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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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I am having extreme difficulty dealing with grief. My father

Customer Question

I am having extreme difficulty dealing with grief. My father passed in April and I saw him take his last breath. I cannot get that image out of my head. A few weeks after that my cousin died from colon cancer. Another few weeks passed and my husband informed me that an ex co worker of his killed himself by hanging. I cannot shake that image either and can't stop asking myself why. My mother who we recently moved closer to us was just diagnosed with breast cancer at 76. I have just started on Prozac a week ago. I just cannot stop thinking about death. I am scared
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello, I am very sorry that you are having these symptoms and experiencing this level of grief. The Prozac is going to help you, but it will take a few weeks until you start to notice the benefits of this medication. I would recommend that you enter into Grief Therapy, where most likely you will start to use a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness techniques to help lessen your anxiety and depressive symptoms. CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective, then your symptoms will lessen as well. Here are a couple good CBT techniques that you may find useful.

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

http://psychology.tools/cbt-thought-record.html

In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping to lessen negative type thinking. It can help you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

http://psychology.tools/decatastrophising.html

http://psychology.tools/what-if.html

Also the use of Progressive Muscle Relaxation can be helpful for you to achieve a sense of inner peace and calm that may lessen some of these symptoms of grief from overwhelming you.

http://www.anxietybc.com/sites/default/files/MuscleRelaxation.pdf

Overall, given your level of grief and that it has lasted more than 3 months, I would recommend that you seek out a therapist for one on one therapy as that will be the most beneficial form of treatment for you. Accepting the losses and helping you to move forward would be the goal of such a therapy, but it will take time for you to achieve this goal, so you must be patient with your treatment.

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