Sunday, June 29, 2008

So is this just grief, a setback or am I nuts?

I'm serious.

I feel lousy, sad, weepy, thinking a lot about the boys and the hospital stuff. What was supposed to be. Lots of lump in my throat, stinging in my eyes and nose. My thoughts are scattered; when I step back later and review, I shake my head because I can't believe I even went there.

I'm sadder than usual, but I am able to laugh a little. We went out to the movies yesterday, and I sort of enjoyed it, even though I was bitchy to C a lot. I know that I'm better than I was at the beginning. But it feels like March instead of June. The balance is not as positive as even a few weeks ago. Up and down, up and down.

I'm more jumpy, easily startled than I've been. Angry. More sensitive to violence or gore (we saw Ir.on Man) than, well, than I expected. I'm distracted, having a hard time focusing again, feeling more anxiety, too.

I had a meeting with one of my profs about my summer projects to make up work and, though most of it was just fine, I was acutely aware of what I did not know, of what academic progress I was not making. This prof is kind of my (unofficial) mentor. His intelligence is tangible and his humanity huge. After meeting with him, I picked up C, we went home, and I curled up on the couch against C for hours. (Of course, I didn't just run upstairs and hide, but it didn't seem
much better.)

So I couldn't go to B's father's services and she was okay. I was starting to get panicky just thinking about getting on a plane to go . But I can't identify the source of the panic: was it because it was so fast? or was it because I hadn't been to this airport since I dropped off my dad when he visited in December, when everything seemed to be okay?

I'm sure that some of this is my own grief, too. I've known B since 1985. I can't count the number of Easter or Christmas dinners I'd had there since I was a teenager. Countless evenings at her house making cookies or watching movies or just hanging out in the kitchen talking with B. He wasn't very "fatherly" to me, but we had a nice, easy relationship. He was always happy to hear from me when I called, and B's mom sent us our first care package of NY bagels after we moved here. So I guess another part of my family is gone now.

It seems like I'm getting overly-anxious about everything. Too sad. Still pretty immobile.


So, I'm asking: Is this just where I am in the grief or is it a real setback? I'm finding it almost impossible to pick up the phone to call someone trauma-related. Though I am making sure I make it to therapy every week. It helps, but I don't think it's enough. I guess I do need more help.

And that makes me cry more, like I'm a freak who's just oversensitive. I hate that I can't seem to deal with this. That I am just so fucked up. That I seem so much more fucked up than everyone else. Why can't I deal like others seem to be?

I have to call the MFM/High Risk OB for a consult, and that's not happening either.

The birth was literally a nightmare, every time I came to consciousness something else bad was happening. I haven't been able to call anyone to find out what actually happened, if Jacob actually did have a heartbeat when he was born. Who would I call? I really doubt anyone would know or even have any idea at this point. I think that might make it worse.

Nightmare. At first, it was almost comforting, the idea that I might have PTSD. Like it would explain so much, would validate my pain or behavior. Some sort of diagnosis like PTSD or major depression as a result of this would help me get some help. But it would also make me feel like a freak. Why am I the only one who cannot deal? Was my experience that much worse than others'? No, it wasn't.

Is this what six months feels like? Is this just a stumble? Am I special needs?

Does any of this make any sense?

I think I want an honest answer. If I change my mind, I'll turn off comments.


Anonymous said...

I only recently started reading, I know it is no comfort to say I'm sorry for all that you have been through, but I am sorry for all that you have been thgough. I think that however you are feeling is normal. Everyone grieves differently, it does not make you a freak or anything else. And I don't think that getting help makes you a freak, you have been thgough so much, I'm sure that many need help after things like this and it does not make you any less of a person for needing the help. You are in my thoughts. Take care of you.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry you are hurting so much. I am sure that everyone reacts differently -- but for what it is worth, after I lost my son at 20 weeks the six-month mark was a real low point for me. It was just like what you describe -- like being back in that dark hole all over again, and I couldn't understand why. But it's been a little bit better every month since then. I hope that the same will be true for you.

Amy said...

six months is very hard. It stings and burns. I think honestly, had you all not been here for me, the counseling, and support groups, I never would have made it to the almost seven month mark. Hang in there, it doesn't get easier but it does get less harsh. Thinking of you and wishing you peace.

Mrs. Spit said...

A very wise woman who lost a baby 20 years ago told me this. Grief is not like driving to one city from another. You don't get in your car and go. There are stops and starts, wrong turns, getting lost, near misses.

I think it's like learning to drive. You get in the car that first time, and everything is new, everything is hard, confusing, frightening, and you have no idea what the hell you are doing. And everything takes so much effort, it's so hard to keep it all in line.

And gradually, it becomes easier. Without you thinking about it, you shoulder check, shift, put your turn signal on, and manage to make it into the next lane with ease. And you aren't quite sure when you achieve that, and there may be some things that are always hard, and you are never good at, but you manage, and bit by bit, minute by minute, it gets better.

I tell myself this. Grief is not a linear thing. There are good days and bad days.

Kristin (kekis) said...

Granted, I haven't been through what you have been through, but I've gone through grief. WTH am I saying? I still go through grief. Grief is a process just like life is. You have good days in your life, you have bad days in your life. I think the same rings true with grief.

I know it's scary (frustrating & all of those other emotions) to feel like you're taking steps in the wrong direction. This time may carry you through more grief, but with it will come more healing. It sucks along the way, but you continue to move through it all.

Martin said...

I dont think there's a direct line to 'being better'.

Ups and downs, set backs when you thought you were in the clear, always an underlying sadness, and almost irrational anxiousness.

I wish I knew for sure, so I could tell you, but you sound to me like someone slowing getting there, 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

Slow, small steps, and I wish you all the luck in the world.

Mrs Macgyver said...

I've recently started reading, and I can tell you that this is all "normal." It's normal to have days where you wonder how you can hurt so much and still be breathing and living.
Like previous comments have said, grief is not linear, and there are good days and bad days. It is like waves on a beach, sometimes you are up, but more likely you are down, trying to drag yourself back up again. It does get less raw, and less hard to get through, but I still have those sorts of days and it's been 2 years since I lost my son.

loribeth said...

Yep, sounds like six months to me. :( Somewhere in my pg loss facilitator training manual, there is a page of graphs from a study of intensity of grief reactions in couples who experienced perinatal loss. There is a spike around 4 months & a definite spike at the 6-month mark. And again around 12 months as the "anniversary" dates draw near.

Grief is not linear; it spirals up & down (even after 10 years). But as time goes on, the lows aren't quite so low anymore. I promise.

c. said...

This is indeed what six months feels like. Feeling like crap and depressed and unhappy seemed to drag on and on and on for me. Tomorrow will be 8 months for me. I am much better than I was at 6 months. And infinitely better than I was at 4. I am still sad. I still hurt that I don't have my son. But. Life has become tolerable again. And I almost hate to admit that because I feel like I'm not being a good mother to my dead son by living again. But we do. We all eventually do.

Thinking of you, as always, STE. I hope you get the answers you need.

CLC said...

I have to agree with everyone else. You would think that by now you would be feeling "better" but it sometimes feels worse. I was desperate about 2 months ago. I felt such despair. I didn't want to be alive. I wondered how I could live every day like this. And somehow it got a little bit better. Granted I started taking Z., but the despair is gone. And I can actually think about my future now. The sadness is still there, and seeing 6 month old babies still cuts me to the core, but I can laugh now too. You are not a freak. This is an awful journey. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and there's no easy way or even a finish line. But it will get a little bit better one day. Maybe you can remind yourself that while you feel like shit today, you know it won't feel like this every day for the rest of your life. Time is our friend.

noswimmers said...

Even though my loss is recent, I know what you're feeling. The ups and downs, feeling like you can make it through the day one minute...the next minute just wanting to die. You're not doing this alone, we're all here for you, in any way that we can.

Ya Chun said...

I am experiencing lots of ups and downs too STE. The downs aren't plunges into the depths of despair as they once were, but for me I think a lot of that has to do with leaving my bad work situation.
As long as a therapist is keeping track of you, you are probably good and in the range of "normal". I recently asked my therapist for some techniques to deal with thoughts as they come by, because I didn't think that me just talking to her was doing any good. I talk to you gals, and for free! I found the techniques she offered to be really good ideas. I don't know, maybe you are ready for that?

niobe said...

I think many people feel like they're grieving "wrong" or at least differently than others. I know I do.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with everyone else that this is really what six months feels like, or it did for me anyway. a really rough time, and all the while thinking i should be doing 'better'. also wanted to say that i've realized that i tend to hear other people say they're having a really hard time, and i somehow picture them carrying on in some sort of stoic, reasonable, get-things-done sort of way all the while, and then there's me, huddled in the corner weeping. it's just not so -- it's really hard, and i think those lows are remarkably similar for all of us, and you are doing better than it feels like during the deep, deep lows.

it does get easier, somehow. and still - there it is.

Carrie said...

I've been away a bit and I've just seen this post.
I am so sorry you are in this place. I don't think you are coping less well than anyone else at all. You are coping and finding a way through, it is so horrible but you are doing what you have to.
It isn't the same I know but I am sure I suffered from PTSD after my loss. It isn't of the same magnitude but I went over and over and over and over the day I was told I there was no longer a heartbeat, every conversation in the hospital. I choose surgery over delivery (at 16 weeks) and then regretted this for ever more. I went to a hypnotist in the end. I just couldn't keep living these days for ever more.
I am thinking of you xx

Anonymous said...

oh ste, how i wish someone could take all this pain away from you. you -- your feelings, your despair, all of it -- are so normal. so very normal. and yet that doesn't make it any easier, or any better.

just before my six-month-mark with my first deadbaby, s. and i took a long trip to a far away place. (literally, not figuratively.) the feeling of being anonymous was such a tremendous relief. we also hiked our assess off, and sitting atop a peak at roughly a mile above ground level was somehow transforming for me. i needed that time away -- the change of scenery, the change of situation, the change of humans surrounding me. it seemed to help.

sending lots of love your way,

luna said...

so you see from everyone else here, yes, what you're feeling is normal. I completely agree that grief is not linear, and you can't expect that things will always get progressively better. as others said, there are good and bad days. but also, time does help even out the lows.

all that said, however, after such a trauma, I still think it might be helpful to have the guidance of a professional to facilitate the process, preferably someone that specializes in grief.

be gentle with yourself. this is just so hard and there is no one right way to get through this. don't demand or expect too much of yourself. six months is hard. a year is hard. every day is hard. but I promise it will get easier, some day.

Tash said...

I'm sorry I'm so late responding to this post. Please, please don't compare yourself to others (easier said than done, I know). We're all in the same boat, and yet not -- there are shades and variances and differences within us that makes this all extremely different for everyone. For example: I think you're amazingly strong because you're blogging. I didn't start until I was 6.5 months past Maddy's death -- I don't think I could've found the words or had the motivation to put any of my thoughts in public.

It's like this, forward, backward, fastlane, slowlane, long pitstop. Not a linear line to "over it." That's normal. don't let anyone tell you it's not.

Julia said...

I do think a lot of this is in fact six months. And the fact that there is a ten day window of it for you must make it even harder. I am sorry.
But I also think there might be PTSD-type issues to unravel. The birth itself (being in and out, particularly), as well as the time in those ten days in the middle-- how could these things not be traumatic for you?