Losing a loved one is always difficult, but when that loss is due to mental illness, the pain can be especially intense. This blog post will explore my journey of grief after my sister was diagnosed with psychosis and we were no longer able to have a close relationship.
The Diagnosis and Its Aftermath. When my sister was first diagnosed with psychosis, I felt like I had lost her twice—once to the disease itself and once to the stigma surrounding it. Knowing that she was sick made me feel powerless, as if there was nothing more I could do for her. It also made me sad because I knew that our relationship would never be the same; instead of being able to talk and laugh together like we used to, we now had an invisible barrier between us.
Grieving in Silence. Despite feeling immense sadness over my sister’s diagnosis, I didn’t share my feelings with anyone else at first. Instead, I kept them inside, where they festered and eventually turned into guilt and shame. Eventually, however, I realized that suppressing these emotions wasn’t helping me cope or heal; in fact, it was only making things worse. So I decided to reach out for help from a therapist who specialized in bereavement counselling for those grieving loved ones with mental illness.
Finding Hope Again Through Support Groups and Therapy. Talking about my feelings with a professional helped me realize that it was OK to grieve for someone living with psychosis—in fact, it was necessary if I wanted to move forward in life without feeling overwhelmed by sadness or guilt all the time. In addition to seeing a therapist on a regular basis, I also joined support groups specifically for those grieving the loss of a family member or friend due to mental illness. There were other people who had experienced similar losses and could sympathize with what I was going through—a source of comfort which proved invaluable during this difficult time in my life.
Ultimately, learning how to grieve the loss of someone living with psychosis has been an incredibly healing process for me—one that has allowed me to accept what happened while still finding joy in life again. For anyone else struggling through this kind of loss, know that you are not alone in your pain; there are resources available that can help you find peace even amidst great tragedy. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it most; speaking openly about your feelings is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal in overcoming grief and healing from trauma associated with mental illness-related losses.