Monday 26 September 2016

Heartrending Humans of Dublin story shows you can’t outrun your grief

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 17/03/2016 | 08:16

(Photo: Facebook/HumansOfDublin)
(Photo: Facebook/HumansOfDublin)

A new Humans of Dublin story offers a reflection on the importance of letting yourself grieve after the death of a loved one.

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The Facebook page Humans of Dublin is a treasure trove of inspiring and heartrending stories.

One recent post detailed a young woman’s journey from suffering to resilience following the loss of her beloved aunt.

After her aunt died of breast cancer when she was just 11 years old, she didn’t allow herself to grieve, and felt as though she had to hide her sadness.

But being strong takes its toll, and she described how months later, her grief caught up with her.

“I was very close to her, she was like another mum. Months after her death I began to get sick, constantly vomiting and developing new pains and symptoms.

"My auntie died of breast cancer when I was 11. I was very close to her, she was like another mum. Months after her...

Posted by Humans of Dublin on Wednesday, 16 March 2016

“After many visits to the doctors I was told I just had a bug. Every few weeks I would be vomiting for at least three days and would spend a lot of my time in bed.

“It hurt to move as my stomach muscles had become so sore from vomiting.”

She succumbed to an illness that made the next 10 years a lonely struggle as she was never properly diagnosed or treated.

“Food and weight became an issue as I was afraid to eat in case I got sick. My life stopped and everyone else's continued.

“I watched family and friends grow and change from my bedside. I missed out on my teenage years.”

The young woman recalled grappling through particularly dark times when she was alone with no one to speak to.

“At night I would pray that I would die because I didn't want to go through another day of being so sick.

“I remember sitting crying one day because I got so frustrated not knowing or understanding what was wrong that I wished I had cancer because then I would know what it was.”

After visiting many doctors over the year, she learned what was wrong.

“When my auntie died I never cried because I didn't want to upset anyone else. I never grieved. I bottled everything up and never accepted her death.”

Having realised she couldn’t outrun her grief, the young woman began Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) treatment to help her deal with the pain of her aunt’s death.

“The hardest part of everything was changing my thinking and accepting the fact that she was gone. Those nights that I used to cry myself to sleep I held onto one thing; I held onto hope.”

Now, 10 years on, she is a volunteer with the Andy Morgan Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness.

“I’ve seen the devastating effects that suicide has on families left behind but I also understand when someone is in so much pain, mind and body, that letting go seems like the only way things will get better.

“I'm grateful for my life and I wouldn't change a thing because it made me who I am today.”

She also had a message of hope and encouragement for Humans of Dublin readers who may be suffering through a difficult time.

 “To those reading this I hope you take my story as a sign to keep going no matter how hard things seem, it gets better.

“I'm living proof. I held onto hope and you can too.”

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