I suffered PTSD after husband passed - don't have family support. Please help.

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 11, 2016
Shattred heart asked...

Husband passed from 11 yrs. of brain cancer. Went through 1 year of private counseling to deal with grief/PTSD. My mother has had surgery n only sibling has convinced her that her n her adult children are dependable, not myself. I have begged to let me be with her, but, all she wants is me to go to church/ lunch with her.These 2 ind. are severe controllers. I was starting to come out of my shell, and was informed, after 1 year of husband passing, because I didn't go to sisters house for all holidays, I am not considered family. Mom tells me I am her family only. I feel like I am getting thrown back into sever depression and can not afford private counseling. PLEASE HELP


Expert Answers

Linda Adler is the director of Pathfinders Medical in Palo Alto, California. She has dedicated her professional life to helping patients and their families find optimal ways to deal with medical challenges. She has worked in all facets of the medical establishment, including primary care, research, and policy settings at UCSF, Stanford, and Kaiser Permanente. Her current focus at Pathfinders includes crisis management, mediation, and advocacy.

Shattered Heart,

You certainly are facing some difficult challenges. My heart goes out to you.

I understand that private counseling is expensive, but it does sound like you need some support. So let's see where else you might find that. First, do you have friends you can turn to? Or perhaps their are members of your extended family that are willing to listen and to help? Or do you belong to a religious community? If so, is there someone there who could help you discuss your feelings?

If there are people who can help you think some of this through, I suggest you lean on them and ask for their help. However, if none of these options is available to you, perhaps you need to do a little research to find out if there are support communities in your area. Perhaps their are grief support groups that are free to the public? Or maybe there is a women's community center in your area? If so, ask if they have support groups you can join. You can also look into counseling options through your local mental health clinic; they usually provide assistance on a sliding scale.

Last, have you thought about joining community groups that meet weekly to do hobbies together, share a meal, or take a hike? Often these kind of groups provide a surprising level of support!

Sometimes depression is nurtured not only by our feelings of isolation, but our inability to find a little joy in our lives. I encourage you to find ways to avoid dwelling on your difficult family situation, and to spend time with people and to do things with them that "feed your soul".

Good luck to you!


Community Answers

Carolyn l. rosenblatt answered...

Dear Shattered Heart, I am so sorry for your loss and the new stress of having so much problem with your mother and her sibling. It must be very upsetting after all the work you did to recover from your grief. I can only suggest that you use every resource offered to you in the previous answer. I can also suggest that you find out whether the controllers are the ones on your mother's legal documents. If so, they can keep you out of the information loop. If not, you have a right to see your mother as much as she wants to see you. I recommend that during the time you do spend with her, that you avoid discussing family relationships. Just be with her and stay in the moment. Your continued presence and willingness to respect her limits of just wanting you to be with her for church and lunch will do all you can do right now to demonstrate your trustworthiness. Be consistent and loving during the time you have and see if you can keep the time focused on her. It will not be easy when you are feeling low yourself. Making that effort with her is a loving thing to do. It will uplift you to keep trying. You can't change your mother or the controlling family members, but you can conduct yourself with dignity in the lunch times you spend with your mother. That is worth doing. And I hope you will honor your own efforts and respect the energy it takes to do what you can with your mom. Value every minute you spend and love yourself for trying.