After losing her sister, this letter writer started having intrusive thoughts.
Your best bet is to try therapy, says our elder. Honor your sister’s memory, and look after yourself.
Hey, umm… where do I start? Well, I am 16 years old. I recently lost my best friend, my own elder sister due to medical issues. It was hard but I (and my parents) got back on our tracks. Now losing my only sister was never in the plan. Well, nowadays I have caught myself thinking stuff like, “What if she knew that she would not be here?” or, “She only had this many hours left and she didn’t even know it,” or, “She had so many dreams left unfulfilled.”
Now I don’t know when “she” turned to “I”. Now I am having intrusive thoughts like, “What if I am gonna die in the next 24 hours?” or, “What if I have a growing illness inside me?” or, “What if I don’t live to see another day?” etc. These thoughts disturb me. The only thing I am sure about is that I don’t wanna die. I have lots of plans for the near future. I have dreams I need to fulfill. I have not even seen the world and most importantly… I have to take care of my parents. I can’t carry a good life with these thoughts. And the more I try to push these thoughts away, the more they seem to get into my head. What should I do? I need help.
I’m sorry to hear. That is a tough situation for your whole family.
What you’re experiencing sounds normal under the circumstances. That’s usually the way with intrusive thoughts—the harder you push them away, the harder they push back. Your best bet is to seek therapy with a provider versed in grief and loss. The rest of your family might benefit from counseling, as well.
In the meantime, might it help for you and your family to do something special in your sister’s memory? Think about what mattered to her and how to benefit others using that interest. (For example, some families set up charitable foundations in memory of loved ones. Others might, for instance, adopt a pet to honor the life of someone who loved and cared for animals.)
It’s important to honor yourself, as well. Try to get out every day and take a walk-in nature. Eat and sleep as well as you can. Reach out to others, whether to check in with an older family member or share your burdens with a friend.
Most importantly, continue to work toward your goals, and start fulfilling those dreams as best you can. Just take care to protect your health and safety, within reason.
Wishing the best to you and your family,
Article #: 494639