About the Pediatric Neurosurgery Fund
> Myths & Stages
> Finding Support
> Counseling Services
> Personal Stories
Finding Support

Get support

The single most important factor in healing is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Connecting to others will help you heal.

Turn to friends and family members

Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them. Often, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need – whether it’s a shoulder to cry, running errands or helping the other children.

Join a support group

You can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar experiences can help.

Talk to a therapist or grief counselor

If your grief feels like too much to bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.

Draw comfort from your faith

If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you – such as praying, meditating, or going to church - can offer solace.

Take Care of Yourself

When you’re going through a difficult time in your life, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of caring for a sick child can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this trying time.

Face your feelings

You can try to suppress your sadness, but you can’t avoid it forever. In order to cope effectively, you have to acknowledge your feelings. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness only prolongs the process and may also lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems.

Look after your physical health

The mind and body are connected. When you feel good physically, you’ll feel better emotionally. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. Don’t use alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings or lift your mood artificially.

Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either

Your feelings are your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be angry, to yell at the heavens, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to move forward when you’re ready.

Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way

You may want to consider writing about your experience in a journal or diary, participating in an online support group or even painting. Whatever way helps you cope is the “right” way for you.

When Your Sadness Doesn’t Go Away

It’s normal to feel sad, numb, or angry when caring for a sick child. But as time passes, these emotions should become less intense as you accept the situation and start to move forward. If you aren’t feeling better over time, or your sadness is getting worse, it may be a sign of a more serious problem such as major depression.

When to seek professional help

Sadness and depression can lead to significant emotional damage, life-threatening health problems or even suicide. But treatment can help you feel better.

Contact a counselor or professional therapist if you:
  • Feel like life isn’t worth living
  • Blaming yourself
  • Feel numb and disconnected from others for more than a few weeks
  • Are having difficulty trusting others
  • Are unable to perform your normal daily activities
  • Wish you had died
  • Feel like you need someone outside your immediate support group to talk to