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Forums / Grief and loss / Lifelong depression, anxiety and panic compounded by the recent unexpected loss of my mother

Topic: Lifelong depression, anxiety and panic compounded by the recent unexpected loss of my mother

9 posts, 0 answered
  1. Tiredgirl
    Tiredgirl avatar
    9 posts
    3 November 2018

    I need help and advice, please.

    I am a 25 year old woman who has dealt with anxiety, depression and and panic disorder since puberty.

    I am yet to find treatment that works for me, though I am yet to give up. I have found several roadblocks in terms of costs and waiting lists. For as long as I can remember I have found it increasingly more difficult to go to work (and as a child, school) I find myself having panic attacks the night before or the morning of a shift. I have begun to wonder if this is a form of agoraphobia, as any activity where I feel that I cannot immediately leave if I want to, seems to trigger this for me.

    I have fought through this for so long, with it increasingly becoming more difficult. Most of the time I can force myself to do what I need to do despite the nausea and racing heart and general feeling of needing to run far away. But for the last year or so it has had such a hold on me, causing me to miss alot of work and lose a job.

    I decided to study for 12 months instead of working, but the same panic affected me in the same way when it came to placement - and it once again beat me, I'm now forced to withdraw because I was unable to complete the placement.

    This has left me feeling suicidal more than once, feeling as though I'll never be a functioning person, though I never act on it because I couldn't hurt my loved ones in that way.

    I refused to sink this time, and picked myself up almost immediately and threw myself into jobs interviews and casual work before securing a full time position.

    Three days before I was due to start this job my mother very suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. I was with her and performed cpr on her until the paramedics arrived, they were unable to revive her.

    I did well at first, I kept myself busy, planning the funeral and staying strong for those around me - not wanting them to worry about me.

    But now I just feel hopeless. I took a month off and went to work for a couple of weeks before I got injured and then sick, causing me to miss the past week and dread going back.

    I feel that everything is just too hard, how do I deal with these issues as well as dealing with the loss of my mother simultaneously. I am exhausted, I have been exhausted for so long and now I just feel I have nothing left.

    All of my friends and family have been wonderful, but it's true that everyone begins to disappear after a few weeks. I feel I'm just a burden to them now.

    Please help.

  2. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
    3546 posts
    4 November 2018 in reply to Tiredgirl

    Hi Tiredgirl and welcome.

    I'm sorry to hear that your friends and family have started to disappear right when you need support. Have you felt able to reach out to anyone and admit you are struggling?

    Providing first aid can be an enormously distressing experience, let alone trying to someone you deeply love. I am sorry that your Mum passed away and think it is totally understandable that your grief has shaken your confidence at work.

    Have you spoken to anyone about this?

    Like you I have always been highly anxious about work. Even in long term jobs I thought it was normal to feel as anxious as the first day on the job every single day.

    What helped was visiting my GP and the medication I am on. Medication is not a cure all but it can help reduce the anxiety to a level you can function at.

    Have you considered what kind of work would reduce your anxiety? I find working alone has helped me a lot. It helps to know I have certain jobs to do and it is on me to manage my time. If money wasn't an object what would you do?

    I hope you can find some peace here. It is a safe place to talk about whatever you need to.

    Nat

  3. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    4 November 2018 in reply to Tiredgirl

    Hello Tiredgirl

    Welcome to the forum. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother.

    It is a very normal thing to mourn the loss of your mom no matter the circumstances so try not to see it as a weakness. I cried every night for months when I got home from work after my mom passed away. I would even hide in the toilets at work sometimes when my grief overwhelmed me. Mourn your mom but never be ashamed of your tears. It's very normal.

    It's also normal to immerse yourself in the inevitable paperwork etc that follows someone's death. After a few weeks friends and family start to drift away often with the belief that you are OK. Reaching out to some of these people can help. If anything the grief is worse once you stop running around.

    Do you have any professional help? Perhaps it would help if you had some grief counselling. It may also be beneficial to see a psychologist about your panic. You have lived with this for a long time and it will not disappear overnight. However you have not given up on hope and you are still battling. Ask your GP for help. I found my GP amazing.

    Do you have a pet? Having a dog around can be so very comforting. You will need to take it for walks which will get you out of the house and into less frequented places. Dogs are wonderful. When I was a child I used to sit on the floor with our dog and tell him all troubles. He understood every word (maybe) but it felt so good to get my unhappiness off my chest. And best of all, he never told anyone about my tears.

    Mary

  4. Tiredgirl
    Tiredgirl avatar
    9 posts
    5 November 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Nat

    Thankyou so much for your reply.

    I've tried to reach out to friends and family but I just feel like a burden to them, I feel like I'm just repeating myself over and over and I feel like they are getting annoyed.

    I haven't spoken to a professional yet, finances have been very tight as I haven't been able to work though I do plan on making an appointment in the next couple of weeks. I have been trying to access someone since the beginning of this year, I've gone through the correct process with the mental health care plan but the waiting lists for psychologists and the costs of sessions have made it near impossible.

    I have found a medication that helps with the acute panic before work, but it also makes me really drowsy which doesn't go so well with the lack of sleep.

    I would love to be able to work alone, I think it would really help on those days where the world just seems too hard to face. I've spent my working life in customer service (which was no good for me) and early childhood (which I do love but find exhausting when I'm depressed - always having to be 'on' and happy for the children. I've begun studying a different field I hope to give me more flexibility, but I'm just finding the here and now so difficult to cope with.

    Can I ask how you go with work anxiety now? How have you learnt to cope with it?

    I apologise also for the long post!

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Tiredgirl
    Tiredgirl avatar
    9 posts
    5 November 2018 in reply to White Rose

    Hi Mary,

    Thankyou so much for your reply.

    How did you get through the day at work dealing with the grief? I'm just finding it too exhausting to face.

    Yes, you're absolutely right I think it really hit me once all the running around stopped and everyone assumed I was doing okay.

    I'm in the process of seeing a psychologist, I had spent months on the waiting list and had the initial intake appointment perhaps a week before mum passed, I cancelled the next appointment as everything got very busy and I'm yet to reschedule because of finances. But my GP did suggest seeing a bereavement counsellor also, perhaps I'll book another appointment with my GP to discuss this.

    I do have a dog, I found myself feeling very thankful for her just this morning as I realised I'd be feeling quite alone without her.

    I apologise for the very long original post, thankyou for taking the time to read it reach out to me.

  6. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    6 November 2018 in reply to Tiredgirl

    Hello Tiredgirl

    I can understand where you found your name. Perhaps in a while you will feel able to change it to something more upbeat. Now that would be fantastic.

    Please never apologise for the length of your post. You cannot exceed 2500 characters as the system will refuse the post. I like to know how you are going and how you feel. It gives me an opportunity to offer you appropriate support and to chat generally.

    My mom died in England so I flew there with my two daughters. It was good they were with me as I had no idea what was happening at times. My mom died on Christmas Day and because it was public holidays around then we were able to get to the funeral.

    I was glad to get home and of course face the Australian summer, a huge contrast to the English winter. I went back to work almost immediately as I was upset all the time at home on my own. Children flown the coop and husband at work.

    There were times at work when I would have this sudden physical pain as something reminded me of mom. I had to learn to breathe which helped me not to cry. It's a good technique, just breathe, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Take several breaths. The pain would go and I could get on with what I was doing.

    I sat at a computer for long periods of the day but also spent time walking around the office, all five floors, as this was part of my role as WH&S Officer. I wore several hats so could swop what I was working on for something less upsetting and then go back when I was OK. I did find the most trivial of things would trigger my crying and it was impossible to predict when it would happen.

    If I was very upset I would retire to the toilets. My colleagues knew about mom and were supportive. It is good to have work colleagues who care. I found lots of tasks I needed to do, well mostly. It helped to change where I was sitting and go walkabout, or change to do something different. I don't think my work suffered, in fact I may have been more productive as I found concentrating on what I was doing kept the sad thoughts at bay.

    By the time I got home I had a day's worth of tears to release. I think I cried every day at home for at least six months. Then I slowly cried less often but I was quite fragile for a while. It was hard to know I would not see her again. I know you also feel this way about your mom and the reality is you will feel sad and lost for a while.

    Over word limit.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  7. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    6 November 2018 in reply to White Rose

    We are not supposed to make double posts but I wanted to say this bit to you.

    This happens for everyone who has lost someone they care about deeply. Don't mean to sound pessimistic, I want you to know that it does take time but you will heal and be able to remember mom with love and smiles.
    I have suggested to others you may like to have a meeting of the family to reminisce about mom in a little while. Set aside an afternoon or whatever time, and get everyone to bring photos etc, talk about mom and remember the funny events you shared as well as the sadness. Maybe you can plant a tree in her memory.

    All these sorts of things help to celebrate her life and give you comfort. I hope this helps.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
    3546 posts
    9 November 2018 in reply to Tiredgirl

    Hi Tiredgirl (and a wave to dear Mary too 😊).

    I read Mary's posts about grieving and so agree! As cliche as it sounds time helps. It doesn't make your loss hurt less. Even years later I have times where I feel so distressed without her.

    But in time I could think of my Grandma without my first thought being loss and grief. And that was when the many good memories returned. I started being able to think of her without always feeling desperately sad and alone.

    As to your question... I feel much more relaxed at work now most of the time. It is not just the medicine though.

    I quit my job and started again. Stopped worrying about what people wanted me to do and chose something I felt comfortable doing. I clean and garden at a school. People do make comments at times but I don't care anymore.

    The gardening part I'm struggling with at the moment because it is when the kids are at school so breaks set me off at times. Too many people and the kids are always curious. I'm like you needing to perform and feeling drained by it. Cleaning is better because I'm alone and it's before dawn and quiet.

    Early childhood would be exhausting! I worked a lot in retail too and totally agree it is hard and emotionally draining work.

    Another GP trip sounds like a solid plan. You really do sound like you need some supports in place. Have you asked your GP about alternative meds or a different dosage if the anxiety meds make you too drowsy? Meds can be trial and error until you find something that helps. But it is worth telling your GP how these ones are affecting you.

    Have you tried phoning any of the helplines? If you feel unable to lean on family it really does help to just talk to someone. Especially when you know they aren't going to judge you or make you feel like you're burdening them.

    You're not a burden ok. You're human and hurting. It's normal and ok to need help.

    Nat

  9. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    10 November 2018 in reply to Tiredgirl

    Hello Tiredgirl

    Dropping by to say hello and ask how you are coping. You are still grieving and it's hard. Can you drop a line here to say you are OK? I would love to hear from you.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful

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