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Depression or bereavement? or both?! Watch

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    Hi, I'm 19 and studying at university. My dad committed suicide this time last year (a week ago today was the 1 year anniversary). I'm so heartbroken that he did this and feel all sorts of feelings like anger and guilt. It is still really hard to get my head round to accept that he is gone forever and he WANTED that. Since his death I have been coping surprisingly well.. obviously I've had bad bad days and been emotional etc. but in terms of university I carried on and in my second year now. I've been doing well in my uni work and have two part-time jobs. I basically try to keep myself busy to take my mind off things but as soon as I have a day free and want to do NOTHING all day for a break, it's when everything that's been built up emotionally inside of me is let out. I'm all alone in my room at uni and feel as though people don't care about me, i'm feel so angry and don't know how to express. It hurts so much I feel like getting a bottle of wine and getting drunk to ease the pain and to make me feel merry (BUT I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS). I try my best to pull myself out of these moods. I always end up being so harsh on myself making myself feel like a useless person, bad at my jobs, bad friend, bad sister, bad daughter etc. I never think about what is good about me. I'm clinging on to the thought that my future is bright and I can still achieve my dreams despite what has happened. but then I worry and think what if when I become a primary school teacher people think i'm rubbish at teaching? I keep all my real feelings to myself and don't get to express myself. In terms of relationships, I really want a boyfriend just because I'm emotionally damaged.. like I want one to make me feel good about myself as a person, to love me, take care of me, listen to me when i'm sad, be there for, make me happy. I don't think i'm ready to really open up and get close to a boy because i'm so afraid of being hurt. I'm seeing a guy atm but I know it's just sex he cares about not me... but i'm still feeling clingy towards him (although I don't show it).

    I just feel like my life is a mess right now. I loved my dad so much and he had always been there for me and he left me with no goodbye. He raised me and my sister as a single parent since I was 4 as my mum is mentally ill and couldn't look after herself never mind two kids on her own. He was like the 'main' parent, as although I have a good relationship with my mum, things are hard as her illness affects her day to day life.

    Also, when i'm around my friends i get really angry with the fact that their lives are fine and they haven't been through anything seriously bad. I don't wish anything bad on anyone but it's like they don't and never will really understand. I feel so alone and like I just want to escape reality and live a different life.

    Am I just grieving really badly or would this be more serious like depression? I am having counselling for my bereavement but this doesn't stop my bad times and I don't tell my counselling exactly what i think and feel.. it's like i want to deny the idea of potentially being depressed because my dad was and because I don't want to get diagnosed with it and have it on my medical records as it can risk my chances of working with children in the future. I want to be a primary school teacher and I know sometimes on job applications for a job with kids they ask if you have ever suffered from depression. I don't want to this to affect my future career prospects.

    any help or advice on how to cope with such bad feeling would be great or if you just want to share your experiences/feeling that would be great too. Thanks for reading my long rant!
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    Mmmmmm sorry to hear what you've been through [s]hugs[s] To me it does sound like depression for sure- that level of negativity is sure sign. If you need someone to talk to, feel free to inbox me.
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    I am so sorry to hear this. :hugs: You've been through a lot, and I think it's incredible that you're studying well at uni and also have two part-time jobs.

    I also think it's good that you're able to express yourself, if only a little bit, in this thread. I can also understand where you're coming from about not being able to open up with a counsellor - I had the same problem, as I'm a very private person, and often felt that I would somehow appear weak if I revealed my inner thoughts to a complete stranger.

    I can't say whether this is depression or not, I think the best person to judge that would be your GP. I know you've mentioned that you worry about depression stopping you working with children, but I imagine there are many teachers out there who suffer from some form of mental illness and are able to hold their jobs. Mental health illnesses are universal, and they can be treated. People go on to live wonderful lives after suffering from such horrific illnesses and going through trauma. Speaking from experience, I was told by a number of health care professionals that there would be nothing wrong with me working in a hospital with vulnerable patients while suffering from depression, as long as I was receiving treatment. I hope someone who has more knowledge about working in education can give you some equally helpful advice about that.

    But it seems that despite coping well with uni and work, you are having a pretty difficult time with your thoughts. It might be worth going to your GP, if you can't open up with a counsellor. I guess even just saying that you're not coping well, and that you can't express your feelings to a counsellor would be enough to say to the doctor, and hopefully he'll be able to provide some support.

    Finally, I don't know if this will help in anyway, but my psychiatrist often gave me a number of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy websites, to work through:

    http://www.llttf.com/

    I don't know if it'll help you in any way, but I feel the same way as you do a lot of the time, about not being good enough and having low self-esteem.
    I really hope that you manage to find some relief, hopefully through your GP if not your counsellor. Everything I have posted here may be utterly useless to you as well, but please PM me if you want to talk. You say you cannot open up to your counsellor etc, but I think even opening up through a PM or on a thread can be help express everything that is locked up inside. :hugs:
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    Thank you all so much for the supportive replies.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Hi, I'm 19 and studying at university. My dad committed suicide this time last year (a week ago today was the 1 year anniversary). I'm so heartbroken that he did this and feel all sorts of feelings like anger and guilt. It is still really hard to get my head round to accept that he is gone forever and he WANTED that. Since his death I have been coping surprisingly well.. obviously I've had bad bad days and been emotional etc. but in terms of university I carried on and in my second year now. I've been doing well in my uni work and have two part-time jobs. I basically try to keep myself busy to take my mind off things but as soon as I have a day free and want to do NOTHING all day for a break, it's when everything that's been built up emotionally inside of me is let out. I'm all alone in my room at uni and feel as though people don't care about me, i'm feel so angry and don't know how to express. It hurts so much I feel like getting a bottle of wine and getting drunk to ease the pain and to make me feel merry (BUT I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS). I try my best to pull myself out of these moods. I always end up being so harsh on myself making myself feel like a useless person, bad at my jobs, bad friend, bad sister, bad daughter etc. I never think about what is good about me. I'm clinging on to the thought that my future is bright and I can still achieve my dreams despite what has happened. but then I worry and think what if when I become a primary school teacher people think i'm rubbish at teaching? I keep all my real feelings to myself and don't get to express myself. In terms of relationships, I really want a boyfriend just because I'm emotionally damaged.. like I want one to make me feel good about myself as a person, to love me, take care of me, listen to me when i'm sad, be there for, make me happy. I don't think i'm ready to really open up and get close to a boy because i'm so afraid of being hurt. I'm seeing a guy atm but I know it's just sex he cares about not me... but i'm still feeling clingy towards him (although I don't show it).

    I just feel like my life is a mess right now. I loved my dad so much and he had always been there for me and he left me with no goodbye. He raised me and my sister as a single parent since I was 4 as my mum is mentally ill and couldn't look after herself never mind two kids on her own. He was like the 'main' parent, as although I have a good relationship with my mum, things are hard as her illness affects her day to day life.

    Also, when i'm around my friends i get really angry with the fact that their lives are fine and they haven't been through anything seriously bad. I don't wish anything bad on anyone but it's like they don't and never will really understand. I feel so alone and like I just want to escape reality and live a different life.

    Am I just grieving really badly or would this be more serious like depression? I am having counselling for my bereavement but this doesn't stop my bad times and I don't tell my counselling exactly what i think and feel.. it's like i want to deny the idea of potentially being depressed because my dad was and because I don't want to get diagnosed with it and have it on my medical records as it can risk my chances of working with children in the future. I want to be a primary school teacher and I know sometimes on job applications for a job with kids they ask if you have ever suffered from depression. I don't want to this to affect my future career prospects.

    any help or advice on how to cope with such bad feeling would be great or if you just want to share your experiences/feeling that would be great too. Thanks for reading my long rant!
    It's good that you are keeping yourself busy as there's nothing worse than having nothing to do when you are depressed because that is when your mood will just plummet. It's perfectly natural for people who have suffered a bereavement to develop depression. I've had Depression for ten years since my dad died and I also lost my step dad and had a few other things happen in my life which contributed to it.

    I'm so glad you haven't turned to drink as that is what I did. I used alcohol as a crutch for a long time and it just made me worse. Alcohol is a depressant and my thoughts have become very suicidal the last couple of times I have been drunk so I'm trying very hard to stay teetotal now.

    You have a typical depressed way of thinking (like me) which is a black and white/all or nothing type of thinking. For example, you said you are a bad worker/friend/sister e.t.c. No one is bad all of the time, you do have some good qualities. It's hard to consider alternatives/other options when you are depressed because your body is in survival mode. You tend to think emotionally rather than rationally when you are depressed and it said the ratio of emotion to logic is 24:1. A great book to read is 'How to lift Depression fast' which is published by Human Givens. My doctor recommended it to me and it's a really useful book. Another relevant book is 'Emotional Intelligence' by Daniel Goleman.

    A boyfriend will not make you feel good about yourself. It may make you feel good in the short term but it won't in the long term. The only person who can make you feel good about yourself is you. Never rely on other people for your feelings of self-worth and never become outcome-dependent i.e. I will feel better if X happens. You need to work on the inside and not the outside.

    As for friends not understanding because they haven't been through what you have, there are actually chairties out there who support people who have been bereaved through suicide, I would strongly recommend contacting one as the people there will share similar experiences to yourself and will be able to advise you from their own experience.

    It does sound like you have Depression. If you go to the doctors or any mental health professional for that matter, it's very likely they will give you a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ9) to fill in which is a tool for assessing how depressed you are. You can Google it and download a copy for free and assess yourself.

    I would always recommend going to a doctor (took me ten years to go to one) as the lone wolf approach didn't work in my case and if you've felt like this for a year then it's pretty long term. As another poster pointed out, having Depression may not necessarily be a barrier to your future career as Depression is pretty common these days. Whinston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln and Marie Curie all suffered from Depression.

    If you don't wish to go to a doctor then you can try the self-help approach. The self-help approach kept me ticking over for ten years but I crumbled at the end of last year/beginning of this year and got professional help (I'm currently on medication and I was referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy however I was discharged after my third session as my therapist said she can no longer help me as I had already worked things out for myself on a self-help basis.)

    There are loads of self-help books out there. The NHS has a books on prescription service with recommended books for overcoming Depression. If you want to do it under the radar you can just Google the reading list and buy the books off Amazon or get them from your local library without getting them through the NHS.

    Finally, if you are not disclosing things to your counsellor and expressing yourself honestly, then it's never going to work so you might as well end it.
 
 
 
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