Navigate / search

Ask Julie: Could My Grandfather’s Death Be Causing Depression?

Q:  I saw my grandfather die when I was young, and it was very painful because he was like a dad to me.  Ever since my grandfather’s death, I’ve been having trouble maintaining my relationship with others, whether it’s friends or family members. I try to distant myself away from them in fear of getting hurt again.  I have trouble letting people in my life and tend to disassociate myself from being involved in a romantic relationship with anyone. As a result, I can’t truly love or care for anyone. Although thinking about my grandfather made me very feel sad and depressed at first, now I’m not as sad as I used to be, and I feel guilty for not being sad and I would force myself to think about his death over and over again and make myself feel bad and cry myself to sleep. I also feel pressured by my parents to do well in school and life, and it’s almost as if I’m letting them down and becoming that worthless and useless person I was when I stood there and watched my grandfather die.  Whenever I feel useless and think I’m such a failure or that I might not live up to other’s expectations, I want to die. I have suicidal thoughts almost everyday and wish I were dead but never actually thought of committing a suicide. I also feel irritated very often recently and just want to be left alone. I gave up or got bored of things I used to love doing.  This is ruining my life, and I think I seriously need help.

A:  You are very insightful about your thoughts and feelings, and I agree with you – you do need help as soon as possible. It sounds as if you are suffering from severe depression. It is not uncommon for the death of a loved one, especially someone you are really close to, to turn into longer-term depression.  Please seek therapy immediately. Watch the video for the complete answer.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

About Dr. Julie Hanks, LCSW:
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to KSL TV's Studio 5, and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available.