I Loved My Dad Dearly, But I Cannot Visit His Grave

Carolyn Ravi David Carolyn Ravi David in Life Is Tough on 8 July, 2020

What's it to live with PTSD? For starters, what is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. People suffering from it may have flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event; like literally reliving it again!

Now imagine reliving that day or moment that you hate the most, fear the most or could do anything to stop it from happening. A nightmare, right? Only difference, is that it doesn't end that easily; and believe me, it's not done on purpose. Who would want to do that on purpose anyway?
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You also have to get used to hearing people say; stop thinking/nothing will happen you will get over it once you let go, and many more insensitive lines of advice. This is the reason people don't talk about it openly, because people want to understand only what they go through. Anything other than that seems unacceptable or something that can be changed quickly.

I suffer from it, and there's nothing to be ashamed of. We all fall sick, don't we? All deal with grief differently. Only when you accept it and take the help needed, will you be able to be yourself again, and that includes ignoring the insensitive a**h***s!

I lost my dad all of a sudden. My heart couldn't accept what my brain already knew. I was in denial. I didn't cry for 8 months!

Also, I remember people who had come for the last rites telling me things like- "you are strong", Or "I guess you were not that close to him since you are married and not there in the same house". Seriously? Like, what the hell is that supposed to mean? Did you know that he used to be out working most of the time? Or how often we used to call each other up? Or our bond? Hell no! At least see the time before you open your judgemental little mouths.

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On the other hand my mother and sister cried for days and weeks. They dealt differently. It's 2 years and my mom still cries, and I let her, because I know what happens if you don't. Amongst the three of us, only I'm the one with PTSD.

After 8 months, I lost my grandfather, because he too couldn't cope with my dad's loss. That was when I cried and couldn't stop. The reason was, we had the same burial ground, and when we went there to complete the final rites, I saw my dad's grave again, and that's the time reality hit me hard (my grandfather saved me one last time). That was when I broke out of my bubble of expecting him to come back or call.

After that, life was never the same; sudden anxiety attacks, mild depression (the degree of it varies from person to person), loss of interest, nightmares (I had few) and guilt(wishing I could stop dad from passing somehow). Finally, I was hospitalized on his first death anniversary, for reliving the episode again. Like literally, it felt like the day was happening all over again, and I'm trying to stop it but can't. That affected my vitals, my pulse rate and BP went high, and I had to be hospitalized for a day. After that I have to always carry my SOS tablet, which I need to take if I have a sudden attack.

All these above, sprinkled with insensitive advice and comments. Wow, perfect!

My purpose of sharing this is to tell that it's okay. It's okay if you suffer from PTSD (Or any other mental health related issue). You need to accept and live with it for the sake of the ones you love and who love you.

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Search for that interest or motivation. My daughter means the world to me, and she's the reason that I'm 80 percent back to normal again. No need to rush; I've had relapses, and it's okay. We just need to recognise our triggers and be ready to deal with them, in that way it gives us the upper hand and confidence that we can avoid an anxiety attack. Walk out out uncomfortable conversations, avoid sharing how you really feel with insensitive people, they just make things worse. Find those who really care, and talk to them, go to a therapist (Psychiatrist or counselor), take medication if needed; and do not be ashamed!

Believe me, you can do it. I'm not just saying it, I know it. It's been 2 years for me. I'm almost on no meds now, weaned off my SOS (I still like carrying it with me, gives me security). I have one or two awesome friends (and many who can accept only the happy me, so I give them only the happy side of me. Basically, not my actual friends), a supportive husband and mother, and an amazing 4 year old daughter!

I still haven't gone to my dad's grave, and I won't rush either. I'll do it someday, or maybe not. The only thing that matters is, moving forward.

It would be a lot easier if people try to comprehend the fact that it's not us holding to the past, it's the past holding on to us! If you can't understand us, just smile and let us go. No need to compare. We are not weaker or stronger. The fact is just simple; we all are different!

To those suffering, don't let people get you down. They don't care not will they mourn if you are not around or suffering. The only ones who will suffer are the ones who love and or depend on you.

To everyone else- we all have and will experience loss someday. It's how life is, it has to end someday, gradually or suddenly. You may or may not be ready for what may happen.

But do yourself a favour:

If your heart mourns, just ignore what people have to say or advice, 
your heart will always be the one who knows what's best for you.
So do yourself that favour- and just cry!

Editor's Note:

We need to be able to talk about mental health issues as freely as we do about physical health issues. You may just help someone, in the process by providing a channel.