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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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I lost my husband to lung cancer August 3. How can I stop

Resolved Question:

I lost my husband to lung cancer August 3. How can I stop crying? I'm never going to see him again or feel him.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

I'm terribly sorry for your loss. I'm sure you feel as though your life has come to stand still because of your husband's death. It is clear that the rational and objective side of your brain is telling you that you've mourned enough and you should just stop crying and move on. Yet, the emotional, lonely party of your brain isn't ready to move on yet; because you are still trying to absorb the reality of the loss, understand why it had to happen, etc.

So he has only been gone two months and it is o.k. that you aren't ready to stop crying yet. What I hope you are doing is allowing others to spend time with you so you are not alone with your suffering. I hope you are not isolating yourself. Though you are suffering with this loss, please make sure you reach out each day to a couple of people to talk on the phone, visit, etc.;get out of the house for a snack or lunch with someone. I suspect the evenings are especially difficult for you, so maybe this is the time of day when you need to make sure you are with someone and not alone.

Let me pause here and get your reaction to what I've written so far.

Edited by DoctorMichael on 10/1/2010 at 10:05 PM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We were high school sweethearts; now I'm 61. My life is over. Of course I'm isolating myself -- who would want to spend time with me crying and talking about him? I don't want to depress other people. There's just nowhere to go with this.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
I think that part of you doesn't want to be so isolated. You would love to be able to cry with someone and talk about him because you know that would help you a bit, but as you said, you don't want to impose on anyone because you believe you'd depress them. Frankly, I don't know that this is a sound belief or expectation. If you were my friend or relative for instance, I would want to listen to you and make sure you were not alone, to the extent you wanted me to, for as long as it took. People who care simply do this for one another and certainly don't begrudge it. I can 100% guarantee you that you will recover from this event more quickly if you have a bit of social support and would reach out to others right not. On the other hand, I can understand that you don't want to impose, and perhaps do not want to share your private thoughts and feelings with others.

If you cannot or do not want to impose on people you know and care about, I'd like to ask you to contact a psychologist or social worker to talk to about the emotional state you are in. Here again, I can assure you that you will find it to be very helpful. I'm concerned about your level of depression; are you feeling suicidal at all?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I have a lot of pills I could take but I'm afraid of failing, winding up in some vegetative state and being a burden to others. I don't have the nerve to do anything violent like driving my car into a tree -- leaving a mess for someone else to clean up. So yes, I'm thinking of options.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
Is there any way you could arrange to not be alone this weekend---even if you just stayed with someone and kept to yourself so you felt you weren't imposing?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I really don't want ti be with anyone while I'm still crying and depressed like this.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
What I'd like for you to do then is at least agree that if you feel suicidal, you will call the emergency room of your hospital. Also, I will be on and off this computer all weekend. I'll be on for a time later this evening, tomorrow morning for a time, and then tomorrow evening again. Ditto for Sunday, so I want to make sure you can at least interact in a small way with someone, if you want to.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I live in the middle of nowhere; the emergency room won't help. But I think there's a suicide hotline number or something. I'll Google it. Thank you for your help and concern. I truly appreciate it. I can only take one day at a time right now. It's hard to see a future. Thank you again.

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
I know this is tough. I'm not in your shoes but my mom died about a year ago, so I do know what it may feel like to you. Keep in touch if you would like!
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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