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To Sam

Am I depressed or is this normal?

My dad died about 3 months ago, which was such a traumatic experience, because it was so sudden and I found him. Ever since then I've been having these urges to cut myself, I haven't attempted doing this, but one night when I was in the shower I jut felt so low and upset I got a hair clip and started scrapping my skin. I didn't actually cause myself to bleed or pierce the skin but it felt good for a few minuites! My moods change so rapidly I could be really happy then all of a sudden I just start crying and I feel really low and numb! Is this normal? Am I depressed?
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Sam

Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. I’m really glad that you decided to get in touch with me to talk about it. You have been through a lot in these last three months and it’s natural for someone who’s been through something so difficult to experience all of the feelings that you’re describing.

Nobody knows how they will feel when someone dies. There is no wrong or right way for you to be feeling right now. It sounds like your dad dying came as a big shock since it happened so suddenly and it sounds like you had no way to prepare. It does sound like a very traumatic experience to have found your dad. You might want to think about talking to an adult that you trust about how all of this has affected you.

I understand that sometimes someone might feel the urge to hurt or harm themselves in some way to try and help them cope with difficult thoughts, feelings or situations. I also believe that talking about things can help someone cope better over time. Writing this letter has been a really good first step.

You’ve talked about your moods changing really rapidly, going from being really happy one minute then suddenly crying and feeling really low and numb shortly after. This is a really normal for someone when they are coping with loss and have been through a big shock or trauma.

Sometimes it might feel like these difficult feelings will never go away but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get easier as time goes on and you get more used to them.

It’s often a good idea to think about way to keep your good and happy memories of your dad alive. Nothing can ever take away any special memories you might have of him. Creating a memory box or a memory book where you can put photos, stories or any items that help remind you of your dad can help you to do this.

ChildLine is a safe place for you to come and talk about all of your thoughts and feelings as well as your memories of your dad. You are always welcome to come and talk to a ChildLine counsellor about things. You can do that by having a 1-2-1 chat (a bit like instant messenger) or by calling us on 0800 1111 (this is a free number even from a mobile and it won’t show up on your bill).

The ChildLine message boards are also a good place to get some support from other young people who have been through loss. You might like to check out our bereavement message board.

I hope you feel able to contact ChildLine if you ever want to talk more.

Take care,
Sam       

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