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Just need a space to vent:

Among my biggest challenges is anxiety. I get consumed by it. Sometimes it is a mask for grief/pain and anger. Sometimes there is something real to worry about. Sometimes it just runs rampant. Today I am amped up on both pharmaceauticals (klonopin) and homeopathic drops and will try to do little bursts of exercise throughout the work day. I have an acupuncture appointment tonight. I see a therapist. I am really trying to attend to it. I can't keep this up. The anxiety wrecks my sleep and makes it hard for me think clearly at work and sometimes with my girls. I am going to do whatever hard work it takes to figure this out.

What is running through my head this morning is panic: I can't do it. I am not enough. Work is too hard. It is too complicated/hard/sad to be a solo parent. This is all too much. I am drowning. I feel like I have hands around my throat.  I am going to fail and let everyone down. I am going to fail and lose everything and everyone. 

If I ask myself, "are all those statements really true?", the answer is no. Things are hard but my kids are doing really well and I might not do a great job with this project at work but I won't lose my job.  But underneath it all is trauma. The real battle is grief and trauma and the trauma is trying to control me by saying--well the worst did happen and Ron got sick and died and nothing you did could stop that or save him.  So even though I know it wasn't my fault there is some place in my subconscious that feels shame and terror that I failed. I don't mean to sound narcissistic. The rational part of me knows this was out of my control. The subconscious, primitive part of me thinks , well if this could happen, what next? Yes, another worst thing could happen and you will be able to do fuck all to stop it. I didn't realize the shame part until I read, "Rising Strong" by Brene Brown. Great book. I recommend it. When I read a section on shame all of a sudden I found myself sobbing and I realized that I felt shame about Ron's death. Like I wasn't good enough to keep him, our marriage, our lives so it had to all be taken away. Shame that my love wasn't enough to save him. Shame that no matter what I couldn't save him. He died from advanced pancreatic cancer. The rational part of me knows there was never anything I could do to save him. But somehow shame remains in me.

Resilience. Rising Strong. Waking up enough to see what was out of my control and that I did a good job of taking care of him and showering him with love in what we knew was his final time on earth.  Confidence, knowledge that it is okay to be broken, just showing up is a worthy first step (I am also a big fan of Glennon Doyle Melton).  I am working on these things. Hard. Tiring.  Confidence that I making it. My house is still standing, my children are healthy and thriving and I am employed. I try to see that when the anxiety isn't taking over.  I am also lonely and stretched to what feels like just a hair next to the breaking point but if you met me on the street you'd probably think. She seems great! Maybe a few bags under the eyes but she must be "all better" since Ron died. I actually know that I am a tough cookie.  I often think I am doing a pretty decent job of managing this life. I am resilient, sometimes.

Today I will be breaking it down into small chunks. What do I need to do this hour? Then the next? Then the next? Just do the next right thing, right? Breathing deep.  

Sending love to all.

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Comment by agh1468 on September 29, 2015 at 7:12pm

Missing, 

Thank you for this post. My son's father passed away 1 month ago at only 29 and I have the same feelings that you've expressed. Our son is 4 and I used to see myself as such a capable parent. But since Jamail's passing I've realized that a lot of my confidence as a parent rested in the fact that we had each other to make it all work. Where I fell short, he's pick up the slack and vice versa. I find myslef panicking and questioning myself over every little decision I make. I almost feel like I have PTSD! Jamial died very unexpectedly and it's traumatized me to a certain extent. 29yr old's aren't supposed to just drop dead. It's just shown me how much control I DON'T have. It scares me. While I'm not happy that you or anyone else is experiencing this, I'm happy that you're willing to share your experience. It lets me know I'm not alone. God Bless. Good Luck

Comment by Callie2 on September 4, 2015 at 10:49am
Missing,
Iunderstand the anxiety, I had problems with that too. You are aware of what it is and what is causing it. I think it resolves in time--as it dwindles, your self-confidence will begin to rise, but grieving takes time. Talk to yourself in a more positive way as" I am doing the best I can." Be prepared to accept failure, in fact, accept it. It is what makes our successes even sweeter. You're going to get past the grief one day so keep that in the back of your mind.

I found that making lists of my priorities daily, helped me maintain focus. It is hard to raise children alone, I certainly can understand that. Having to work makes life even more hectic. Just try to simplify your life in any way possible by forgoing anything you can. I am not certain how old your girls are but enlist their help if possible. One day at a time....that is how we get through it.
Comment by Dianne in Nevada on September 4, 2015 at 6:44am

Oh, Carrie, I get it. This alone life is hard. You are doing all of the right things ... you are doing an amazing job of living through your grief and raising your girls ... you are seeking ways to get on top of your anxiety.  And you are venting here when you need to ... so very important to be able to do that.

YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.

I'm wondering if this anxiety might be hitting you hard right now because you're feeling lonely and alone and you're ready to venture out into the dating world? While I don't have any experience on this topic, I would think there's quite a few emotions we have to deal with at that point. Perhaps acknowledge that and talk about it with your therapist. 

As far as the shame - did you keep a journal during Ron's illness? If so, read it.  When those shame feelings about not being able to save Vern hit me, I've found it very helpful (albeit hard) to read back through my CaringBridge journal of those cancer years. There it is in black and white. All of the extraordinary things I did to keep him alive as long as possible. All of the love. I didn't recognize my actions as being extraordinary at the time - but reading it now it is obvious (and I actually didn't write about all of the really awful stuff - but what I did write brought it all back to me when I read it). 

Breaking down your list into small chunks is a good idea ... and be totally honest about what really NEEDS to be done. So often we put things on our list that really could be pushed to the side or completely eliminated. Carve out some moments for you ... when the girls are doing homework or after they go to bed. Just a little time for you. Not to address things on that "list" but time for some self-care. You are worth it, my dear.

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