I need help dealing with my emotions. I’m not used to this. I lost my dad in November last year to suicide and I’m having trouble dealing with what I feel. He was the only person I could speak to about anything. Now I find myself bottling things in to the extent where it’s affecting my relationship with my girlfriend. And I’m having trouble finding myself again. Please help.
Hi Vaughn –
I am so horribly sorry. Losing a parent to suicide is one of the most painful experiences I can imagine. Losing a parent is always awful, but knowing that he chose this path will hurt forever.
I want, though, to push one very important fact onto you about this. All beings, whether dogs, humans, or ants, instinctively want to keep alive. It’s one of our most basic urges. So for anyone to choose the other direction means something was horribly wrong.
Sometimes it can be a rational choice – such as when a person is in severe chronic pain with no hope of recovery, and chooses to put themselves and their loved ones out of the misery of their slow painful decline. But most often suicide comes from a state of major depression, where the person’s mind convinces them that there’s no way to achieve any happiness or meaning, and the best solution is to end their lives.
Depression is a horrible liar. It will tell a person that they have no hope, when there are many possible solutions to whatever’s going on. And worst of all, it will shut off their awareness of their worth to others, and others’ worth to them.
If this was the case with your father, he didn’t kill himself despite his love for you and yours for him; Depression made him completely unaware of those giant beautiful facts. It’s just that evil.
I knew a man who killed himself because he was incredibly stressed, as his business had fallen on bad times and he had been accused of stealing money from it. After his death, he was found innocent – he hadn’t stolen anything, and the evidence was clear that he hadn’t. And in his case, he left behind a loving wife and adorable little daughter, who will never get over this.
Another way of looking at this is that he didn’t kill himself. Depression murdered him.
I’m bringing all this up, Vaughn, because you are related to him, and Major Depressive Disorder is often a biologically inherited trait. And you’re telling me that you’re bottling up all your feelings, that your dad was the only one you could talk with, that you’re having trouble dealing with your feelings, and that your relationship is struggling. These are all worrying signs to me!
My friend, I will be glad to help you in any way I can. But I URGE you to find and hire a good therapist. Someone with the education to work with your current grief and the possibility that someday you might develop Depression. It might be a professional psychologist or a counselor at work, or someone at your place of worship… all that matters to me is that they are kind and have training in this.
My friend, I can’t stress this enough: what you have gone through, and are going through, is too much for anyone to handle on their own. Asking for help at a time like this is not weakness; it’s intelligence.
If your father could talk right now, I know that he’d agree with me. He’d want you to do anything you can to feel better and lead a happier life. Happier than his.
And please, if there’s anything else I can help with, let me know.
All my very very best to you,