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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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29 y/o son dead in bed.....worked in anti terrorism. Had death fears...cause of death poss

Customer Question

29 y/o son dead in bed.....worked in anti terrorism. Had death fears...cause of death poss. Poisoning" I found his body.
Authorities will not disclose info.worked with govmt. Agencies.
Have flashbacks finding body cannot stop grieving.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you are experiencing complicated and traumatic grief and possible PTSD because of the way you found your son and the way he died. It does not sound like this was a natural death and anytime that occurs, you can experience an extreme response.

And it also sounds like there might have been anti terrorism involved, which just on it's own usually brings PTSD issues due to the heightened state someone needs to be in and the secretive nature of the work.

Flashbacks are like being in the actual situation. The trauma occurred to your whole body. You were involved physically, mentally and emotionally in trying to deal with what was happening to you and what you were seeing. That involves an enormous amount of energy. When you have the flashbacks, it is like being there all over again and using that energy again.
Flashbacks are your mind's way of replaying the trauma to help you cope with it. One way you can work on eliminating the flashbacks is to acknowledge and accept what happened. This is not easy, but letting yourself see that you could not control what happened and letting go can help.

Your mind keeps bringing the situation up and putting the incident in front of you to say "this needs your attention." By fully acknowledging it and exploring your feelings around it, you pay it the attention it needs and your mind can let go.

You may want to consider a journal about the flashbacks. It makes it easier to put what happens on paper so it seems more real and you can go back and work with what you wrote. It may also help you pick out details that you may forget about but are important to your recovery.

Therapy is a good option to help you learn to cope and provide an opportunity to have support through the grieving process. It may take longer because of the complications of the situation and therefore more severe symptoms. If you feel therapy is not helping at all, you may need to try another therapist. Sometimes it is just a matter of finding the right person to help you work through your feelings.

You also may want to use support groups and self help to intensify your recovery work. Learning more about the grief process and how PTSD can affect you can help you get a better understanding of your symptoms and how work through them better. And sharing your grief can make you heal faster. Here are some resources to help:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm

Getting Back to Life When Grief Won't Heal by Phyllis Kosminsky

The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX almost 8 yrs. I am improving and have tried all your suggestions.
No one will tell me who did it and why" That is makingmy anger and suffering relentless.
Compassionate friends was a enormous help....but although the grief is improving, the " suffering" is everlasting"
What's left for metro cope with the in capable?
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

It sounds like you might have developed depression and may be stuck there. It happens sometimes with grief, and it is more common when there are unanswerable questions about a death or situation. It is not easy to let go when you have unanswered questions. Your mind can get stuck on wanting to know those answers and staying back with the grief and PTSD, leaving you unable to move forward.

 

You may always feel grief over what happened to your son. But you should not have to live with suffering that feels relentless. What may help at this point if you have not tried it, is medications. Some mild anti depressants can help change your brain chemistry enough to trigger more recovery. Also, in therapy, working on changing your thought process. Accepting that you will not have answers to your son's death and working to change the thoughts that keep you feeling distressed can help you move on. For example, when those thoughts come up, you can develop a saying such as, "I know this hurts and I may never have answers, but that is ok. I can let go". Also, thoughts about your son being at peace can help as well. Repeating that to yourself may take a while, but it can help you accept and move on.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much for the rating and bonus. I really appreciate it.

I am sorry for your loss. If I can help in any other way, please let me know.

Kate

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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Mental Health Professional
5559 Satisfied Customers
Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.