10 answers

I'm Losing It... - Arlington,TX

If you havn't been seeing what's going on with me,well here it is! I lost my 5 year old nephew on June 3rd, 4 days after my 2nd pregnancy loss, and 2 weeks later, got pregnant again and lost that one at 6 weeks. I keep telling myself that I'm doing fine, but here in the last couple of weeks I've been dealing with panic attacks (which has previously been treated for) and have come back, as well as very sudden illogical fears about death and losing my kids. I've had numerous dreams about car accidents, constantly think about "what-if" with my kids and have crazy fears now. I'm also dealing wtih the fact that my losses aren't as severe as my sister's (obviously) but that brings it own set of issues. I just don't feel like I have anyone to talk to but you guys right now. My hubby is sympathetic, but can't really relate. I don't think this is a dr. issue. As I said, I've been to the doc before and they always just want to put me on meds. I just don't know where to look right now! Not only is my whole family dealing with this loss (my nephew) but I feel like I'm on my own with my miscarriages. Does anyone have a support group or something (besides anti-depressants) that I could turn to? I feel so lost!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for your kiind and supportive words ladies. I wrote this after finally allowing myself to sit down and think about things and it just hit me how alone I was feeling. I don't want meds because I've been on 4 different things through the years and I hate the way they make me feel. I might get a script for some xanax if I can't cry through it. I will see who my sister is seeing and maybe we can start to heal together. You're all amazing and I thank you for your continued support!

More Answers

Dear B.,

My condolences to you and your entire family for the loss of your nephew and for the loss of your two pregnancies.

With such significant losses in such a short time, it is not surprising that the panic attacks have resurfaced along with other anxiety symptoms. You say that you keep telling yourself " I'm fine," but that undermines the legitimate need for your feelings to be acknowledged and validated. Each of these losses is significant, and each must be mourned.

I just did a google search on pregnancy loss and found numerous sites where you could get some helpful information to start the grief process and perhaps hear what other mothers in similar situations have done to help them cope.

Grief support groups are very helpful along the path to healing because everyone there can relate in some way to your situation. Hospitals often offer these groups as do many churches and synagogues, but these may or may not be for a specific type of loss. (You probably wouldn't get as much out of the group if it were specific to the loss of spouse, for example). In your case, because you have losses of different types, you may want to seek out more than one group (one for pregnancy loss and one for loss of family member or child).

Because your losses are so significant and many, it would be helpful, in addition to reading about loss and the grief process, to have someone you could talk to in person. Your primary care physician and your OB GYN, especially, should have some referral sources to guide you in the direction of a grief support group specifically for pregnancy loss. If they don't have the information, call some of the local fertility clinics; they often hold support groups for couples experiencing infertility and/or pregnancy loss.

While well-meaning others may tell you to "focus on the healthy children you have" and "don't worry, you'll be able to have another baby," these statements don't help the pain in your heart for the little ones who were lost. Your feelings about them need to be verbalized, validated, and given a special place.

As you know, there is no quick short-cut to healing, but the sooner you engage in the process, the more likely you will be able to manage your anxiety symptoms before they start to manage you and really interefere with your daily functioning.

In addition to support groups, individual counseling may be warranted. Again, it depends on the degree to which your symptoms are interfering with your ability to carry out your daily responsibilities. It sounds like you are coping as best as you can under the circumstances, but untreated grief and symptoms of depression and anxiety can become debilitating rather quickly if not treated properly. Resist the temptation to downplay your feelings and be honest about how you're really doing. You wouldn't want to have a panic attack while driving somewhere with your children, for example.

The intrusive and persistant thoughts and fears about death, accidents, and losing more family members are understandable under the circumstances, but again, if your waking hours are filled with these thoughts, it becomes agonizing, and the battle that takes place in your head to try and tame these thoughts can be entirely exhausting and time-consuming. If your discomfort in this regard is causing you additional stress, that is additional stress you don't need right now.

That leads to my final point. If you can get the panic attacks and unwanted negative thoughts under control with support groups and counseling, great. But, if not, please do not rule out medication. When prescribed and continually monitored by an appropriately licensed mental health professional, psychotropic medication can be life-saving. It does take some time and patience to get the correct medication and dosage worked out, but it can make a very big difference.

Healing happens. It takes time, and you never forget the precious ones you've lost, but you do learn to incorporate the loss into your life and move on with new hope.

You and your family will be in my thoughts, and I wish that all of you will come to a place of peace with the losses you're now experiencing.

Sincerely,

J. F.

4 moms found this helpful

For heavens sake, why don't you feel like you need a doctor or meds? You could no doubt need counseling and if they feell you could get some help with temporary meds, why not? Ask your OB-GYN for a referral. Hopefully, they should know someone who is good at counseling for losses from miscarriages. Also, your GYN should be counseling you on now getting pregnant so soon after miscarriage. Perhaps your body needs time to heal and you may want to investigate first the reasons for the miscarriages so it won't happen again.

1 mom found this helpful

There are support groups for parents who have lost their children. And even tho you don't want to hear it, a good anti depressant will help you "get over" the hump so that you can process the grief better.

I know, I know I hated them when I took them but a wise Dr told me once, do you want to feel like the world has tilted off it axis and cry all the time or do you want to feel like this (how the meds made me feel - numb). At the time, I needed to feel nothing for a while, to help my body heal from all the trauma I was going through. And I can't be a good mom, wife or friend if I'm free falling too.

Words cannot express how sorry I am for you and your family's loss.

I am sending good thoughts your way.

1 mom found this helpful

B.,
I am so sorry for your loss. Do not diminish your own feelings or need for support by comparing your bereavement with that of your sister. You both need people. There is the Mothers with Angels group for moms that have lost a child (http://www.mothersofangels.ca/ or http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/motherswithangels/). I don't think they have any chapters local to you, but there is some great online information for dealing with the grief. I have not had specific experiences with them, but I have attended seminars by the Open to Hope group (http://opentohope.com). Maybe they offer something locally that both you and your sister could attend.
My sympathies to both of you,
C.

I am sorry you are going through this. My sister has suffered with depression for years. She too did not like the idea of medicines. A few months ago she decided that she was ready for some help, although she still didn't like the idea of medication. She went online and did a search for help from local churches. She is not religious, but she wanted to find someone that was close to her and someone that would be affordable. She found many churches with programs that were available. She now has weekly appointments with a therapist through a catholic church. The program is set up where she pays what she can afford. My sister is on an extremely fixed income so she usually pays $10 per visit. But there have been several visits where she has paid nothing. She says this time to talk to someone has been invaluable. She is literally a new person. After years of struggling, she is finding some peace. And now she has finally become comfortable with the idea of trying medications....her therapist never pushed for meds, only encouraged her when she made that choice. She is getting help from St. Michael's Catholic Church in Bedford. That may be a little too far from you in Arlington, but they may be able to direct to some help located closer to you. http://www.smcchurch.org/ I hope you are able to find some help and some peace.

800-422-0009 National Crisis hotline that is open 24 hours for Anonymous help or just a listening ear

Ask at the hospitals about a support group. Call the Crisis Hot Line and ask about support groups. Call the Crisis Hot Line to just talk too. I've been a volunteer on a hot line and have used it for myself. It's a great resource!

I started having mild panic attacks during the night awhile back. I also had nightmares for the first time in a long time. I saw 3 people floating above my bed when I awoke one night and saw patterns on my bedroom wall several more times. I needed an MRI and panicked to the point they had to stop the scan. I've had numerous procedures and surgeries and so was shocked by my reaction. I don't know why all of this started in a short period of time. I saw my counselor after the failed first MRI and scheduling the second. He prescribed Ativan which was amazing. Not only did I breeze thru the MRI but I felt so much better and realized that my anxiety level, in general, was very high. My counselor has been writing prescriptions for me ever since.

I only take the Ativan when my anxiety level interferes with my daily living. Right now, I'm taking 1/2 mg, which is a low dose, perhaps 10 nights/month to help me sleep. I've been taking Ativan off and on for a couple of years and am not addicted. I know that I have to be careful so that I won't be. I've taken as much as 3 1mg. doses/day and went off of it for awhile. I use it when I need it.

As you recognize, you have a several reasons to be feeling this way. I strongly suggest that you try taking something like Ativan, short term, to get you past this. I don't know your objection to meds but if it's concern over addiction, you will not become addicted as long as you are concerned and you have good medical follow up.

A support group will help. And so will medication. I urge you to use both ways of handling your extreme anxiety and panic attacks. You need to get this under control, not only for your sake, but also for the sake of your family. You've suffered long enough!

I'm sorry you are going through all of this right now. That's a lot to handle in a short amount of time. Have you thought about going to a counselor/psychotherapist? I suffered from PTSD after a car wreck a few years ago and private counseling helped me recover. Also, why are you averse to taking medications? I started taking an anti-depressant after I started having unreasonable fears about my kids after the birth of my second child about 6 years ago, like what you describe, and the meds cleared those irrational thoughts right up for me.

I used to have a very high threshold for stress, but it seems like after the birth of my second child, my anxiety and stress levels get overwhelming much more easily than they did in the past. Since I was never really like that until after the birth of my second child, I believe it is a result of hormonal changes (2nd child was a boy so more testosterone, not to mention age - getting older). I'm guessing you are going through hormonal changes with your miscarriage as well. I started feeling those same stressful anxious feelings again after some particularly tense situations in my life and immediately asked my doctor for the anti-depressant and started seeing a counselor again. They both have helped me tremendously and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again if at some time in the future I felt those familiar pangs returning.

While I don't have an issue with anti-depressants, and in fact consider them a blessing given the difference in how I feel after having been treated with them, I would say if you don't want to take meds to treat your condition, I would at least encourage you to think about seeing a counselor if nothing else. I think having someone to talk to is great, but it really sounds like to me that you need professional/medical help to treat your symptoms, more than just a shoulder to cry on. Irrational fears and thoughts, depression, panic attacks and feeling lost are probably not just symptoms of a simple episode of the blues. I would think these kinds of issues more than likely would best be treated by a medical or mental health professional.

Good luck!

Blessings,
N.

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