There is an elephant on my chest. At least it feels like there is one present. The anxiety since Thursday has been epic. I can't shake this feeling. There have been many tears, many swear words, many sleepless night. My mind cannot stop wandering, my heart cannot stop racing, I can't think straight, I cant focus. I feel weak, I feel helpless, I feel vulnerable. It sounds like this may be the case for the long run. I feel so anxious I considered going to the ER to get some anxiety meds to help calm things down. I took my rescue remedy but it did not help. The feeling is still in my chest. I feel hopeless. I have to figure out a way to deal with this because for the last few months all I have done is taken steps back and Thursday, I feel like I hit rock bottom. I can't remember when my anxiety was this bad before.
I've forgotten to eat, sleep has been non-existent, I'm trying to keep it together for Bee but I can tell she can feel it coming from me and it's affecting her. I've tried to be out with her, feeding the ducks, going to the park so she can see mommy relaxed and happy, not weak and anxious. I feel the stress is rubbing off on her and she's not sleeping well because of it.
I know I keep mentioning Thursday but I can't exactly say what happened then to cause this. Our next steps taken cannot be disclosed at this time. But the outcome from the last few months and especially this past week are not good for my journey. I'm incredibly thankful to have my husband by my side and a little girl to keep me going because if I didn't, can't say I'd be here. They are my life, they give me reason, they give me purpose. There has to be a way out of this and if anyone is willing to look for it, it's me. People will soon realize that you can't bully the weak, you cant bully the fragile because those in that position, some of us also have fight in us. Some people think they can get away with things but there is lovely thing called the law and having worked in the law field for 4 years, I know my rights and I will be making sure those rights are not taken from me because someone feels they can.
Of course, this all couldn't come at a worse time with an impending vacation coming up, which I'm horribly anxious about within itself. It's strange though to see how different the affects of different kinds of anxiety are. Most of my anxiety and especially in the past has been situational, meaning certain things cause me to become anxious. But the last week it truly has been general, it involves everything because I have been pushed back and I'm going to have to come out swinging. I find it kind of fascinating though to see how differently my brain and body respond to different kinds of mental health. So many people try to blanket term mental health but each mental issue is unique, as is each person who struggles. If I can just make it through the next couple of weeks, put on my boxing gloves and kick some bully butt, everything will be great!
People seem to not understand how the death of Ty and Jacob had a swirl affect, meaning their deaths led to a host of issues I now suffer, given I wouldn't change things, obviously them being here I would, but if it meant not having that experience at all, of carrying and loving Ty and Jacob, that I would never change. But, in their deaths, things have risen and continue to rise. So if you run into me/talk to me in the next few weeks and I seem rather stark, scattered, short tempered, short talked, there is a reason and it's not you. I'm just busy trying to find my gloves to begin this fight.
Barely hanging on by a thread over here......but, at least I am still hanging on!
In light of the recent shooting in Texas, I feel I need to address this issue again, mainly thanks to the media. One reason I am so open and honest about my struggles not only in infant loss but PTSD as well is because I try to show the face of how it truly is. I want people to know and understand what kinds of things we go through and that for the majority of us we are still "normal" people.
As a PTSD suffer I m appalled by the accusations that "every single person with PTSD needs to be locked up for the safety of society". That was a comment left on one of the articles about the shooting and it goes to show how little people actually know about the mental illness. I live my life in two taboo to talk about subjects, infant loss and PTSD. I am adamant about raising awareness in regards to both issues but as of late, I feel I need to defend PTSD much more because of mass media.
Just to be clear, the majority (minus maybe a handful or two) of people with PTSD do not go around killing people, nor do we have the urges, nor do we plan to hurt others. It's not just PTSD that does that to someone, it's a lot more mentally than just PTSD. People seem to think every person with PTSD is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off and go on a shooting spree but most of us simply are not like that.
PTSD is not strictly limited to people in the line of duty, it can happen to anyone who experiences trauma of any sort. I still get flashbacks when I am driving in the rain due to having been in a car accident when it was raining out. Given, its not severe or to the extent that I have anxiety and flashbacks due to Ty and Jacob dying. Nor is my trauma experience the same as someone fighting in a war. Our experiences are different so our flashbacks and reactions to PTSD are different, however, most of us still aren't going around on killing sprees and if we do have an outburst, most of the time it doesn't end up with us committing a violent crime, most of the time it's self inflicted.
Speaking of mental health, I partially blame the government due to it's lack of resources available to those who need them. I'm the perfect example. I honestly believe one of my greatest challenges and biggest issue has been inconsistent care. Over the last 4 years I have seen 10 different people in regards to my grief/PTSD/GAD. 10......I'm not how many of you have been to see a specialist but it goes something like this. You make an appointment, go to that appointment and for the first 2-3 appointments they get all the background information they possibly can. You tell your story over and over, you don't really get anywhere. They all have the same agenda, they all seem to have been trained at the same school by the same teachers so you never really get anywhere. Though, on the off chance you do start getting somewhere that's usually when your resources are cut off and you are passed onto the next program.
I'm onto person 11 and it's only temporary until I can get into an adult trauma program, which by the sounds of it, I should have been in from the get go. There is no time limit in this program, they work with me as long as I need and I won't get passed around from person to person. Given, it will be the 12th person I see but hey, maybe lucky #12 will be the one!
After everything I have been through over the last 4 years, I can say that our government (Canadian) severely lacks in helping those with mental illness. Just walk down any street and you can see the evidence everywhere. I know first hand, I've seen it, I've experienced it. Luckily for me, I have great family and friend support and I'm with it enough to know I need help and seek out that help myself. Not many people are in the right state to do that, or they deny it. I have no shame in talking about it because, just like infant loss, there is a huge stigma around mental health. There are labels, there are whispers but there are people as well. People who have names and lives and need help. They don't need shame, they don't need to be told to get over things, they don't need to be told it's easy to not be anxious, or that using anxiety as an excuse to get out of something is getting old. It's not easy. I would never choose to feel this way. I don't like it, I've been feeling it for so long that is has taken a toll on me not only mentally, but physically as well. Of course, that just adds to the stress too.
But then, I can't say I'd choose a different path. I have met some amazing people a long the way and though I'm sure it goes without saying, I much rather Ty and Jacob have not died then be where I am, but I am thankful to have gotten to where I am. Yes I still battle everyday, I still struggle everyday, even on sunny days like today I can't get out of this funk. I just feel like crying and the anxiety is eating away at me (I think it literally is eating away at my stomach with all these issues I am having). I am thankful to my family and friends who have been by my side, I just wish they could understand that it's not in my head, that it's not as easy for me to face my fears, that it is not easy for me to change. I like pattern, I like prediction and I like control. It eases my anxiety and when all of that goes out the window, I recede.
Hoping the next few weeks brings some much needed answers (in our favour of course) and that we can get our feet back on the ground and running. Well, who am I kidding, walking, I don't run anymore.
There is no doubt that Ty and Jacobs death have profoundly changed Stephen and I. We have learned so much and grown as people. Our eyes have been opened and we see more clearly. We understand the importance of life, the importance of family and friends and place a high value on relationships as opposed to material objects. I like to think Ty and Jacobs deaths have changed us for the better.
One thing I have noticed, which has been there since Ty died, is how deeply I feel. Given, the depth of my emotions only exists with the negatives, but it is deep. When I am angry, or sad, or empathetic, anxious, or upset, or just down, I feel those emotions in my veins. It is strong, like a cup of dark coffee. It seethes from every pore in my body. It is so intense that the anxiety eats me right up and the tears flow like a leaky faucet. How I wish I had that depth when it comes to positive feelings. If this week has been any indication of that dream ever coming true, I have hope. At least this week I have been able to feel joy and happiness, even if only on a small level, it's a new level and that is a step forward.
With this new found depth of emotions, I do tend to get teary eyed rather quickly. Not only do my emotions have depth but they have speed. I imagine my emotions like a hurricane, there's the calm before the storm and then BAM, intense, pounding, quick, horrific and then it's over and I am left to clean up the damage. But when I wasn't prepared, when I didn't board the windows, plan an escape, make a survival kit, cleaning up becomes a challenge, a long one at that. I feel I am walking the lonely, desolate streets trying to find my way.
I also feel that having a lot of time in between care (one of my main issues with treatment) that I've internally been trying to figure things out for myself, plan out my next steps, make some hard decisions. I know I'm on a new level of grief and it's rather hard to navigate but I hope in time I can find someone to show me the way. In the meantime, I have to handle my depth of emotions in a cool headed way, which lately has just been tears and lots of tears. I turn everything internally and it's causing me physical health issues. I know I have to figure it out because I cant keep living with this depth of negativity. I want to be able to shrug things off like I use to. I want to be able to have a conversation, feel connections, feel empathetic and sympathetic towards others without completely losing my shit. Perhaps one day.....
The warmth of the sun soothes my soul, the wind blowing through my hair refreshes my mind, body and sprit. It is officially spring and mother nature has decided to give us Southern Ontarians a break. A MUCH MUCH needed break. The weather has been gorgeous the last week, sunny, cool and a little breezy, some of my favourite weather. It has surly lifted my mood and spirits. Yes I have been super anxious, to the point of having more stomach issues, but for the first time I have also felt joy and happiness.
Something about the decent weather always awakens my soul. It lets me see life, it lets me breathe, it lets me live. I truly do believe that in addition to PTSD and GAD I have seasonal affective disorder. SAD affects people in the winter months and makes them depressed. It's no secret to me that when the weather is nice, I do feel better and this week has been fantastic.
Bee and I get out at least twice a day, once so I can get a good exercise walk in and once so she can play at the park. Some nights after dinner we've even got to go to the park with Stephen and for another short walk. It has been wonderful. I have been waiting for moments like this. I have a renewed sense of self and life.
It feels so good that tears bubble to the surface. This is the life I imagined when we found out we were pregnant 4 years ago. Doing family things, spending time outside, relishing in my daughters delight, this is what I wanted 4 years ago and after Ty and Jacob died, I never thought it would be possible. To experience what I have waited so long for is wonderful.
I feel a sense of living this year. We have a lot of plans this summer and for the most part I am looking forward to them. Of course the anxiety is there and I'm sure it will be for awhile, but excitement is also there. It's not just anxiety anymore, it's such an amazing feeling. I'm excited and look forward to doing things this summer. I never thought I would look forward to things again and not let the anxiety ruin my fun. We are making more plans to do even more things, we WILL go camping this year. We use to love camping but the past 3 summers we've just been trying to survive but not this summer, this summer we will live!
I look forward to starting new traditions with Bee, most are ones I wanted to start with Ty and Jacob but didn't have the heart to do yet but this week, the artificial Christmas tree was donated and will be replaced with a family trip to the tree farm to cut down our own tree. I know it will be hard, there will be tears of sadness but to see Bee delight in life will also bring joy as it has lately.
I feel like I am on a new level of my grief journey. The deaths of the boy don't shadow my every day. I have come out of the fog of a newborn and new parent and now I'm beginning to see and live but trying to deal with my PTSD and anxiety. Finding a balance is challenging but these days, I'm up for the challenge. Well, at least for today I am, if I've learned anything its that when up things always knock you back down.
Today I had the chance to see the depth of my anxiety and I can tell you, it's not pretty.
I'm a pretty reasonable person, I know sometimes people make mistake's, I have, we all have and I understand that but when mistake are made that could greatly affect my daughter, well I've seen a side of me I never knew possible. Perhaps it's the mama bear, call it what you want but sometimes people seem to forget the shit storm Stephen and I had to go through to get Bee here. She is our miracle baby. We've already buried two children and it's my lifes mission not to have to bury more so when someome fucks with my daughter, it's not pretty.
Bee went in for her 15 month checkup and needed some medicine. She was given the wrong medicine. After hours of completely losing it, falling apart, balling, getting sick to my stomach, calling every medical professional I know and being online researching, it seems she will most likely be okay. However, the emotional state, the fragility of my mental health has taken a huge blow and I am unsteady.
I am furious, I am livid, I feel this is a huge set back, validity that I can't trust anyone with Bee (other then a handful of people I know) She cannot be left alone with anyone, it is one of my greatest fears and even more so now. If someone can mess up that bad when I am there, I don't want to think about what could happen when I'm not there. I just can't do it. What happened today has pushed me far back. I've been a wreck all day. I feel sad and depressed and just exhausted from the anxiety and stress of today. Any mention of Ty or Jacob has thrown me in the loop. I lose it.
My wonderful husband offered to stay home but I couldn't let this ruin his special day. He, more than anyone, deserved to be in that Summit Suite at the Rogers center watching the Blue Jays home opener, indulging in delicious food and rubbing elbows with some of the greats.
I'm thankful this mix-up was not critical but it was enough to make me recede. Let's just say, we are in the market for a new doctor because the way they handled it and the fact it happened in the first place, I will NOT let that happen to Bee again. Horrible, just horrible and I will be filing a complaint. Might not have been critical this time but who is to say it won't next time? Not on my watch.
Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods. In response, my anxiety has bubbled to the surface in regards to facing the park. Bee and I have been going to the park for a few weeks now. Sure it has been cold and icy and snowy but we like to get out, it's how we roll. The good part about it having been cold was not a lot of people go out so we have had the park to ourselves the last few weeks, just the way I prefer. However, in light that spring officially arrived and brought somewhat warmer weather, I face one of my greatest anxieties. Park moms. Bee and I run the risk of other moms being there with their children.
Some may say this isn't a bad idea and some may even look for this as a way to have an adult conversation outside of the home. But for me, I like to avoid it. Even if we have only been at the park 5 minutes, if another mom shows up with kids we bolt like a racing horse at the start of a race. We rush out of there, avoiding all eye contact and verbal contact as possible. See, I'm not the most social person, never really have been either, but these days, it's even worse.
Give me a park filled with bereaved moms and their kids and I will happily sit around and chat, but those "normal" moms make me anxious. I fear they will ask if Bee is my only child and I don't want to face having to answer that. I've never been one to make small talk, I hate it. Park moms do that, they ask about your children, they try to make small talk and I rather stick a knife in my eye. I rather rip my jugular vein out Rick style. I don't like it, it makes me so uncomfortable so park time will be limited. I will try to find the best possible time to go when there may not be anyone there because lord knows if someone shows up, even if I just put Bee in the swing, we're leaving.
As much as Bee loves the park, it's too hard for me right now. Until Stephen can join us, times will be limited and I feel horribly guilty for that. I see Bee and how she wants to interact with other children. It's a part of childhood, making friends, playing, being magical and I'm hindering it. I don't like to be around other moms with kids her age because ha, get this, it makes ME uncomfortable. I know I have to change, I know I have to do better by Bee. She deserves it, she deserves to play and be around kids her age and I can't let me inhibitions hold her back. I just need to find the right place and time and the park is not that place.
I've been having a really hard time lately, missing the boys, dealing with life, I just can't do it right now. I am fragile, I am vulnerable and I feel I've fallen back a step and can't talk about the boys without falling apart. I rather just avoid it all together.
But for Bee, I will find something. It is only fair to her and I don't want to be the reason she is socially awkward when she is older. Once I get my grief under control and the rest of the stress settled, I will find a way to fit in with the "normal" moms.