When does the fear and anxiety go away?

My mom and Dad both died this past Dec. There deaths were easy to accept as my Mom had Alzheimer's to the point where she no longer spoke not knew anyone.  Visiting her was like going to get funeral each visit.  My Dad was 86 and had a great life and died of natural causes. But my brother John was a shock we never saw coming.  He was a healthy man that fell down to the sidewalk and died instantly a massive heart attack.  He has 4 sisters who adored him.  He was the glue that held us together.  I keep getting these strange emotions of fear and anxiety.  My therapist doesn't seem to have a clue what I'm talking about.  He is not a specialist, I see him for depression and PTSD.  I feel lonely in my grief.  I love in NC and my sister's are in NY.  They have each other. I'm praying that I can meet someone who can listen and help. Because of the virus, all grief groups are not meeting, so I thought I would try a group online.  Thank you for listening.

Patty

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Comment by Alma P on Friday

Hey Patty, 

That is a whole lot to go through. I too am having a rough year and can relate to those emotions. I am no stranger to losing people that I love. The latest one so far, would be Last December 2019.  I lost a man that I love to suicide. Recently, I've found out that perhaps my grievance is not as normal as I thought it was. His sudden death is a very traumatic event for me. 

Upon research, it seems that there is a high probability that I'm exhibiting "Complicated Greivance"

From what I'm reading in your message, it looks like you should read up on it too. 

I too have a history of PTSD... the sudden death has hit me really hard. I joined this online group just to find a place to vent and learn as I try to get through it. When the anxiety rises, I go for a walk. Or I visit the grave of a deceased loved one and poor my words out of my heart till the streams of tears slow up again and I feel a little calmer. Then I feel a little better for a bit and I go to somewhere scenic to think a little and I drink plenty of water. 

Comment by Patty Szafarski on Thursday
I just heard from him. He is getting t he help he needs. I'm so grateful that he is safe in the hospital. I have this connection with butterflies . When I got home after my brother's funeral, I sitting outside and this beautiful blue butterfly came and stayed on the chair next to me. I knew it was a sign from my brother. I took a picture of it. I wish I could show you it. I'm going to get a tattoo of a broken heart and the blue butterfly coming out of the broken heart.
Comment by Joe von Anjou on Thursday

Patty, my heart goes out to you. That is an additional horror you did not need.

I believe in God as well. My brother and mother sent me little signs from Heaven after they left this world. My mother has been helping me in small and big ways since she died.

I will keep you and your son in my prayers.

Comment by Patty Szafarski on Thursday
Joe, Thank you for writing to me. My son just got admitted to the hospital, because he wanted to die. I'm full of panic. He is safe but I haven't heard from him and he promised to call me as soon he got settled in. I don't think it's about losing our faith because faith is all we need. All of I need is faith in God helping us thru these bad experiences. I have bad days and wonder where God is. But I keep praying and He hears me. I have to believe there is a God and these people who have done horrible things will answer to God for there actions. There are people who are evil. Sorry, I don't mean to preach, but I'm constantly trying to hold on that my son is okay. I think I'd have to hospitalized. It was nice talking to you.
Comment by Joe von Anjou on Thursday

I have had some recent experiences with fear and anxiety. These are melded with my grief. Every little thin g that goes off track, every time I forget a repetition or a set while exercising, I am overwhelmed with panic and fear.

I think it is due to the fact that those of us who have suffered a loss have lost our faith in the world working according to plan. If we lose someone so near and dear to us, what is the guarantee that anything else in this life will ever go according to plan again?

Also, this pandemic is not helping our situation at all.

Comment by Patty Szafarski on July 26, 2020 at 5:58pm
Thank you for writing to me and sharing your story. Maybe the fear for me is that I'm alone. I try not to stay focused on the fact that there gone. The sad part is my brother had a will leaving one sister as the executor of his will. My father left his to another sister, so there is so much fighting over this money which takes away from the loss of them. There more concerned over the money. I'm happy to some degree I don't live in NY which is where my sisters live. I started cutting to release my pain. I told my Dr and he said if I continue, I will be put in the hospital. I pray everyday and listen to worship but the moment I wake up, it's reliving it again. I knew once started to cut, I needed to find a grief group. My therapist has no clue how to help me. I've fallen in that dark hole with no one to help me out. My sister's don't care what I'm going through. So it's harder for me as I feel like I lost 3 sisters on top of the deaths. Thank you for listening.
Comment by K to C on July 26, 2020 at 3:40pm

Hi Patty - I'm new here too.

I lost my husband and my mother within months of each other. It was pretty awful. I lost my Dad about 15 years ago.

Death of a loved one is a very tough experience; we all will have to face it. But no one seems to tell you how to deal with it. No one seems to be able to sooth the emotions that can be so overwhelming.

It made me afraid, it made me angry, it made me depressed, it made me distrusting, it made me mean, it made me confused, It made me very anxious, it made me lose all belief in a god, it made me a very different person who I can't understand. It may do the same thing to you, at least some of that. 

But it is all very normal. It is the worst thing that can happen and no one seems to talk about it. In fact it's considered bad manners to talk about it as general conversation.

I understand some of the fear. It's the reality of death hitting me in the face. It's the remembrance that I am, like him, mortal and will die too someday. It is the fear of the unknown; what's going to happen now he's gone? I was a military officer. I was not afraid of anything and now at night, in my empty house, I get very afraid for no reasons at all. I think it is very normal to be afraid after losing a loved one but no one seems to understand that fear unless they have faced it too.

And anxiety is my unspoken constant companion since my husband died. They tell you about all the stages of grief but they somehow forget to tell you through all those stages you maybe constantly anxious. I have no idea what I'm anxious about. It could be COVID but it just as easily could be that I lost my best friends and partners in life. It's like I'm constantly waiting for something else horrible to happen, something worse than losing the love of my life and my parents. 

So, talking to someone who knew them helps me. Discussing their personality and traits makes me know everyone hasn't forgotten what a truly wonderful person they were. It's almost like they are recreated right there, just because someone else remembers them too.

To calm my anxiety, I use logic on myself. What am I afraid or anxious about? I'm safe, no one is trying to hurt me. I have food and a roof over my head which is more than a lot of people have. I kind of point out the good things I have. And it does tend to calm me some.

It's been about 18 months since my husband and mother died within months of each other. I still feel afraid and anxious at times but it is no longer constant. I can sometimes wake up in the morning, happy and not remember my husband and mom are dead. And even after the realization that they are gone hits me, I am not depressed. Sometimes that does happen where about 6 months ago it never happened.

About 11 months ago, I felt I was in a dark tunnel surrounded by darkness and uncertainty. Now I feel like I'm no longer in the dark tunnel. Don't get me wrong, there are still huge black clouds hanging over my head but I made through the tunnel. At least that is how I feel.

I hope this helps you. Time does take away some of the pain. It will get better. K

Comment by Patty Szafarski on July 23, 2020 at 6:27pm
I'm so sorry for all of your loss as well. I can't imagine having to identify your brother. It's paralyzing. The support groups are shut down here due to the virus and I was desperate to talk to someone. Thank you for listening.
Comment by Joe von Anjou on July 23, 2020 at 2:38pm

My heart goes out to you, Patty.

My brother was killed in a car accident a quarter of a century ago. My parents were also in that accident, so I was the first to try to identify what was left of my brother. I have been seeing that in my sleep ever since. Over the years, I got used to it.

My father died five years after my brother died.

My brother and father died quickly.

My mother died this April after a five year battle with vascular dementia. It was a horrible five years. Now, on top of seeing what was left of my brother, I see the look of horror in my mother's eyes as she sensed there was something wrong but could not name it.

I have fear and anxiety too. The worst is when I am in between deep sleep and waking up. That is when I realise that she is gone, that my whole family is gone. It feels like a kick in the stomach.

Last Friday was my mother's funeral. Everyone was crying...except for me. I was too jittery, too on edge, looking over my shoulder and in every direction every other minute. My hands were shaking.

I try to exercise as much as I can, within my limits. Exercise releases endorphins, which make one feel better. For me, that works somewhat. I also tell my mother all the time that I will always love her, as long as my memory is intact. That, like exercise, helps some.

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