190618 new path in life
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A readers who wishes to remain anonymous asks: I think I have some problems. Let me describe them to you.

I was a very good guy with lots of friend, enjoy life with all my friends and family. Used to go to India frequently to meet my parents. The bad part was that I was not that religious, I used to offer namaz two to three times in a day; I was very career oriented and looks for opportunities.

But an incident happened in my life: My boss, who was a very good guy, died recently at the age of 45. He met me two days before he died. After that I have become very calm, praying five times a day. I am not able to get back to my usual self and enjoy life. I can't take any decision regarding my career. I thought things will be back to normal, but two months have passed since then and I am still caught up in the same mood, can you please help.

Carey Kirk (M.Ed, Counseling Psychologist, Program Coordinator Raymee Grief Center, The LightHouse Arabia Community Psychology Clinic) replies: What you are describing sounds like a very common response to grief. Often, when we experience the death of someone close to us - be it a family member, a friend, a mentor, or a boss as in your situation - it shakes the foundation of our world. It makes us reflect upon our own life and our own mortality.

This is especially true when the person who dies is close to us in age, part of our day-to-day life, or someone that we met with shortly before they died. When we are made more aware of our own mortality and that of those around us, it can naturally bring up questions in our mind about spirituality that can change our religious convictions.

Common symptoms of grief can include:

  • Sadness
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Guilt
  • Lack of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Numbness
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of energy
  • Stomach aches/digestive problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Preoccupation with thoughts of the deceased
  • Changes in sleeping/eating patterns
  • Indecisiveness

As for the duration of grief, this is unique for each individual. Many people expect to be 'over' grief in a short period of time, but this is often not the case. Grief is not a finite point in time that we 'get over' but a journey that changes throughout our lifetime.

However, if you are feeling stuck in your grief, I would encourage you to speak to someone about what you are experiencing. Do you have any close family or friends with whom you can talk about your boss's death and the impact it is having on you?

Sometimes family and friends are enough, but sometimes we need something more. If this is the case for you, I would encourage you to join a grief support group or to seek help from a licensed mental health professional who has experience working in the area of grief and bereavement.

If you are living in or near Dubai, Raymee Grief Center holds free bi-monthly grief support groups for children, teens, and adults who are grieving the death of someone in their lives. If you would like more information about this service, you can email raymee@lighthousearabia.com or call The LightHouse Arabia clinic at 04 380-9298.

If you have questions that you would like answered by a mental health professional in the UAE, please write in to readers@gulfnews.com

Disclaimer: This blog is a conversation and is not an alternative for treatment. The recommendations and suggestions offered by our panel of psychiatrists are their own and Gulf News will not take any responsibility for the advice they provide.