Updated: Sep 7, 2020
After my daughter died, I couldn't imagine how I would be able to survive.
Grief is horrible. It changes every aspect about you - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. You can hardly remember your own name most of the time. You cry non-stop or at random things, you can't sleep, your anger is off the charts, you don't act rationally. I think every one of us feels like we are going crazy.
Here's the thing: you are NOT crazy and this feeling of being out of control and in zombie mode 100% of the time is NORMAL. This is grief. You have gone through the worst that life can throw at you so why wouldn't you feel a little crazy? Grief throws us into "survival mode" where our hearts continue to beat and we continue to breathe in and out but we barely function otherwise. It's our body's way of protecting us.
I remember early grief when I was only getting 2-4 hours of sleep at night and couldn't cope AT ALL. I would shout at my family for no reason because I felt so out of control. I couldn't do anything or go anywhere without tears welling up in my eyes. I thought for sure everyone around me must have thought I was nuts.
I wanted the pain to go away so badly that I counted out sleeping pills one day and thought about ways I could get to the other side to see my girl. As scary as that was, I think that to a degree, fleeting thoughts of seeing our child on the other side are normal as long as it doesn't become an obsessive thought where we lose the ability to think rationally.
Simple things like going to the grocery store made me so anxious, I could only manage to go for three items or I'd have a panic attack. I don't know why that happened. The crowds? The noise? I remember one day in particular. I walked into the busy supermarket and promptly forgot the three things I had come for. I started to sweat and could feel the tears well up in my eyes. The panicked feeling was unreal and I thought 'what is going on?'. I walked around until I remembered what I had come for. I quickly bought the items and hurried out of the store.
Surely I was going crazy.
I sat in my SUV shaking, wondering what had just happened. How could Katie's accident be causing my anxiety attacks at the grocery store? I found out that experiences like mine was just grief manifesting itself physically, emotionally, and socially. Ugh.
You are grieving and these kinds of reactions can happen. If something is causing you stress, find another way or person to help you. For me, ordering my groceries (and most everything) online was a lifesaver. If people ask what they can do to help, give them the tasks that you find to difficult. And don't forget to talk to a professional about your feelings. They can often help you manage your grief and give you helpful coping strategies for situations like the one I mentioned above.
Please know that you are not crazy. You are grieving and you are not alone.
Together we are stronger,