Strong or Weak

I want to be strong about my parent’s death but it is hard. Does this make me weak?

Not at all. Part of being strong is learning how to share your feelings with other people, learning to trust others, and understanding that it can be okay to be vulnerable. Though it seems contradictory, being able to cry with another person, or tell another that you are having a hard time coping, can be signs of a strong person.

Even if you are getting the message that you need to quickly get over what has happened by holding your feelings inside, while avoiding or denying them, this may not help you heal from this pain. Yes, time will help, but only if that time is used to proactively deal with the grief you are experiencing.

It is extremely important that you identify people who you can trust, to talk to about what’s going on with you. This may be a school counselor, friend, sibling, psychologist, your surviving parent, a relative, a family friend, or someone else. When you talk to them, don’t assume that you have to start talking about your loss right away, or at all. Your loss will affect many other aspects of your life, and it is important to talk about those too. Talk about school, friends, relationships, your family; anything just to get stuff inside of your head and your heart out into the open. The effort required to trust another person will more than pay off in the relief you feel. The other person will probably be grateful that you are allowing them the opportunity to help you and care about you, that you are letting them into your world at a time when many people in your life may feel that they want to help but don’t know how. The emotional stuff you are dealing with has to come out somehow, and if that isn’t through talking, it can be expressed in unhealthy ways like over sleeping or eating, doing poorly in school, isolating, using drugs or alcohol, or finding other ways to escape your feelings.

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