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Ask Dr. Z Your Own Question
Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10547
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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looking for someone to talk through a problem with. Anyone

This answer was rated:

looking for someone to talk through a problem with. Anyone here who could chat?

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern today

DoctorZ :

What is on your mind that you would like to talk about?

Customer:

hi there

DoctorZ :

Hello

Customer:

I made an enormous mistake - and Im having trouble dealing with it

DoctorZ :

Okay, well why dont you tell me the whole story then

Customer:

I drove my daughter to school yesterday morning, ran a quick errand - then came home.

Customer:

I didn't use that SUV again all day

Customer:

this morning, I go to the car and I see that my 5 year old corgi (dog) apparently slipped into the vehicle with my daughter yesterday morning - I had NO IDEA

Customer:

he died a horrible death in a hot car

Customer:

I'm overwrought

DoctorZ :

Oh wow I am so sorry for your loss

Customer:

I never heard him - saw him - didn't notice he was missing...

Customer:

I feel so bad.

Customer:

I'm having trouble processing this - did it happen through my negligence? Can I not trust myself anymore?

Customer:

How could this happen?

Customer:

The poor guy - he just wanted to be with us (as always)

Customer:

I feel like a BAD FATHER.

Customer:

Can something this horrible truly be called a "mistake?"

Customer:

I can't see letting myself off the hook on this one

Customer:

I feel like picking a fight, just to get my ass kicked

Customer:

I deserve it (I feel)

Customer:

The shame - the horror... it still seems unreal to me

DoctorZ :

What you are describing is called guilt and self-blame

DoctorZ :

It was an accident and not negligence. Corgi are small dogs and you did not know that the dog was in the car

Customer:

how do I go about dealing with this?

DoctorZ :

The guilt you are feeling a normal feeling when someone is going through grief

Customer:

I've always been horrible with death/loss

Customer:

how do I handle telling my friends what happened?

Customer:

how could they not think less of me?

Customer:

we did not tell my 5 year old daughter how it happened

DoctorZ :

Well you do not have to tell your friends the whole story at this moment, you can calmly say that your dog passed away and that you prefer not to talk about it yet.

DoctorZ :

I understand not telling your daughter, she is young and she does not need to hear about how your dog passed away

Customer:

I feel like I want them to know - so that they can punish me (is that sick?)

Customer:

but, I don't know how that would work in the long run

Customer:

Are there steps for processing grief/loss

DoctorZ :

It is a normal feeling called self-blame and is associated with guilt

Customer:

?

DoctorZ :

Yes there are steps to process it, but it does take time.

DoctorZ :

The first one is to accept the reality of the loss and that this happened as an accident

Customer:

will I ever really feel not-guilty?

DoctorZ :

You can torture yourself and blame yourself because it was an accident

Customer:

reality of the loss is happening slowly ....

DoctorZ :

You will not always feel guilty, but you most likely will still feel some sadness when thinking about the dog's passing

Customer:

of course

DoctorZ :

It will happen very slowly unfortunately

Customer:

is this a wake-up call of some sort? an indicator that my life is simply to busy? too many balls in the air?

Customer:

in a different mind-set, would I have noticed?

DoctorZ :

No I do not think so, this is an unfortunate accident that effected your family greatly.

DoctorZ :

Corgi are very small dogs, so unless you know that they are in there, it is hard to notice them

Customer:

thank you for the kind words

DoctorZ :

I think what you are going through is something called hindsight bias, here is a worksheet for your future reference that describes this more thoroughly

DoctorZ :

Hindsight is often present after a traumatic experience like this

Customer:

big time

Customer:

the clarity can be startling

Customer:

so can the murkiness

DoctorZ :

I understand, it is not pleasant feeling what you are going through

Customer:

ok - one more thing and I'll let you go...

DoctorZ :

Anything, I am here to help you. You can take as long as you need and ask as many questions as you like

Customer:

what should I do with myself tonight? I can't see crying it out... but I don't want to be in public much either

Customer:

feel guilty even watching TV

Customer:

shouldn't be enjoying myself in any way

Customer:

(plenty of crying has been done BTW)

Customer:

I know this sounds trivial - but I'm paralysed but it

Customer:

need to "put it away"

DoctorZ :

Right now you are in a state of grief where you do not want to experience enjoyable activities. This is natural because of what happened and that it happened very recently. If you do not feel the urge to go out, then do not. The first week or two is the hardest.

Customer:

but it = by it

Customer:

ouch - weeks huh?

DoctorZ :

Most individuals will overcome grief on their own and learn to cope with the loss, but it takes time

DoctorZ :

It is a process that gradually gets better, so you will not feel this way for weeks, you will start to feel better everyday

DoctorZ :

But to get to that point may take a week or two for the healing to begin, right now you have to give yourself the time to grieve

Customer:

never been good at that

Customer:

(obviously)

DoctorZ :

I know and this process may take longer for you. Also talking to a therapist in person may help with this process as well

Customer:

thanks for the chat - nice to have a stranger to help me think

DoctorZ :

Or talking with your partner about it too can help vent out a lot of these feelings that you

Customer:

I think I could use therapy for so many reasons - hate affording it though

Customer:

this, however, was very reasonable - for a saturday

DoctorZ :

Actually most therapists work on a sliding scale and can provide lower income individuals with cheaper prices

Customer:

not lower income - just stingy on spending on myself

DoctorZ :

Oh in that case then, you may not be eligible for a sliding scale. But if you are stingy, typically master's level therapists (one's without a doctorate) have cheaper fees

Customer:

ok - it looks like I have some "feeling bad" to do - and some therapists to research eventually

Customer:

thanks for doing what you do.

DoctorZ :

Okay, one more thing...

DoctorZ :

After you accept the loss and experience that pain of the loss, you are going to start accepting your life without your dog and at that time you are going to have to forgive yourself and realize that it was an accident.

DoctorZ :

It will be tough, but it is a crucial step in the process of grief

Customer:

I really hope so - I don't know that I've ever felt this emotionally wrecked - funny how important our pets can be to us, isn't it?

DoctorZ :

Pets are very much apart of the family in every way

Customer:

yeah, where would mankind be without dogs? He deserved a lot better.

Customer:

ok - time to grieve. I'll try and get some traction tomorrow

DoctorZ :

Okay, good luck with everything. And if you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at anytime

Customer:

I might just do that - thanks again.

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am always happy to help

DoctorZ :

I hope I provided you with excellent service today

Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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