Alan had been married for 20 years and described himself as happily married. He had lost interest in life and felt that nothing gave him pleasure. He was aware that he was slowly withdrawing from his wife and she had expressed concern which was one of the deciding factors in him seeking help.
When we explored his life events he told me about the loss of his first and only child a few years earlier. This had been a dreadful experience and Alan had thrown himself into supporting his wife, who had been distraught, and their grieving parents with whom they were very close. He had undertaken fundraising activities and engaged in the support of other bereaved parents, keeping busy as a way of coping with his own loss. He had not been able to grieve, feeling that he had to be strong for others and get back to normal as soon as possible. In our sessions he was able to work through his feelings and acknowledge that he too was distraught.
“Being strong for others seemed like the right thing to do at the time, I did not realise that not allowing myself to grieve and allowing myself to feel my own pain and anger was having such an impact on me. It has been a huge release and now I am able to enjoy life again. I feel so much lighter.”