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Strange Behaviors

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After my father passed away, I seemed to be coping with it better than my mom and brother.  But a part of me thinks it was only a facade.  I lost all motivation. I began worse eating habits, which has resulted in weight gain. I seem to have sudden anger and sudden moments of crying.  It's strange. I'm a very happy and optimistic person. I will be completely fine all day but when my mom refuses to buy parchment paper, I blow up. Or when my boyfriend and I are having a disagreement, I put it on my mom.   I'm sure part of this is normal but I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on how to help?  With the sudden bursts of emotion, having absolutely no motivation and eating my feelings.  I mean I am sitting right now and eating M&M's when I've already had lunch and I'm really not hungry.  I have so many emotions and still am in disbelief over his passing that I don't know what to do or think.  I know I have to move on but it is all so different now.  So, any suggestions or advice for these things that I have mentioned?

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Katie, my dear, I've read over all the posts you've made since you joined us on June 9. 

In one of those posts, in responding to another member you said  "The nice thing about being in college?  Free counseling."  Does that mean that you're taking advantage of that free counseling yourself?

In another post about joining this online group, you said  "This is my first time ever participating in anything like this and I'm very nervous and am scared with what emotions and such will come out of it." And in the post above you say you have "so many emotions," "sudden bursts of emotion," and "eating my feelings."  This leads me to wonder whether you do indeed have someone you trust (family member, teacher, close family friend, clergy person, neighbor) who will listen to you without judgment and help you to express and sort through whatever thoughts, emotions and feelings you may be swallowing. 

In yet another post you talked about your mom: "It's hard to let her hurt.  But I know I can't fill the void that his passing has left.  But today is hard for me.  I can't even imagine being her." Clearly you're a good and loving daughter who wants to spare her mother any further pain. While your concern for your mom is commendable and certainly understandable, it's important that you tend to your own grief at the sudden and unexpected death of your father, and allow your mom to tend to her grief at the loss of her husband as well. You each are grieving, but your losses are different from one another. Still, that does not mean that you cannot "be there" for each other in an open, loving way . Sometimes in grieving families everyone ends up working so hard to protect one another that they totally avoid talking about and sharing their own true thoughts and feelings about the death, for fear of "upsetting" other family members. The end result is that everyone suffers in silence! There's an elephant living in the room, but everyone pretends it isn't there.

The irritability, sudden bursts of anger and of crying you describe, along with not feeling like your usual happy, optimistic self, are common in grief. It may help for you to do a little reading about what is normal in grief, so you'll understand why you're feeling the way you do, you'll know better what to expect, and you'll discover what you can do to manage your own reactions. It also helps to share what you're thinking and feeling with a qualified grief counselor, because that person is outside your circle of family and friends, and you don't have to worry about upsetting your counselor by doing so!

Here are some readings to get you started, and be sure to click on some of the articles and resources listed at their bases, too:  

Grief: Understanding The Process

Is Anger One of the Stages of Grief?

 Mourning the Death of a Parent

In Grief: Support Groups vs. Individual Counseling

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Don't be afraid of your feelings, it's all part of grief.  I do hope you have a friend to talk to as well as your counselor.  Sometimes it helps to share your grief with your loved ones, like your mom or brother...yes they have their own, but it'd help them to know they aren't alone in it.

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