Are You Drowning?Free Access

It’s been eight months since my mom passed from Crohn’s disease. Her final decline happened quickly, but given the countless times she fought for her life and won, her death was harshly unexpected. The feelings of permanency have been deafening and life-changing. My mom, my best friend, is gone forever … and I never got to say goodbye.

The months leading up to my mom’s death were filled with sorrow and pain for my family. My father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and although he fought hard for over a year, he sadly passed in July, just 34 days before my mom.

Losing two parents in one month felt like uncontrollable chaos. It was the destruction of all normalcy at the hands of unmeasurable sadness. It felt like a loss of love, safety, familiarity, and cherished memories of childhood, all in one.

Navigating this deep sea of grief exacerbated my own mental health struggles, developed during a tumultuous and trauma filled childhood and beyond. My sadness also manifested into physical ailments, including losing my hair at an alarming rate for weeks on end. My doctor confirmed it was the result of the grief-stricken reality I had been living in. My body’s nervous system was exhausted and on overload.

It was then I knew I could no longer face these tragedies on my own, and so during the week of my mom’s birthday, I scheduled my first therapy session.

Therapy is one of the best ways to work through any trauma. Working with a therapist helps to validate you, your experiences and your pain. Therapy can help guide you through the processing and releasing of stored emotions in a comfortable space, and provides unbiased feedback with helpful advice.

Even though it’s been a few short weeks with my therapist, the difference I feel both physically and emotionally is astonishing. It no longer feels like I’m drowning every moment in my grief.

Although I recognize it’s a long road to healing and the stages of grief are far from linear, feeling supported and walking through difficult times with someone who knows how to ease the burden can truly make the difference.

It has for me. If you’ve been waiting to get help, this is your sign, because it can for you, too.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is struggling, visit for resources, call 800-950-NAMI, or if in crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741.

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