Dear JFFS Counselor:
I am a widow in my early sixties. My husband died suddenly last year. I just can’t live without him. I cry a lot, I have no energy, not much appetite and I don’t sleep well. I wake up in the early hours and can’t fall asleep. When I saw my doctor, he prescribed medication and recommended that I see a therapist. I do not want to take medication. Why should I? I am not sick? Can you help me to understand this?
Confused and Scared Widow
Dear Confused and Scared Widow:
You are grieving a very significant loss. The adjustment to living alone affects people in different ways, but your experiences are typical of someone in the process of coping with bereavement.
As it has been a year since the loss of your husband, it would be good for you to consult a therapist and to also to join a bereavement group where you can receive support and comfort from others who have experienced something similar. This type of support will not only help you through your grieving process, but may decrease the need for medication. However, when grief and feelings of depression last for an extended period of time, they can lead to chemical changes in the brain. In these cases, a short-term course of medication is helpful to restore balance. Medications also can enhance the healing process in therapy.
JFFS provides two free bereavement groups that you may join. One meets in our Irvine office (upstairs in the Merage JCC building) every Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. The other meets on Mondays at 10 a.m. at Temple Judea in Laguna woods.
JFFS also has counseling staff that offer individual therapy to all members of our community, regardless of faith. To join one of our groups or to meet with a counselor, please call our office: (949) 435-3460. We would love to help you!