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Post Traumatic Stress with Grieving?


AnnRA

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AnnRA, 

I have no knowledge about PTSD, so I can't really respond to your question. But I will be very interested in reading the responses of knowledgeable persons. 

I would think PTSD would frequently be a component of grief. The death of our partner is certainly a very traumatic loss.  For me, my brain did not function normally for several years afterward. I often describe it as being a brain injury that had to heal, but I have no medical training. This is just what it seemed to me. 

Hugs

Gail

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I don't know about PTSD but a psychiatrist once told me that depending on the type of trauma and frequency of traumatic events in our life and the older we get, the harder it is to bounce back from it. Doesn't mean we can't recover, just means it might take a little longer to. When I was younger I was more resilient and had the attitude that nothing was going to get in my way. Now, after several traumatic events in just the last 10-15 years, I struggle. I don't adjust too well to changes. I don't look at challenges as an opportunity for growth but rather, a hardship. It's like I feel I have "done my time" and shouldn't have to be dealing with so much now. I feel very fragile and have anxiety over things I use to not even give a thought to. I feel damaged and have no idea if I can be repaired and if so, what life will look like. I would definitely try to find a counselor who deals with PTSD. I wish I could return to my psychiatrist but she's moved.  

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Michelene, 

Yeah, this is hard. 

Like you, my husband died in 2017, so it feels like it has been a long road already.

My sister in law is just starting down this path. Her husband died last Tuesday. My heart breaks for her.  She thinks that when she gets through the funeral, that things will not be so hard. 

I don't want to project my long painful journey onto her.  Her grief journey may in fact be much different than mine. So I just listen and try to be supportive. 

I feel like screaming- "you have no idea how bad this gets and for how long".  But that would not be helpful at all,  so I just help her to focus on today. I try to point out a bit of beauty, a rainbow, a bird something to signify that life is still good. 

Her husband will be buried very close to where my husband lies.  My 2 boys will be helping her son dig the grave the day before.  It is going to be a very emotional time, laying my BIL to rest just 30 feet from my husband.

I hope you come to feel more engaged with life soon.  I was separate from my body too, for 3 years.  I made a lot of progress in my 4th year reconnecting with it.  I think I would have made more progress if we weren't in this pandemic and I could have had more normal social contact with people. But it is what it is. 

Four and a half years, and it is still hard.  My BIL's death has hit me hard. Crying a lot again. 

Gail

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6 hours ago, Michelene said:

I never thought I would be the type of person to visit/call a medium, but if I hadn't done that I probably would have killed myself. Anyway. I probably need more counseling.

It is hard, isn't it?

Yes, it's very hard, and I think counseling can be very beneficial.  

 

2 hours ago, Gail 8588 said:

My BIL's death has hit me hard.

Mine too, it'll be one year on Thursday.  I'll be with my sister, wouldn't you know that's the day she has to start eye treatments (four times a day for an hour each, for three months!).  I'm going to take her out if she feels up to it.  We never know until the day is there how it'll hit us.  It sure doesn't stop at one year, I know that.

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14 hours ago, Gail 8588 said:

 I try to point out a bit of beauty, a rainbow, a bird something to signify that life is still good. 

I think it was Kay that mentioned to try to write three positive things down every day, so I did that. I've gotten out of the habit, but perhaps I should try again.

I'm sorry about your loss and admire your restraint and letting your sister find her own way on this grief journey.

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On 9/21/2021 at 3:11 AM, Michelene said:

I finally went to a grief therapist who did EMDR with me--this was actually the first time I was able to process the actual event--almost a year after it happened.

Michelene:  Thank you for sharing your story. I had not heard about EMDR therapy before. Sounds very helpful. Glad you've kept going and looking for positive ways to help yourself. I admire your strength and courage. I know some people don't believe in Mediums, I'm a little unsure about it myself but I do know that if a Medium does help someone then that's a good thing, it's a positive. The fact is, you are seeking help and wanting to figure things out so you can enjoy life again. And that's what I want to do too.  

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foreverhis
On 9/21/2021 at 4:38 AM, Gail 8588 said:

She thinks that when she gets through the funeral, that things will not be so hard. 

We know that this grief cannot be explained to others, but must be experienced to be understood.  I know you will be there without judgment when she realizes the enormity of the journey that starts after the funeral.  Just please be sure to take care of yourself.  I know you've made tremendous progress forward this past year, so please keep that uppermost in your mind.

((HUGS)) to you both.

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I hope you do find a good therapist, under the circumstances it sounds much needed.  Meanwhile, keep coming here and expressing yourself, it actually does help, can also journal as that helps process too.  We're listening and I surely wish this never happened.  :(

 

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54 minutes ago, missingjay said:

If anyone has any advise that they would like to share on what has helped you get through the days

That time seems a blur, I was deep in grief fog, shock, I honestly don't know how I survived.  You'd think we'd die of a broken heart but it seems fate has a sardonic sense of humor.

Only advice is to try to find something good in the day to appreciate, maybe a call from a friend, maybe a bite of chocolate or a kiss from your pup, seriously, those are the things I'm grateful for now, the big one disappeared over 16 years ago.  And try not to bite off the whole "rest of your life" as it's too much and invites anxiety, stay in today if possible.  Breathe.  Eat something.  Drink some water.  Anything beyond that feels too much in the early days.  So hard to deal with legalities and what's demanded of us just when we are least up to it!

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13 hours ago, KayC said:

nd try not to bite off the whole "rest of your life" as it's too much and invites anxiety, stay in today if possible. 

KayC:  Good advice. I am having a very hard time with making decisions, even beyond tomorrow and it's hard to focus on one thing for very long. I don't know how to just live "in the now" but I keep telling myself to do it. 

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13 hours ago, KayC said:

You'd think we'd die of a broken heart but it seems fate has a sardonic sense of humor.

KayC:  I swear, the pain hurts so bad that I think I actually am dying from a broken heart. It's been 3 months and I'm still here. Feel like roadkill tho. I think of you and the others on here and that inspires me to keep going. The support and knowing I am not alone or the only one who feels the way I do plays a big part of it.  

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15 hours ago, tnd said:

I don't know how to just live "in the now" but I keep telling myself to do it. 

That's how it starts...reminders to "get back in today," I had to remind myself frequently and still do as my tendency is to go into anxiety mode! I think of "putting up the hand" to it!  ;)

12 hours ago, missingjay said:

with my significant other's passing it seems like all my logic has gone out the window.

It does, this is unlike anything we've ever known, it feels we have no control over our lives, let alone our emotions.

 

12 hours ago, missingjay said:

take my dog for a walk

That is good as exercise AND spending time with our dog both help us feel more positive.  I should add the exercise part into my tips if it's not there. ;)

12 hours ago, missingjay said:

I know the pain won't ever really go away, it does help to be able to talk to others who are going through the same thing

It does help, and although the pain is never totally gone, we do get better at adjusting/coping with the changes it means for us, it sure can take it's share of time getting there though!  Be patient and understanding of yourself, meanwhile. :wub:

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foreverhis
On 9/25/2021 at 10:35 PM, missingjay said:

take my dog for a walk or write in a journal. Although I know the pain won't ever really go away, it does help to be able to talk to others who are going through the same thing I am. I just created my account a few days ago and appreciate you all

No, for those of us here, those of us lucky enough to have found our one love, the pain and the missing will never go away.  I knew that from day one and I'm not sure if that was a good thing or not.  I didn't find this wonderful group of people until I was 6 months into my journey (if it could even be called that at that point!).  I'm really glad you got her sooner.  It's been a real grace in my life to really be able to talk, to rant, to question, and (sorry, mom) to sometimes even write a swear word or two. 

Most of us, in having found our soulmates, found that cell-deep thread of love and an unbreakable bond that so many people never have.  But with that love comes the risk, no the certainty, that the one who is left behind will feel the deepest pain, loss, and grief.  The thing for me is that even knowing I'd be where I am now, I'd still jump in heart and soul, giving everything to John.  I was a good and loving wife, partner, lover, and best friend to my husband, but I can admit now that he was a little better.  We were both imperfect, but were perfect for each other.  Millions of people never find that, so I count myself lucky now.  But it takes time--and lots of it--to even accept our new reality, though we never accept that it was right or fair because it wasn't.  It takes even longer to find our way into a life we can live without our loves.  We are each on our unique paths, but we're walking the same road together.  There is no time table, no road map, and no "how to" for this.  Please don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

What has changed and is changing for me, as I stumble my way forward, is that I am learning to carry my grief as part of my life, rather than it being the crushing, all-encompassing weight it was at first.  It took a long time for me to be able to bring forward all the wonderful, silly, loving, and even mundane day-to-day memories of a life lived together for 35 years.  Once I started being able to smile remembering his silly side or be proud of his strengths again without falling apart and collapsing into a puddle or finding myself back in the dark pit, I was able to bring our life together back to my mind and mix in my gratefulness with my grief, anger, and pain.  Nora McInerny says in one of her TED Talks that "grief does not exist in a vacuum."  She's right.  In thinking that grief stands alone and is all we can or should ever feel again, we aren't able to honor our love.  But dang it's a slow-as-molasses journey for me!  It took 2 years for me to not feel guilty every time something made me smile or laugh, every time I spent an hour or two with friends or family and felt some happiness (not the same kind of happiness, to be sure, but still...), and every time I made any sort of plan or decision without thinking, "What would John want or like?"

It's good to focus on just today and one thing at a time.  Please don't expect too much of yourself right now.  Yes, do try to find one small good thing each day when you can.  Although I don't have my own dog, good friends who live across the street do.  Their little sweetheart adores me, so since the beginning of the pandemic, she's come over to spend time with me three or four afternoons each week.  She's a 12 lb bundle of warmth, love, and joy who breathes life into the house and my heart.  For me, she's been a real blessing and sanity saver.  I'm glad you have a dog to take for walks, play with a little, and comfort you.  I know pets aren't right for everyone and I certainly am not ready to have the full time responsibility, but I don't know how I would have made it through isolation without her.

Welcome, though I am so sorry you have a reason to be here with us.  You've found a really good place to be.

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17 hours ago, foreverhis said:

I am learning to carry my grief as part of my life

Yes, this is what I experienced too.  Going through hard places seems to bring it to the surface more though, such as going through the horrid dog bite Saturday night, I miss my husband.  I talked with a friend afterwards and instead of getting consolation on what I was going through, he lectured me about not going even one mile over the speed limit!  I felt invalidated and nitpicked on.  (I'm not a speed demon, I usually go 58 in a 55 so as not to set off other drivers on our hwy which is notorious for fatalities.)  I instantly thought how George would have been understanding and compassionate, and it made me miss him afresh, that is the case whenever we experience hard places.  Damn!  Our spouses were rare and special.

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20 hours ago, foreverhis said:

What has changed and is changing for me, as I stumble my way forward, is that I am learning to carry my grief as part of my life, rather than it being the crushing, all-encompassing weight it was at first. 

foreverhis:  This is what I've been thinking about. How to carry my grief with me as I move (well, try to) forward. Your strength in figuring that out offers me hope. Right now it is hard for me to even deal with my grief, I've got so much else up in the air and feeling every emotion a person could ever possible feel. I'm tired of it. I know it's going to take time but I really really can't wait to have my own place and be able to focus on just day-to-day life. While grieving of course. But right now I feel I am merely existing and getting beat up. 

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2 hours ago, KayC said:

I instantly thought how George would have been understanding and compassionate, and it made me miss him afresh,

KayC:  I'm sorry that you were picked on instead of being consoled. My husband was always the first person I went to when I needed support and consoling. It's hard with our go-to's being gone now. It's partly why I feel angry at times.   

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3 hours ago, KayC said:

such as going through the horrid dog bite Saturday night,

KayC:  I just read your other post on another thread about being attacked and bitten. That's terrible. I sure hope your able to follow-up with a doctor. 

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foreverhis
22 hours ago, tnd said:

foreverhis:  This is what I've been thinking about. How to carry my grief with me as I move (well, try to) forward. Your strength in figuring that out offers me hope. Right now it is hard for me to even deal with my grief, I've got so much else up in the air and feeling every emotion a person could ever possible feel. I'm tired of it. I know it's going to take time but I really really can't wait to have my own place and be able to focus on just day-to-day life. While grieving of course. But right now I feel I am merely existing and getting beat up. 

Oh my dear, believe me when I say I was a little puddle of weakness for a pretty long time.  I didn't have anywhere near the challenges you have had and are facing.  The thing that helped me the most was finding the members here.  I have a wonderful small, loving, and loyal circle of friends and family.  I have the faith that John and I came to as our own, separate from the religions in which we'd been raised.  But it was here that I could express everything that no one else could understand and without fear of judgment.  Even after more than 3 years, I still have those horrible days that come crashing down and plenty of days where I seem to be in a holding pattern with no clear way forward.  But those days come less often and the pain doesn't last as long now.  To be honest, there were times in the first months where I truly did not believe that I would ever be able to smile again or care whether I lived or died.  Just in this past year or so, I've realized that I can smile, laugh even, and that I do care about being here for our girls and the people who love me and us.

Yes, I've also said so many times that I feel as if I am merely existing, not living, in a house that used to be a home.  Once you have your own place, you can focus on, well, you.  For now, all you can do is what you are doing, which is an accomplishment in itself!  You have had to do so much in so little time, all while trying to understand how your life and heart could be so shattered.

If you feel as if life has stomped you into the ground, it's because that's exactly what happened.  And yes, it does take time and is the hardest thing any of us have ever faced.  I wish I had some perfect or magic answer, but you've figured out by now that those things simply don't exist.  Remember that we care about you, we're here for you, and we will always listen.  ((HUGS))

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17 hours ago, tnd said:

How to carry my grief with me as I move (well, try to) forward.

You're very early in this, it takes much time to get there.  Plus you've had extenuating circumstances that have not allowed you to focus solely on your grief/processing meanwhile, so I hope you grant yourself much patience.

 

17 hours ago, tnd said:

I sure hope your able to follow-up with a doctor. 

I went to the hospital, got home 1:30 am Sunday.  Monday morning I saw my doctor's nurse practitioner, she didn't do anything but look at it.  Can't lift or get it wet, it'll be hard doing what I need to do.  I did build a fire but can't get my gloves on, too much swelling.

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16 hours ago, foreverhis said:

If you feel as if life has stomped you into the ground, it's because that's exactly what happened.  And yes, it does take time and is the hardest thing any of us have ever faced.  I wish I had some perfect or magic answer, but you've figured out by now that those things simply don't exist.  Remember that we care about you, we're here for you, and we will always listen.  ((HUGS))

foreverhis:  Thank you so very much for sharing what you went through and are still going through and how you cope. Because you are willing to share your own grief I learn a lot and it also helps to not feel so alone with how I feel. Don't know what I'd ever do without my friends on here. All this is so maddening and crazy but I am slowly learning to remind myself that "tomorrow might be a good day". 

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6 hours ago, KayC said:

I went to the hospital, got home 1:30 am Sunday.  Monday morning I saw my doctor's nurse practitioner, she didn't do anything but look at it. 

KayC:  Did you need stitches and were you given antibiotics? Animal bites are the nastiest. I once got bit by a feral cat that had actually started letting me pet him. But I guess the day he bit me he didn't want to be touched. The bite wasn't deep or anything but sure hurt. He packed a punch. 

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They glued the wounds but missed one and two didn't glue, the biggest one across my knuckle is open, you only have a short span in which you can do it so it's too late now but it was bleeding profusely even hours later so it wouldn't take.  Once the tissue starts dying it's too late, it will have to heal from the inside out and it's in the worst possible place for that.

I'm on one week Augmentin, which is a broad spectrum, not specifically targeted to this area so hope it's enough.  I hate antibiotics because they destroy the healthy gut bacteria, but it's kind of a necessary evil sometimes.  This is very painful, a lot of trauma to the hand where I already had too much trauma and arthritis from it.

20 hours ago, tnd said:

Don't know what I'd ever do without my friends on here.

I feel the same.  When you live alone and don't have your partner anymore...it helps to connect with caring people...even on the internet.  I know behind each username is a real person, caring, unique, breathing.:wub:

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3 hours ago, KayC said:

I'm on one week Augmentin, which is a broad spectrum, not specifically targeted to this area so hope it's enough.  I hate antibiotics

KayC:  Sorry you have to take antibiotics but finish ALL of them. Hope you can follow-up with a doctor, might need a second round. As you know, diabetics have to be especially careful. As for the antibiotics messing with gut bacteria (because we do need some in our gut), you can try having yogurt. My husband had to do that and even a doctor agreed. 

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3 hours ago, KayC said:

When you live alone and don't have your partner anymore...it helps to connect with caring people...even on the internet.

KayC:  Even when you are surrounded by caring people they may not understand. The friends (including you) on here are invaluable. I don't feel quite right until I check in on here. Even tho it's the internet I feel I am in good company. You guys are "my peeps". 

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19 hours ago, tnd said:

Even when you are surrounded by caring people they may not understand.

Oh for sure!  Esp. when itt comes to illness and grief that they have not gone through themselves.

19 hours ago, tnd said:

Hope you can follow-up with a doctor, might need a second round.

No way, I'll continue healing on my own after this course is done UNLESS I see sign of infection, Augmentin is making me way too ill even with Gas-X, can't even sleep from the stomach pain from it!

I take Greek Yogurt, Chickpeas, and Probiotics, as well as Apple Cider Vinegar & supplements for my gut health every day, I eat super healthy as well as walk.

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