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Is this "normal"? When will "I" come back?
An_241700 posted:
I lost my father very unexpectedly in May. He was in excellent health, had a massive stroke, and passed away four days later, after never regaining conciousness. Five of our family stayed at the hospital the whole time. It was unbearable, yet strangely, I existed through it. Still today, I feel like I am existing, only. In the chaos, I kept myself from focusing on my feelings by trying to comfort everyone around me. All the while, all I wanted to do was run away from everyone and everything.

My husband, mother, and step-mother have tried to be supportive, but I don't talk to them about what I am feeling. I don't talk to anyone about what I am feeling. It seems like they can't possibly understand and talking about it makes me deal with it, which I know I am avoiding. I even cry in secret, only when I am alone.

And, while I know it is my fault because I am not reaching out to anyone, I feel like everyone around me has forgotten that I am still dealing with his loss. People always ask me how my stepmom is, but never how I am. It's probably just as well though, because I can't speak without choking up when someone does ask me. So, I end up saying nothing again, and just biting my lip until I have a chance to exit the conversation.

It's like I am physically unable to talk to anyone about it. When I do say something to my husband, he just gets quiet and listens because he does not know what to say. It makes me feel like he doesn't want to talk about it because he is uncomfortable, so I just shut down again. My mom gets really sad when I try to open up to her, and I don't want to burden my stepmom. So, I am left just trying to wall-off all my feelings and deal with life as though I am "ok."

I have become iritable, and lack focus. More recently, I recognize that I am experiencing some form of social anxiety for the first time in my life, even around old friends and extended family. Even eye-contact has become difficult during conversation.

Is this normal? Do other people have such major personality changes? Why I am so effected? No one else around me has changed, that I can tell. Is my anxiety likely permanent? Will I ever be "me" again? How can someone like me deal with the grief better, when everything in me, both conciously and subconciously, is trying to do just the opposite?
Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi and welcome to WebMD,

I am not an expert so just consider me someone who has grieved and who has been reading on this community for many years. These are my own thoughts:

Everyone grieves differently and at their own pace. It sounds like those around you haven't forgotten your grief but are trying to respect how you are handling it. You're probably right in that your husband doesn't know what to say but does he need to actually say anything? There's nothing he could say which would help you feel better, but he is listening and that's pretty big.

And others may not be bringing it up for the same reason you're not talking about it to your mother or step-mom.

There is no right or wrong or 'normal' way to grieve and this loss is still fairly new and holidays themselves can make that harder.

But it also sounds like this is getting in the way of your relationships with others and your life (eg. the anxiety) so perhaps some one on one counseling would help you. Having someone really hear you and perhaps offer some guidance could help.

Please consider it.

I am very sorry for your loss.

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