Other Recently Diagnosed - Close Relative’s OD’s - Tips? Short Term Coping Mechanisms Until I Can Access Therapy?


New Here
I’m recently diagnosed, awaiting therapy.
About a year ago a close relative overdosed on heroin the day I cancelled seeing them because I was too tired.
He has always had problems with substances, but this was bad. His girlfriend called me screaming and crying that she couldn’t get his heart started again for 45 minutes. Thankfully, he was saved. Since then it’s gotten so much worse, more overdoses than I can count on my fingers.
I’ve personally witnessed quite a few of them.
I get so emotionally triggered whenever I see him, even though I know it’s not his fault, and even when he’s sober.
I can’t stop every event replaying in my head everytime I see drugs mentioned or an overdose mentioned. It throws off my whole day and I can’t think straight, on and off crying and panicking and nightmares for weeks.
i can’t really cope well, but I am determined to, as I know I will get therapy and I can be happy again.
Waiting for the therapy is challenging. Does anyone have any tips? Short term coping mechanisms until I can access the therapy?


Hi, I’m sorry for you and sorry for both your friends. Glad you found us.

That kind of situation is immensely triggering and I know how it feels when you’re fearing for someone else’s life knowing you can’t do anything or much for them. The helplesness and the repetitiousness of it is really unbearable.

The first thing is: you are not responsible for someone else’s capacity or willingness to remain alive. Full stop.

That it isn’t his fault doesn’t mean it’s someone else’s responsibility. Certainly not yours.

I personally would try to remove myself as much as I can from contact as seeing him or having news is creating an anxious waiting thing in you and will retrigger the trauma over and over again. In a certain sense, the trauma isn’t over yet. The traumatic situation with a life and death stake still is running. So reducing its reach on you, according to your own terms but also understanding why and that it isn’t his fault or your fault neither but it’s affecting you and no one ever benefited from having supporters, even distant, being swallowed in pain too. Sinking together isn’t better than sinking alone. Seeing his girlfriend being caught in this situation also is though. Even if technically you’re supportive of each other this kind of situation seem to bring everyone down in ways that aren’t necessarily soothing for anyone.

And believe me I do understand so much the trying to be here and feeling responsible for what happens. And knowing you will feel responsible. It might not make sense it’s how we feel in these situations. Because we’re wired not to let others die.

Something that has helped me in the awaiting for therapy were CBT apps and DBT books. On the DBT, especially the distress tolerance stuff, reality checks and interpersonal effectiveness. Now these therapies are supposed to be guided but it’s always better than nothing. And journaling helped me a lot.

Hoping this helps. And welcome!