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  • Shared Experiences

    Depression following spinal cord injury and deaths in family

    Feeling really low.
    Had a spontaneous disc prolapse in July 2007. This caused spinal cord to be compromised, and although not a complete paraplegia, it has altered my life immensely.
    Pain 24/7 endless, feeling guilty as many dont get the chance to walk again as I have, but the end result of walking is more pain…
    Then my son was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, in 2008, resulting in chemo, radiotherapy at the ripe old age of 28. Remission so far..omg hope it stays that way
    Then the loss of my mum in 2010, my first grandchild died the day he was born in 2011, yes to the son who had Hodgkins, then my lovely old dad passed away last month Jan 2012.

    Feeling like I am just going through the motions of the day, just doing the same old things, guess what I mean is not finding much happiness anymore.

    Is this normal? Will this feeling pass?
    Just want to smile and be happy again.
    Thanks for listening Sue
    • 1 comment
    • Dr Andrew McNess
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Dr Andrew McNess

    Social Worker

    Andrew McNess works as volunteer coordinator for The Compassionate Friends Victoria, a peer support organisation providing services to bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents. He has ... View Profile

    Hello Sue. Thank you for posting your questions and I hope you are doing okay in what would be very difficult circumstances.

    Yes, “going through the motions”, “not finding much happiness anymore” is very much a normal (and difficult) part of grieving, whether it's grief that relates to the death of loved ones or grief relating to health constraints. The emotional and physical demands of grief are often so great that the struggle is just to get through the day.

    There is little time or energy left over for “happiness”. It would be amazing not to feel depleted or lacking in enthusiasm for events and activities you once enjoyed.

    Where these feelings can be a concern is when they are consistent. With grief, there will be difficult days, but typically there can also be good days that help leaven the bad. When the feelings of flatness and disinterest persist over extended periods of time, you may find that seeking out a counsellor (or, if you're lucky, you may already have a very understanding friend) is helpful in providing you the opportunity to speak your thoughts and feelings of grief out loud.

    Articulating thoughts and feelings can be very helpful in terms of gaining some level of understanding of experiences that otherwise (trapped in our minds) can feel confusing and even overwhelming.

    You asked, “Will this feeling pass?”. Through my involvement with bereaved parents and siblings in Compassionate Friends Support Groups, I can say that overwhelmingly the answer is “Yes”. Although I am not speaking for individuals bereaved of parents, I can say that bereaved parents and siblings typically note that the intensity of the emotional pain (and the accompanying physical exhaustion) does lessen over time.

    It sometimes does not happen as quickly as they would like (and that has certainly mirrored my own experience as a bereaved sibling) but it does happen. I think you will find that your interest in life and activities will slowly (but surely) return, and those periods of happiness will get longer again.

    And you have made a very positive step in the first place by asking others about the issues that concern you.

    Best wishes to you.

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