Hopeless and Clueless After Loss of Brother

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I use to be a really happy person. But my older brother was murdered in August of 2011. Since then nothing has been the same. I resorted to smoking, self harm, and I’m scared I’m going to hurt myself really bad. I feel like no one understand and that i can’t go to my dad or mom. my dad has turned into an alcoholic since my brother passed. and my mom just doesn’t understand. I’ve lost so many friends since then, just because I’m not happy. my mom tells me ‘to go back to being the happy Cassidy you use to be’. but it’s not that easy, and she should know that. I’ve been to several counselors, but they doesn’t help either. The friends i do have are amazing, but I’m scared I’m going to drive them away by talking about my feelings. I have two older brothers and they won’t talk to me, they’ve completely neglected me and act like I’m not even their sister. I sleep all the time. 3 hour naps have turned into 6 hour naps. I can’t help but feel this complete emptiness inside of me. It’s the worse feelings I’ve ever had. I can ignore it for a couple days but then it’s right back and I’m mean to the people I love. I want to ask my mom for anti-depressants. I just don’t know what to do. I’m clueless and hopeless.

A. I’m so very sorry for your loss. The loss of your brother is a tragedy. No one ever “gets over” the loss of a loved one but the pain will diminish over time. I know that now it may seem incomprehensible but it’s only been a short time since your loss.

You are considering antidepressants. I think that may be a good idea. Medication may not take away all of your pain but it can decrease the intensity of your emotions. At this time, this may be what is needed. Explore the possibility of antidepressants with a physician, if you haven’t done so already.

You should also consider support groups for individuals who have lost a family member to a violent crime. Many communities have these types of support groups. In my hometown, for example, there is a Center for Victims of Violent Crime. They help victims and their families cope with the aftermath of a violent crime. Their work is amazing. They provide free counseling, education, advocacy, outreach, support groups, and much more. Maybe your community has a similar resource.

Another great resource is The Compassionate Friends. They provide peer-to-peer support for parents and families who have lost a loved one.

In addition, I would also recommend thinking of a way to honor your brother. Many people find this experience to be very therapeutic. The work of John Walsh is one such example. His only child was abducted and murdered. Out of his pain came the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the television show “America’s Most Wanted.” America’s Most Wanted has assisted in the apprehension of over 1,500 fugitives and has reunited 50 missing children with their parents.

You don’t have to pass a law or develop a television show to honor your brother. There are many ways to pay your respects including writing a poem or a story about his life. Those are a few examples and there are many others.

In the face of tragedy your response has been to reach out for help. That is a great start. I am very encouraged by this and I would urge you to keep trying. Try different therapists. You have not found one you like yet but it is very possible that you will, if you remain persistent. Finding the right therapist can make a huge positive difference in helping you to heal.

If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to write back. Please take care. I wish you well.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Apr 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Hopeless and Clueless After Loss of Brother. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/04/28/hopeless-and-clueless-after-loss-of-brother/