips a beat when I get a joke I would have sent to him. I used to get impatient sometimes trying to help him with computer stuff.....and he would hear the frustration in me......now I'd give anything to spend the rest of my life on the phone giving him tech support!!

Baby steps for everything Spika......what we did without thinking before can now take so much energy physically and mentally so don't be hard on yourself .....and know that just getting out of bed and going to work is HUGE and you should be proud of yourself as I'm sure your Dad is.

It's like living on a highspeed 1million mile high roller coaster Spika....I can go for days without crying,I'm always sad but then sometimes out of nowhere the tears can come,without anything triggering it.for me this often happens in my car .....or in bed at night I've had times where it feels like I will burst open the pain and loneliness gets so bad. I don't like saying it gets easier....that I dont believe but I think we learn to live with it,learn to go with the flow of the chaos we deal with.

If it hadn't been for this site and the beautiful kind people I really don't know how I could get thru this.

So I'm glad you found your way here. I like to think all ours Dads and Moms brought us here as a way to "help" us,let us know that as alone as we feel in the world some people can relate to some of our feelings.

((big hugs))as always

Niamh

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Its nice to hear about successful stories of group support. It seems daunting to make myself so vulnerable to a set of faces I don't know. Which is strange... you have a face, and I know there are lots of faces who might read what I write. Yet when I come here and bear all, my heart isn't grasped with an iron fist of uneasiness.

You used to give your dad tech support and mine used to give me the tech support. He used to do a lot of things. Any time I needed help he would try and try - and even if he didn't know what to do - he would try until he fixed it or found a solution. He was so determined. He used to tell me, “never say you ‘can’t do something’ because you can always do whatever you put your mind to.” Gosh, I hate talking like that... everything in the past tense. When he was alive I never said things like, “remember when... you did this for me?” Maybe I should have so it wouldn’t be so hard to talk about now. I always felt so appreciative… like I could go to him for anything, but now I feel like I didn’t tell him how grateful I was.

I tried to express it in the final days but I didn’t ever think he would really die. I wonder, did I do it enough? They said, “3-5 days”, so I knew, but it never truly hit home until it happened. He was really invincible in my eyes. Then, in the final days I don’t know if he even heard, I think he was in a coma although I have no idea and no one told us if he was or not. I never thought about asking either, it was enough when they said, “it looks like he is very comfortable”. Now I wish I knew. They said, a coma could happen, but I never knew for sure. I talked to him though even though he didn’t respond. They said hearing was the last of the senses to leave.

Sorry I didn’t intend on talking about it, and I’m sorry if this is hard for anyone to read. Naimh, I know you said not to worry about what other people think! But I just don’t want anyone to read this and feel as badly as I do right now.

Niamh, you also said it was like a rollercoaster. I have never been so mad, then sad, then apathetic, then panicky, then mad again. I get so annoyed with people at work when they come up to me and just say, “Are you better?” To them it might seem like a caring statement but it makes me so angry. It’s like they expect me to suddenly be my old self again, like they don’t realize that a part of me died with my dad. I feel like I will NEVER again be the person I was, and it is unfair to ask me something like that. I want to say, “What do you mean am I better, do you see my father walking around? Leave me alone.” But I realize that is rude and I have to be nice, so I hold my tongue. At least 3 people have asked me that though and I grow more tired of it each time.

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Its nice to hear about successful stories of group support. It seems daunting to make myself so vulnerable to a set of faces I don't know. Which is strange... you have a face, and I know there are lots of faces who might read what I write.

Yet when I come here and bear all, my heart isn't grasped with an iron fist of uneasiness.

I've always been introverted and extremely shy, so I've never felt comfortable opening up to people, especially ones I don't know (at least in person; I feel more secure in opening up to strangers on the internet).

I'm not against group therapy.

Do consider joining a grief support group if you think it might help you (there are free ones that meet in churches around the country, for example), but I'd also caution people about this kind of thing.

I was a very codependent person for most of my life, which means I was a door mat, I allowed other people to take advantage of me, I was afraid to say "no" to people, and to stand up for myself. It was very easy for mean or abusive people to take advantage of me.

The problem is, if you're a super nice, trusting person and you reveal too much about yourself to people you don't know very well, you open yourself up to being taken advantage of by con artists, the users, emotionally abusive types, and manipulators.

There are, I am sad to say, people out there who prey on weak, hurting, sensitive, very nice, vulnerable people, so you have to be really careful how much of yourself you share with other people.

If you do join a group of any sort, (or just open up to a new person outside a group setting), be careful what you share with them, and how much you share, and how fast.

Not everyone out there has your best interest at heart.

Some people are dishonest and looking to rip you off in one fashion or another.

At the very least...

I did not realize this until after my mother died, but when I tried talking to other people about how much pain I was in because I missed my Mom, lots of other people (even my fellow Christians, shockingly) view that sort of openness as an excuse, or opportunity, to judge you and criticize you.

A lot of people think that if you open up to them and share your most intimate secrets, pain, etc. with them, that this entitles them to give you advice, tell you how to live your life, or to judge you.

And I don't think there are very many things more painful in life than opening up to a person (especially one you've not known long), looking for support / encouragement/ compassion, but instead you get betrayed by being criticized or judged.

I've had that happen more often than not since my Mom died.

When I've tried sharing with new people (or even a few I've known for years) about how much I hurt, they have criticized me, or coldly dismissed me, by telling me to "stop thinking about yourself so much!" (in a nasty tone of voice), and "go volunteer at a soup kitchen," etc, and similar things.

Most people have not been willing to simply sit and listen to me talk about what I'm going through, to put their arm around me as I cry, and just tell me they love me.

So think long and hard before you join support groups, or before you open up to others about what you're going through, because there is a danger and a possibility that they will use that as an excuse to insult you, give you advice, or to judge you.

I don't know why people do that, but they do - and I think it's disgusting.

I've never done that myself when friends/family approached me hurting and wanting compassion, so I'm even more puzzled why other people do it to me or to others. But they do it.

So the next time you open up to someone else and tell them the pain you're in, do prepare yourself to receive less than loving and compassionate replies.

You said,

I get so annoyed with people at work when they come up to me and just say, “Are you better?” To them it might seem like a caring statement but it makes me so angry.

It’s like they expect me to suddenly be my old self again, like they don’t realize that a part of me died with my dad.

I feel like I will NEVER again be the person I was, and it is unfair to ask me something like that. I want to say, “What do you mean am I better, do you see my father walking around? Leave me alone.”

But I realize that is rude and I have to be nice, so I hold my tongue. At least 3 people have asked me that though and I grow more tired of it each time.

There is nothing rude or wrong with politely or firmly speaking up and telling people when something they say something that hurts, angers, annoys, or bothers you.

It's okay (and not rude) to tell someone plainly, "That comment you made bothered me/ offended me/ hurt me."

When you are honest with people that something they've done or said upset you, yes, they might get hurt, defensive, or angry about it, but their reaction is not your responsibility.

There is absolutely nothing wrong or rude with telling people (and educating them to boot, by saying something like),

"I appreciate your concern, but you do realize that most people take two years, or sometimes longer, to recover from grief, so to ask me only two weeks/months later, 'are you okay, are you better yet' is very premature, and it actually makes me feel worse."

(You could also then tell them what they CAN do or say to help you with your grief, such as,

"It would really help me if instead of saying, "Are you okay yet," if you would take me out to lunch once a week and just let me talk about my dad, without passing judgment or giving advice, just listen to me talk about my grief." )

You don't have to be mean, rude, use insults, or use vulgar language when confronting people and telling them their words or actions bother you.

You said,

I will try to use your advice about not caring what other people think.
To care too much about what others think about you or your life, and building your life around their opinions, expectations, or fear of angering them or hurting them, is a sign of codependency, and that is not healthy for you.

You might want to see this page:

52 Traits of a Chronic People Pleaser (Codependent)

If you recognize yourself on that list of 52 traits, you might want to consider reading books about how to overcome codependency ('people pleasing'), and there are many free, online articles with advice, such as

21 Tips To Stop Being a People Pleaser

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I'm so sorry to learn of your negative experiences with groups, Raindrop, but I would be remiss if I did not address your comments about grief support groups. Accordingly, I am reprinting here a message I posted in one of these forums three years ago, in September 2008:

If you type the words "support group" into our site's search engine, you will be led to dozens of other posts on this very topic, which is a good indicator of how many differing opinions you will find. As others accurately point out, whether a support group would be helpful to you depends on many different factors, including your own needs and expectations, the purpose and composition of the group, and the skills of the group facilitator.

Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote,

A knowledge that another has felt as we have felt, and seen things not much otherwise than we have seen them, will continue to the end to be one of life's choicest blessings.

It has been my experience as a grief counselor that effective grief work is not done alone, and whether we connect with others in person or online, I believe that support groups are invaluable. When we've lost a loved one, we need to connect with others who understand what grief is, who've suffered a similar loss, and who know what our sorrow feels like. At a time when it may be difficult for us to feel comfortable in the usual social settings, support groups give us a safe place to interact with others. Here we can express feelings without fear of being judged, and ask questions and get responses from others whose experiences may be similar to our own. These others listen willingly, and they share their stories of loss with us also. No one knows the pain of loss as well as someone else who is experiencing it, too. It's also very reassuring to learn that what we are going through is normal.

Working our way through grief is some of the hardest work we will ever have to do, but realizing that we don't have to do it all by ourselves can be life-affirming. One of the saddest realities about losing a loved one, whether that is a person or a cherished animal companion, is that friends and family members tend to be finished with our grief long before we are done with our own need to talk about it. That's why it's so important that we find understanding, non-judgmental listeners with whom we can openly acknowledge our reactions and experiences, express and work through our pain, and come to terms with what has happened to us.

Another benefit is that by sharing our loss and pain, we help one another. Eventually we find ourselves on the giving end of this compassion, reaching out through our own woundedness to the newly bereaved, helping them along, listening to them and offering them the hope that, just as we have survived our own losses, they will survive theirs also. Together, stumbling along the way and reaching out for help, pausing to offer comfort and walking on together, we can complete our journey. In the process, we learn to love and to be loved much more fully. It is one of the great lessons of loss.

I'd also like to draw your attention to the posts in this particular thread:

Group Therapy, Trying to Decide

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I'm so sorry to learn of your negative experiences with groups, Raindrop, but I would be remiss if I did not address your comments about grief support groups. Accordingly, I am reprinting here a message I posted in one of these forums three years ago, in September 2008:

If you type the words "support group" into our site's search engine, you will be led to dozens of other posts on this very topic, which is a good indicator of how many differing opinions you will find. As others accurately point out, whether a support group would be helpful to you depends on many different factors, including your own needs and expectations, the purpose and composition of the group, and the skills of the group facilitator.

... I'd also like to draw your attention to the posts in this particular thread:

Group Therapy, Trying to Decide

Thank you for the links, and I did look at the one thread.

As I was saying to her in my last post, I was not discouraging her altogether from trying grief groups, I was only giving a word of caution about sharing.

You simply cannot trust everyone out there, whether they are in groups or not.

Some people are dishonest and users, and they actively seek out vulnerable people to take advantage of and to abuse physically, emotionally, and / or financially.

Still other people, when you open up to them and tell them your personal problems, believe this entitles them, and gives them a right, to pass judgment on you, or to be critical of you.

Those are the dangers you risk when you open up to people and tell them about your problems and pain, whether in a group setting, or one-on-one.

I wish everyone out there was loving, altruistic, supportive, empathetic, and genuinely caring when you tell them about your problems or your grief, but sadly, that is not the reality most of the time.

But if she thinks a grief support group might work for her, she really should give it a try. If it does not work out, she can always leave. :)

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I understand the point you were trying to make, and I agree with you ~ If a support group doesn't feel right, certainly you are always free to leave.

I'd like to suggest another article that might be helpful, entitled Grief Support Group Didn't Help ~ Now What?

See also

Finding Grief Support Online

Finding Reliable Grief Information and Support on the Internet

Are You Reluctant to Seek Counseling for Grief?

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Raindrop- Thank you for cautioning me about grief support groups. I think it is important to know both experiences whether they are good or bad so I can go into it with a good mindset. What you said made a lot of sense… and I think that is why I don't open up to very many people in real life and maybe that is why I am afraid to put myself out there and go to a support group. I have had my fair share of opening up too much and having it come back to me and smack me in the face. I still haven't gone but I think I should make it a goal.

MartyT- Thank you also for your links, I found them very helpful and informative, especially the article “Are you reluctant to seek counseling for grief?” I do feel like I could be doing myself a favor by going. I see my mom and I don’t know if she has ever handled her grief. I do know that she has built up emotional walls and I wonder if it is because she never dealt\deals with her grief. I do not want to take that risk. So, no matter how scared I am, I know I should go.

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