Friday, September 2, 2011

The Fear

I have always been an anxious person.  A worrier.  But it's gotten worse.  Since the moment my son was taken from this world I have been terrified.  Well, for the first few months I was pretty numb by comparison.  I didn't really give a shit what happened. But then I remember being terrified that Jerry and I wouldn't make it.  We were young, hadn't even been together a full year yet, and unmarried.  And we'd just lost our only child.  I found that many people felt the need to "warn us" of the poor success rates for couples who lose a child.  I remember fearing that I would never get to bring a baby home from the hospital.  I remember fearing that the next child would be the death of me.  The recurrence rate for placental abruption is too high for comfort and can result in the death of the mother and/or the baby.  All of these things still terrify me.  I think about them every day.

Life doesn't stop.  And as time went on, I found more things to fear.  Three months after Matthew died, my sister-in-law lost a child at 16 weeks.  Then my mother had a heart attack a month later and nearly died.  I was so angry.  At her, at God, at myself, at the world.  I felt like God was taking everyone from me.  One by one.  Then my parents went through a bitter divorce after 26 years of marriage.  My daughter was a beautiful bright spot in my life, but I feared she would be taken too.  I obsessively checked her breathing.  I still do.  I wouldn't let her stay in the hospital room while I slept--I needed someone to watch her breathe so I could sleep.  And as any parent knows, the fears and anxieties only increase as the child gets older.  What if? What if? What if?  She is so beautiful--I'm afraid I'll fail her.

My faith in everything was completely obliterated five years ago.  I still don't think I have much.  I fear that the poor health choices I've made in my life so far will catch up with me.  I fear I'll get cancer.  I fear abnormal PAP smears.  I fear the lump in my throat that won't go away.  I fear I won't be a good mother.  I fear I'll never finish my nursing degree.  I fear the car will break down.  I fear Jerry and I can't survive a school year apart while he works and I study.  I fear disease.  I fear I will die before I get to finish raising my family.  I fear I will never be able to afford the life I want for my family.

I can't go through my life feeling anxious and terrified all the time.  Something has to bend.  I just don't know what.  I have enough of a psych background to know I most likely have PTSD, perhaps an anxiety disorder.  Or perhaps summer is rotting my brain and I need to be more occupied.  No school + no work = lots of time to over-think things.  I try to take things one day at a time, I just feel crushed beneath the weight of it all.  I have a family that relies on me.  And I'm a disaster.

1 comment:

  1. You're not a disaster. I think all the things you're feeling are perfectly normal, especially given the traumatic loss you've been through. Once you've been through something like that, you can't live in a bubble of invincible-ness anymore.

    I'm not one to give advice in this area, since I also tend to have a lot of similar fears. (Here I am 10 weeks pg, and this morning I was Googling "tubal ligation ovarian cancer" because that's one of my big fears, and I'm thinking that ***if*** I make it to the point of delivery, I might ask my doc to tie my tubes since it reduces the risk of oc.) That said, I will share one of the things that has helped me in case it might help you too - a book called "The Power of Now". Whenever I get too caught up in the "what if's", I go back and re-read the parts I've highlighted, and it helps.