We grieve when we get sick. And we grieve again when after getting well, we get sick again. Then the grieving can be even more terrible because you know what’s coming. In Pearla’s case, she didn’t know she was grieving but she knew she was sad and terrified at the same time.
I asked her if she thought that staying in bed, loosing interest, isolating, crying jags out of the blue might be related her grief about getting sick again. She said no at first and then said, “I’m disappointed. I thought this was over for me.” All over, she couldn’t trust herself.
Pearla was afraid. And that fear was always there. Now she couldn’t put it out of her mind. “What if I have another panic attack? I can’t take it!” “What if,” was always on her mind.
Readers, a panic attack is more terrifying than just about any immediate experience. If you’ve never had one, it is almost impossible to imagine the depth of terror it causes. It is so horrible, that people even change professions because of it. I remember a surgeon who actually went back to residency and studied a new specialty because he linked his panic to his profession. That’s another 4 years of grueling work, readers. That’s the kind of fear panic produces.
Pearla was not only in the throes of this fear, she was also in the throes of grief. This is a deep sadness any of us who have lost a beloved hope can relate to. Pearla didn’t know that was why she didn’t want to get out of bed. All she knew is over the last 2 weeks she was loosing herself and in exchange, getting something she desperately did not want.
Somehow though, after hearing about her sadness from her own mouth, Pearla agreed. She saw the grief and after seeing grief, she could be more present with it. It was almost like her face materially came out from hiding. Grief lost some hold on her. She was a little less sad and a little less afraid.
Self-Care Tip #111 – Let yourself grieve. Be a friend to yourself.
Question: How do you grieve? Was it worth it to you? Please tell me your story.
I can relate to Perla and to the surgeon. I had more than one panic attack flying from one country to another, some times I was alone, sometimes with my husband. My heart was beating like crazy, couldn’t breath, my whole body was reacting. I would go to the bathroom and blow inside those paper bags that airplanes have, trying to find some relief. After a few minutes of talking to myself that everything was going to be OK, that I knew how these things work, my body started to relax, I felt so tired, so ready to avoid flying again, but I didn’t surrender, I continued taking those trips and little by little I gained control. Lately, these fears have been coming back again but I remember that in the past I survived, I think I can do it again.
Thank you for sharing your story Mila. I’m sorry to hear that those fears are coming back and hope you feel better soon. It must be disappointing to you at some level also. If it doesn’t get better with these efforts you are doing, knowing that it has happened to others and that there are options out there for good medical treatment hopefully helps too for hope. You are not alone. Keep on!
The panic attack I suffered years ago has had the lasting effect of my wanting to never have one again. It changed my life. Less intense attacks still occur and may last for days. I know they will not last. It seems they are the precursor to or the result of depression. Sometimes, if going on too long, I think about seeking a change in medicine. Much of my daily efforts (exercise and nutrition) were implemented as a result of the first attack. I am also on guard when there are less daylight hours per day.
Hey stranger! Thanks for reading and commenting Richard. I hear you and you are so not alone. What can I say from this distance, except that you are beautiful in your vulnerability and your voice is strong. Keep talking for everyone’s sake.
Pingback: The Healing Process Can Be Confusing. « A Friend to Yourself