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Reliving traumatic event every night

  • 15-01-2021 2:54pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    My mam passed away in summer of 2020 from cancer. Its been an extremely difficult time for the whole family as she was still quite young and it was devastating to watch.
    Overall I would say I am coping ok, we were very close and I miss her desperately, but I talk about her loads to my partner, friends and family and I take peace in that she is no longer suffering. We spent a lot of time together in her last few months and I am so glad for that.

    However I find myself reliving the days around her death and her death itself every single night, the second I close my eyes and its really affecting me. Losing a love one to cancer is terrifying and traumatic and it really is something that nobody speaks about or prepares you for. I think it must be some kind of PTSD and my mind is trying to come to terms with everything that happened but Its taking me hours to get to sleep and its upsetting to relive it. I also have nightmares about it but this isn't happening as frequently now.

    Does anyone have any advice or tips on how to train my thoughts away from this trauma, particularly when I'm trying to relax and fall asleep? Thanks in advance


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,208 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    First of all, OP, I'm very sorry for your loss.
    I am glad that you have good memories, and hopefully as time moves on, they will become an even greater comfort to you.

    Bereavement counselling would probably be helpful to you.

    There's some useful guidance in the attached link also, that might help.

    Most of all, take care, keep talking to your partner, family and friends.
    All the best.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,149 ✭✭✭vixdname

    My dad died rather suddenly of esophageal cancer in 2017, I was with him when he took a turn and within 1.5 hours irrespective of all the effort the paramedics put in, he passed away in front of me.

    I too had my mind replaying over and over again the events that unfolded that day, and this went on for a long time, but, eventually it gets less often and eventually it stops.

    Its like the mind is trying desperately to make sense of whats happened but there is no sense to it, its like youve had that person in your life since the day you were born and theyve been a constant ever since and all of a sudden theyre jut......gone.

    Its a hard thing to quantify or grasp but the reliving is a very natural thing the mind does and Im sure it serves a purpose.

    If youre finding it hard to sleep and its affecting your daily life Id suggest taking to your GP and that can be resolved with a little intervention.

    I found talking to a councillor and letting it all out very helpful, Id suggest maybe you take that step and unload all of what youre feeling, cry, sob, whatever you need to do, just do it.

    People tell you you get over it with time, thats not entirely true, you learn to live with whats happened and you dont allow it to take over your everyday life but you never forget that loved one.

    I hope this helps even just a little.l

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,442 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    Sorry for your loss, I saw this earlier and thought you might want to read it, it might help whenever you're ready

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    I'm sorry for your loss. My mother died a few years ago and it remains the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with.

    I think it's time you sought out a counsellor to help you deal with this. For a while after my mother died I was fairly OK. She had suffered from a long, debilitating illness in the run up to her death and that was so very hard to watch. When she died, I was heartbroken but my overwhelming feeling was one of relief. She was no longer suffering and that was the most important thing.

    After that phase passed, my brain sort of unpacked all the emotions I had kept damped down in order to keep going. I got sadder and sadder and started bawling my eyes out every day. So many things started triggering memories of her and it got too much to bear. I had those weird dreams as well. My job offers a free employee assistance service so I was able to access a counsellor. She was really good and I found it helpful. Even if I hadn't been able to get these sessions for free I'd have paid for them because things had gone too far.

    The thinking now is that you don't get over the death of a loved one but you find a way of living with it. I found this short film on the BBC's website made a lot of sense, if you're interested in giving it a look (I hope it's OK to share a link)