A New Found Fear

I don’t like to fly, I pump the imaginary break every time my husband drives, the movie Jaws actually still scares me, I hate cockroaches and heights. I’d say I am pretty average in the category of a level headed human being. I have my moments but over all at 32, I can say I am pretty normal.

(Now prior to 25 years old, that is a whole new story. #hotmess)

It’s been 4 weeks since I delivered my stillborn son at 18 weeks and my life has been consumed with grief. I have learned that grief consists of two major elements for me, one is emotional and one is physical: fear and pain.

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I am surrounded by my own grief and anything and everything baby tears me part. I get nervous when I see a pregnant woman, I cry in public when I see a baby shoe at Famous Footwear, every damn Facebook post with a pregnancy, new trimester and birth announcement rips my heart apart. Major dates like, Mother’s Day, my first baby shower, my third trimester mark, my due date, all terrify me.

And whether these times last just a moment or hours, it’s the hardest pain I have been through.

But most of all my biggest outcome of my grief has been the fear and extreme separation anxiety I have from my husband. In fact, my doctor prescribed me Xnanx, so that I could make it through my work trip to Las Vegas this last week. And as someone that has never really medicated for anything in my life, this is a big pill to swallow (see what I did there). I’d say in an entire year I have probably taken 8 Advil. But then there was this one time a few years ago, when I literally almost called a doctor after the ‘Red Wedding’ Game of Thrones episode for help.

I feel out of control of my emotions and I hate that.

As someone that has been pretty independent since 25, relying on my husband to get me through the day is really throwing me for a doozy. After talking to several women who have miscarried in their second trimester, they to have or are experiencing a form of anxiety. After talking to my doctor, this is ‘normal’ for women who have lost a child.  I did some research and sure enough it’s very common for women to feel what I am feeling:

“Researchers in a 1995 study interviewed women soon after a miscarriage, six months later and a year later. They assessed for anxiety and depression, compared with rates in the broader population. Women who had miscarried, they found, overall exhibited higher levels of psychological distress throughout this timeline.”

“Our study showed that even when we considered all of these other risks, mothers with a perinatal death were still twice as likely as non-bereaved mothers to have symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder nine months after their loss.”

I have a huge gut wrenching fear that I will lose my husband. I spend all day worrying if he is going to make it home okay. Just this morning, I literally thought up a ridiculous scenario of him having a heart attack at work. It’s not uncommon for me to cry when he leaves for work. And as I type that out, HOLY COW I feel silly for saying that. But that is my reality right now.

What if he is taken from me as well? I mean my son who looked like his father was taken from me, what if he’s taken as well?

I know Chris hates when I think like this and this is something he has been wonderful helping me through. Sending me reassuring texts through out the day saying that in fact, he did not have a heart attack or get eaten by a shark…in the mountains…because that, right there, is how CRAZY scared I am right now.

If we are to get religious here, I am fearful that Lord thinks that I am strong enough for another loss or hurdle in my life. I have heard it about 172.5 times since we lost James that ‘the Lord puts those that are strongest through the biggest trials.’

Well guess what? I don’t want to be strong if that is what this means. I have been through enough in my life, I have been tested and I have passed. I have made many mistakes and regret some things but overall I am a good person despite what has been handed to me. I envy those friends and family that have sailed through childhood and adulthood with ease.

But my biggest fear right now, is because I am strong, then more bad things will happen. Another miscarriage, a loss of another family member, I gain 25 more pounds (sarcasm) and most of all, what something happens to my husband.

And the good news in all of this. THIS IS NORMAL.

For those who also struggle, not that I am an expert-just someone going through my own version, some things that helped me with this new found fear is:

Talking about it openly with my husband and doctor. Praying, reading books on loss, joining an online support group and find something that is healing for me: whether it’s drinking a cup of tea, tending to my already dying herb garden, hiking, yoga poses, coloring or writing and of course allowing myself to cry and cry a lot.

Anyone out there experience extreme anxiety during their grief, whether with a loss of a child, friend or family member?

 To see where I pulled my findings from:

https://www.anxiety.org/miscarriage-pregnancy-loss-anxiety

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/04/25/what-beyonces-lemonade-means-for-women-who-have-miscarried/

 

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One thought on “A New Found Fear

  1. Claire Barrett Patrick says:

    Anxiety reared its ugly head hardcore for me when I found out my dad had cancer and proceeded to lose both him and my grandmother 8 months or so later. I’ve dealt with depression for years and had a handful of panic attacks back in my college days, but neither of those things were anything like this newfound anxiety that overwhelmed my life in early 2013, and stayed severe/got worse through the loss. It continued as I was trying to deal with it in therapy (when I pulled myself together ‘enough’ to call someone another 6 months after their respective deaths). It touched every part of my life. And, in some respects it still does. In August it’ll be 3 years for me since my dad’s death, and I’m feeling much more ‘myself’ than I have in years. But, I still sometimes experience those anxious thoughts – I think grief absolutely alters your psyche and the way you look at the world.

    I remember being in the depths of my grief and anxiety and trying a grief group – of which I happened to be the only person who had lost a parent – everyone else had lost a child. And it made me feel so guilty – I was mourning a man who had 65 years on the planet, who I spent 30 years getting to know and love, while everyone else had lost someone so young it was unbearable to think about. It took me a while to get past the guilt and realize grief is simultaneously so similar and so different for everyone, no matter when it hits.

    I’m rambling, and I don’t want to take over your comments with my ramblings. You’ve had more heartbreak in the past few years with your father and now with your son, than most people can imagine. And I, for one, think you’ve had plenty. I hope you get to a point sooner rather than later where those worries about Chris when he’s away can turn into just soaking up those moments when he IS there.

    I’m so glad you’ve found things that helped. For me it was yoga, getting lost in novels, running (briefly), and….time.
    And learning not to expect anything of yourself. And to not kick yourself for however long and in whatever ways your grief manifests itself.

    Jojo Moyes wrote this, and I think it’s beautiful.

    “You learn to live with it, with them. Because they do stay with you, even if they’re not living, breathing people any more. It’s not the same crushing grief you felt at first, the kind that swamps you, and makes you want to cry in the wrong places, and get irrationally angry with all the idiots who are still alive when the person you love is dead.
    It’s just something you learn to accommodate. Like adapting around a hole. I don’t know. It’s like you become … a doughnut instead of a bun”

    It’s okay to be forever changed by grief.

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