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Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

As a pediatrician, married mom of three biological children and one foster son, my life was busy, rushing off to my office four days a week, seeing patients for three and working as a medical director of a local physician organization for one. I balanced this with rushing off to shuttle my kids to after sports and other after school activities. All of this changed one day in August of 2018 when my 14 year old son, Andy, was killed in a car accident. I felt like my life was over, and in some ways it was over, and a new life was forced to begin in its place. 

Grief is seldom discussed openly in our culture, and the death of a child makes people feel even more uncomfortable. On this blog and podcast, ‘Losing a Child: Always Andy’s Mom’, the topic is approached openly and honestly, speaking to people who have lost loved ones and experts who help care for them. Whether you are a parent experiencing loss or someone who wants to support another going through this tragedy, this blog and podcast strives to offer hope and help.

Feb 24, 2021

Mental illness and alcoholism often go hand in hand. When people struggle with depression and anxiety, turning to drugs or alcohol may seem like a short-term solution. They can forget about their problems for just a little while. TJ struggled with mental illness throughout his life. After discontinuing prescription medication, he turned to alcohol to self-medicate.

Although TJ had years of struggles, the year 2020 brought a whole new level of anxiety with the COVID pandemic. Laid off from work, he was alone in his apartment, isolated from others. His anxiety grew and grew. He told his mother that COVID would 'be a death sentence for him' if he got it. Unfortunately, TJ was right, but not in the way that he thought. He never suffered from a coronavirus infection. He did, however, isolate himself more and more over time. His overwhelming fear caused him to turn down the chance to return to work again. 

His family worried and called, trying to get him to leave his apartment, to safely socialize with others, to return to work, but TJ refused. Instead, he turned to alcohol, to try to numb the fears. In late July, alcohol actually killed TJ at 36 years of age. His mother found him several days after his death. Today, TJ's brother and mom come on the show to talk about TJ, his struggles, and what fear and isolation can do to a person already suffering from mental illness.