Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just normal grief??

After my post about me and crowds, a friend messaged me (you know who you are and thank you for all of the support you've given me) and told me it sounds like I might have PTSD. She told me that her husband, who served in Iraq, is the same way with crowds and anger. Honestly, I haven't given it a single thought. It never crossed my mind that I could be suffering from it. Is this PTSD or just normal grieving?? Going through the symptoms of PTSD, I am thinking I may fall under the category of normal grieving. Perhaps some of my actions could be considered PTSD? Do you have to have a certain number of the symptoms to have it or just one?

I've heard moms say that around 6 months things can get harder. I've been doing pretty good so far, but things have definitely been a little tough lately. Maybe it's because I'm not just missing my daughter, but that I am grieving for the 6 month old that isn't here. The 6 month old that I will never know and the milestones she will never achieve. Lately, the tears come a little easier but so do other emotions I would rather not, like frustration and anger. I've been doing so well (in my opinion) these months since Carleigh has been gone that I'm afraid of taking a step back. I don't want to be an emotional mess. I want to continue being happy.

It was just a year and a half ago that I was suffering from PASS. It's a place I don't want to revisit. The person that existed then didn't feel like me and I am thankful that I have experienced peace, healing, and forgiveness in this area of my life. God and counseling got me out of the dark hole I was sinking in. I think that part of my life has helped me in dealing with my journey with Carleigh. There's no way I can sink any lower than dealing with the reality that I paid someone to kill my own child.

I've been spending some time in Proverbs lately thanks to my cousin Kate. She is leading a few of us in reading through the book of Proverbs on her ministry blog. I am glad I am reading along with her. There are so many great verses in Proverbs that have encouraged me. I need to spend more time in the Bible and in praying. I don't want to go through the motions and lately it feels like I have.


Karen said...


Please know that you are in my prayers. This is a tough journey and it seems to take you on many twists and turns.

I have experienced simialar things. Just when I thought that things were going pretty well, my world seems to cave in again.

All I know to do is lean on Jesus. He is the only way to live through all of this. I know you have been doing this. Please be encouraged. You are such a Blessing to so many!

Don't be too hard on yourself. I do believe it takes quit a bit to heal. I also believe that our hearts will always ache for these babies.

Keeping you in my prayers,

Franchesca Cox said...

Someone told me from experience, it does get harder around the 5-6 month mark. And you are so right, it starts to become about all the things they will never do. Never. That is so hard for me. I think it is a good thing that you have identified where this grief has taken you so far. I am so glad you got some help through your last post. I hope you continue to get encouraged in the Word of God.


Kate said...

After Andy died I had a hard time going to the movies. Odd, I know, it's not like he died in a movie theater, but I would get panic attacks, and couldn't handle sitting through an entire movie. My freshman year of college is when this all started. So that was 4 years after his death. I think emotions just take over with no warning, and no reason. It could be PTSD from a counselor's point of view, but I think it could be too early diagnose. But I would go talk to someone about it, maybe your pastor or a counselor at the women's ministry you help out.

Missing Kasey said...

Things got really bad for me too around 6 months and then it started to turn around. You are grieving and like Karen said don't be too hard on your self! The grieving process is a long one. You are in my thoughts!!

Lucy and Ethel said...

Losing a child IS traumatic stress!!! You're still in the relatively early phase of grief, where out of the the blue, you feel like you've slid perilously close to square one, if not ON it. Triggers may or may not be obvious or even present.

Jeffrey's 12th angel anniversary is coming up in a few weeks, and I still feel 'it' at this time of year. I have a feeling it might help explain at least part of your emotional upheaval, too.

For one, it's fall. Leaves are turning and are gorgeous (here, anyway), and when the leaves fall off the trees, it means the end of the active growing season, the end of the year... and it reminds us of the end of life... for our BABIES.

ALSO, it's impossible to ignore the upcoming holidays. Even for folks who don't do much or anything for the holidays, there is a general atmosphere - manufactured in stores, genuine among friends and family (usually!) - that pervades our entire being, starting NOW. It's doubtful that everyone bustling around with a cart full of gifts is truly happy, but we don't think about that. We think about what's missing. Our babies.

For ME, all of fall is pretty emotional. I find myself snapping at others, and even though it's not BAD, I try not to do it at all - ever! In working on the revision of the book about Jeffrey recently, it was considerably harder this time than during the last revision, when my dad had just died.

And it's been TWELVE years since Jeffrey's death.

In a word, grief is excruciating. There's never an end to it, either; you just learn to cope and move on... and be happy and thankful for the distractions your other little gal provides.

Remind yourself - constantly, as long as you need to do so - that Carleigh is in THE perfect place.

Lots of hugs and prayers from a fellow angel mom,


Trisha Larson said...

So much to say...so little time. But I do want to tell you that my grief counselor told me that Post Tramatic Stress Syndrome applied to us because we watched Nate as he died. It was like an episode of ER in the trama room with people running in and out, blood tranfusions, cpr, and they cut him open right in front of us. All stuff that our brains are not capable of understanding which is why we had such horrific images in our heads for so long. It is possible to have the anxiety without the other and my guess is that is what you are suffering from.

I don't know that it's the 6 months so much as it is the fact that the Holidays are coming and you are supposed to be preparing for baby's 1st Christmas. Plus the fact that you are getting a NO month after month. I'm going through both of those same things right now and it's been 19 months since Nate died.

It helps for me to realize when I'm "spinning" so that I can turn around and focus on the good. It's still a lot of work but it helps to take control of my life instead of having it spin out around me.


Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

My dear, sweet friend...the sea of grief comes in waves when it wishes. I think you are still doing fine...you have walked this path with such grace. The sorrow and anger you are feeling (although unpleasant to experience) are understandable and normal. (In my completely non-professional opinion, of course.)So many things can trigger those emotions. I have had similar experiences.

Leaning on the Lord is the best thing that you can do...resting in His arms as He carries you. And He will, as you know. You have such a beautiful, compassionate heart. Keep trusting Him...one step at a time, He will lead you. And...give yourself grace...healing takes time.

Love and prayers...

Christy said...

It was helpful for me to read your post and then read some of the comments--some great ones. I just want to tell you that it is justified, all of it. No one here, at least, is oging to judge you. Don't be hard on yourself. Cry when you need to, sob if you have to. Read and comment--continue to help others in the terrific way that you do. Wish I could give you a hug. There's times when I just want to find someone to cry with because it's usually when I'm on here that I need it. But know that we are here, just as you are for us.

Veronica said...

Holly...I'm so sorry that things have been so rough lately. I can't even imagine what you're going through but I just want you to know I will be praying for you! :)

Jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jess said...

I'm so sorry you are hitting a rough spot in the road right now. I think at this stage in the grieving process, what you are experiencing is probably normal. I don't know much about PTSD, but I know I had a really hard time around the three month mark, and I think certain times it just hits us differently. I haven't made it to 6 months yet, but I have heard that can be harder too. You have been such an example to me and so many through your blog, and have been glorifying God through all of it. I pray that He will give you a special grace and peace during these times when the sadness can just feel like a sudden slap in the face, or come out in all sorts of different emotions. You are precious, and your love for both of your sweet girls is a beautiful thing, even though it can hurt so much. Hugs and Prayers!!

Jess said...

Holly, if you're wondering about the deleted comment, I somehow did that by accident, and then just reposted my message, sorry!:)

stitchndeb said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I wonder if you could be going through PASS again. Mine got triggered again after my hysterectomy in 2006, and having Carleigh is obviously more traumatic than that. You have been nothing but gracious to me and everyone else who visits your blog, and you should be entitled to be out of sorts sometimes! Everyone understands and it's okay. ~Debbie

Cecilia said...

I don't know much about PTSD so I don't have an educated opinion, but your emotions sound a lot like my own grief (and it sounds like many others). I agree with many of the other comments, I know the holidays are playing a role in my anxiety. Praying for you!

MommyIvy said...

Don't be too hard on yourself Holly. You have lost a child and it is ok to feel those emotions and to grieve. Keep reading the Bible and praying. You have plenty of people out here praying for you. God will pull you through if you allow him to. You are loved by too many.

Just Breathe said...

I think that PTSD isn't a bad guess but who could really know.
Tramatic for sure, how do you move forward after that. Grieving the loss of a child has got to be the most terrible thing in the world.
Everyone goes through it differently, we know that. But it's only been six months I think that your grief is normal but who am I to say. My heart aches for you Holly. ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

Losing a child is definitely a traumatic experience, the therapists who led my support group, told us that along with the grief of losing our children, there is also the trauma of experiencing the loss, of knowing firsthand that babies can die before their parents.

please don't think you're stepping backwards, regardless of whether you are grieving or experiencing PTSD or both. as others have said, some days or weeks or months are just harder than the rest, and all you can do is pray and lean on the One who can carry us through these difficult passages.

you have been and continue to be a beautiful mother to Carleigh and Kyndra.


Once A Mother said...

I feel so grateful that you have your Faith in Him to get you through. I can tell you that I am 12 months out, and there are still days that take me back to where I was in the beginning. For some reason I hit eight months, and had a little stretch where it felt like it was getting easier, but I now realize it is just cyclical. Thinking of you...

Celia said...

I feel the exact same way whenever we go out into public. Anywhere there might be the slightest hint of a crowd. I can feel the anxiety building in me from the moment I know there is a crowd there. It's no wonder I have become such a home body. I can honestly tell you that due to the way I feel I just don't venture out that much any more.

I wish there was a way to move past things and not have this affect us so badly. I think that all of this is very normal, especially since there are so many of us mom's who feel the same way.

At least you are getting out and doing and not hiding away like some hermit....much love and prayers to you....

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