I blogged on June 1 two ways grieving a suicide is different from grieving a non-suicide death. There is a third way it’s different – and I’ve been suffering from it since day 1 but was not able to name it until now. PTSD – Post traumatic stress disorder. I thought the only people that experienced this were actual victims of a crime and people who were present when someone died or went through trauma. So anytime I had a panic attack I… well… I said things to myself that in hindsight I can see weren’t helpful. “Come on, Denise, this isn’t rational. You’re fine. It was months ago. You should be able to drive your car faster than 70 mph now without freaking out” and so on. I remember my Mom sent me a video on FB of pranks where people were sleeping and startled into waking up. I freaked out watching this (it’s okay Mom – who knew??). It wasn’t rational to me and so my self talk was judgmental. But still – almost a year later – loud, sudden, unexpected moments send me into a freaked out mindset. If I drive too fast my breathing gets fast and shallow – that’s my warning sign that I’m about to melt down. I’ve had outbursts of anger that were disproportionate to the circumstances at hand. God who am I?
I read a little about PTSD… 3 buckets of symptoms exist:
Reliving the event.
I experience all three of these to varying degrees but most frequently I experience the 3rd one. Increased Arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.
All I can say is God bless my family and friends as they hang in there with me. I wish I could just “be better.” I truly do. It’s probably hard to know how to love me through this. I get so frustrated with myself. And then I get frustrated with Drey. And then I feel an overwhelming amount of love and loss for him. Sometimes I just have to sit in it. Sometimes I just have to let the pain swallow me. This is such a lonely grief.
I HEAR YOU LOUD AND CLEAR….I FREAKED OUT WATCHING JURASSIC PARK, YOU KNOW THE FUN, ENTERTAINING MOVIE FOR MOST PEOPLE….NOT ME, SENT ME TO BED CRYING! AND LIKE YOU AT THE TIME I DID NOT UNDERSTAND….THANK YOU FOR SHARING, HELPS ME EVEN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS….IT’S REAL AND WE ARE NOT ALONE…LOVE YOU.
Very well stated, Denise. I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD after Murray’s death. In fact, it earned me the “get out of work free” card — I was approved for Social Security disability on the first try. This is serious stuff and we have to pay attention to our mental and physical health. Just like you, what I call the “Startle Effect” is the big one–if someone walks up behind me or, say, a car passes me on the right, I freak out. My reaction is about 100 times higher than the situation truly requires.
You are doing awesome work. I’m so sorry for your loss and at the same time, I am so glad to know you.
Thank you Mary Ann. I am grateful for you 🙂