I tried therapy for a few weeks, but it didn’t seem to be helping. I decided that going to a facility to work on my depression and get help for the pain and deep grief I couldn’t seem to get out of was the best possible option. Life couldn’t go on this way—I had to do something. To be honest, I wasn’t that motivated to change. It really took a push from my mom to get me there.
The facility I went to specialized in complex mental illness. I got a personalized treatment plan, which included therapy and antidepressants along with alternative therapies and things like yoga, exercise, and healthy eating.
The most intense work was done in my therapy sessions. Because I was in a residential center, I could work on therapy every day. We talked about adjusting to life without my dad. My therapist also led me through imagined conversations with him.
This was really hard to do. I talked to him about how he died, imagined what it must have felt like, and told him how his loss impacted me. I discovered some things I didn’t realize were going on in my head, like the fact that I felt angry with him. Letting go of that anger really helped, but I never would have found it without the grief therapy.
My therapist also helped me learn and practice coping skills and use them in place of drinking to manage bad moods and negative thoughts. I took up meditation as a useful way to focus on the present and stop ruminating on grief.
And the support of other residents was also immensely helpful. I met other people going through similarly difficult situations. Helping each other helped me.