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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I start to heal after family tragedy?

    I am looking for any help that I can possibly get.

    I suffer from depression since I was 16 and am now 44, I take anti depressants and see my doctor regularly. A year ago my life went from bad to absolute hell and I need to try to get back up.

    Last October I found out that my oldest brother had been sexually abusing my youngest sister. I was horrified as I was in the next bedroom to him growing up. My younger sister does not want anyone else to find out but my handicapped sister goes and stays with him every 2nd weekend. My youngest brother aged 29 died very suddenly in January this year. He is gay and struggled for years with depression. He tried to kill himself 4 years ago but I helped him and he seemed fine.

    I have fallen out with my family and live in a different country, they wont talk to me as I thought that we should have done something about my oldest brother. My mother has alzheimers, and dad has manic depression, mother doesn't know her son is dead. Please help me
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    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    Wow - it sounds like you are reeling from finding out about the sexual abuse, and unsure how to process and make sense of things. You have also suffered a traumatic loss this year - sometimes more recent traumas can activate feelings about earlier trauma that you have perhaps not had the opportunity to deal with. You may benefit from counselling to help you work through your own feelings about what has happened, and to support you to heal. It's great that you are getting good support from your GP - she or her may be the best place to start when thinking about how to find some counselling that is right for you.

    An additional concern, though, is that your handicapped sister may be at risk of abuse. I wonder if you are able to raise concerns with anyone in the family about this, so that they can ensure she is not being placed in a dangerous situation? 

    All the best.

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