I recently loss a family member. How do I handle the feelings of loss?

Feelings of loss are completely normal when someone you love dies. Please give yourself permission to grieve and release your feelings physically, emotionally, and verbally. The fact that this happened in a time when you can’t be physically surrounded by others who also loved your family member makes the loss and potential feelings of isolation even more difficult to manage. Even though we’re practicing social distancing, you can still reach out for comfort from and offer comfort to others who are also suffering. Your relationship with your family member doesn’t really end, it just changes. Practice self-compassion, and allow a part of you to come alive in honour of the person you lost. The love continues as the pain eventually begins to fade, and something wonderful about the family member you lost will live on in you.

What are some good ways to talk to your parents about their own mental health when you see them struggling?

It can be really difficult to talk to your parents about their mental health. Most of our parents grew up in an era where mental health was frowned upon, “not real” or “something you’ll get over”. One of the ways to approach your parents is writing down what you would like to say. Share what your personal experience with them has been as you've watched them struggle with their mental illness. After you write out what you would like to say, prepare for how they might react. Sometimes we can say something with the purest intentions, but we have no control on how the other person receives the message. If talking to them the best way you know how does not help, try reaching out to other family members or friends for support.

Is it normal to feel bad about feeling better?

It’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable whenever you make a change, and that discomfort is confirmation you’re growing! You may have a bit of “survivour guilt,” which means you might still be blaming yourself for feeling bad and haven’t yet given yourself permission to enjoy feeling better. Feeling bad about feeling better might also be related to the fact that we feel safe with what’s familiar, even if it doesn’t feel good, so feeling better is part of an unknown new experience that can be a bit scary at first but will feel and get even better with time.