Grief doesn’t have a deadline

I’ve thought really long and hard about writing about this, because its raw but i feel like I can maybe help a few people out.

In 2010, very suddenly, I lost my Dad. Aged 60 years 1 months 29 days.

He was, in modern terms, still young.

Now don’t get me wrong, i’d suffered depression before his passing but my inability to process emotions and release them – it sent me into a spiral.

When it happened, I went into a state which was extremely focussed on process. Who needed to be informed, What had to be done, what arrangements needed to be made. From the outside i probably seemed cold, even calculated but in my head their was stuff that needed doing.

Within 24 hours of his passing phone calls had been made, the Undertaker was appointed, we’d picked a venue for the wake and then……their was nothing. Nothing to do. Empty. I withdrew into my own little bubble – i literally have no memory of what i did in the week between it happening and the day of his funeral. I don’t remember anything about the Funeral other than feeling like i’d been hit by a herd of cattle when the hearse arrived.

Soon, i became angry. He’d been in hospital when it happened so obviously, in my mind, they had done something wrong. Someone was going to pay. Looking back i can now see that this was ridiculous, but grief has 5 stages

denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance

I’d denied it, now i was Angry. Whilst their was noone to blame, in my mind it was someones fault, because people don’t just die do they? For reference, rational me knows that this happens 99% of the time, but irrational Pete couldn’t see this.

I was angry at the hospital, i was angry at people who were happy, i was angry that life carried on. Why hadn’t the world stopped? The anger phase, thankfully, didn’t last long.

I never experienced the bargaining phase. I knew that nothing could bring him back.

Which brings us to…..depression. I didn’t realise it, but on and off for 8 years i was carrying around grief fuelled depression. It would pop up at the most random times. Stuff he would have helped me with which he now couldn’t. Times i wanted advice. Fathers Day was horrendous for me because my kids would make me the most wonderful gifts and i just wanted to get the day over with as quickly as i could.

Towards the middle of 2017, things came to a head and I called my Doctor. Enough was Enough.

The doctor was utterly brilliant, got me a referral pretty quickly, and i had a course of therapy which lasted until February 2018. It was hard, it was challenging, but i finally managed to deal with the issues i’d been carrying around.

I have now been able to move to the final stage, acceptance. Will i ever fully get over it? Probably not but the counselling i received has, according to the measures the NHS use, put me in the “recovery” phase. I’m much better able to manage my condition, and i know that in future, should it rear its head again, i know theirs a process i can go through to fix it.

If this resonates with you at all, or you have any questions please get in touch.

About petergarbacz

Blogger, Broadcaster and Mental Health Champion.

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