Some nights I let myself look back at old blog posts. They seem like they were written by someone else, about another family, living another life. I barely remember writing those words. I barely remember feeling so carefree. I do remember thinking how good my life was.
I’ve been having a lot of panic attacks lately. At first they were all centered around Annabel. If I couldn’t see her when I was falling asleep for a nap, I would freak out. So Mike started sitting with me until I fell asleep. It helped me get much-needed rest.
But now that Annie is bigger and sleeping better, my panic attacks have morphed into something different, something worse. I have started having what I call “alternate realities.” My brain starts imagining what COULD have happened, and they are always about Madeline. What would have happened if she’d died the night she was born? What if she’d died in the ambulance on the way to the NICU? What if I hadn’t checked out of the hospital in time? And then I think about the day she died…what if I’d still been working? What if I hadn’t been with her that day? What if I’d been stuck in traffic?
Just writing these has caused me to panic, I have tears on my face and I feel like I can hardly breathe. I try to talk to my therapists about these but I just cannot adequately convey the absolute FEAR that strikes me when these scenarios race through my mind – even though these things didn’t happen. It’s hideous post traumatic stress.
I don’t know what to do. Usually when I give voice to my fears, they go away. But not these. I still have a giant lump in my throat. I am still gasping for air. I’ve had to stop writing this post eight times.
My psychiatrist has given me a safe prescription to take if I feel wildly overwhelmed by these attacks, but I am very reluctant to take anything that would make me less present for Annabel.
In the end, pills are only a temporary fix anyway. I still have to live this life where one day I can function, even laugh, and the next day I am so low that I am crawling on the ground. I still have horrendous memories and giant “what if” question marks floating over my head. My Maddie is gone. I don’t know what to do.
Oh Heather, so much love to you, I’m so that you’re having these attacks, I hope and pray they go away soon!
.-= Karyn´s last blog ..Feed Califmom and her fam =-.
That sounds horrible (how inadequet does that sound?)
.-= Bec´s last blog ..Of comments and insults =-.
I wish I had something – anything – useful to say… Instead, I can only offer love and hugs…
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Sleepin’ =-.
exactly, kelly. just sending much love your way heather.
The only way to get through it… is to go through it. And how wildly unfair that is. I am so, so sorry you have to face this life without your Madeline. I am so, so sorry she died.
I’m thinking of you and Mike, praying for Annabel, remembering Maddie. Every day.
All my love.
Panic attacks suck so horribly and I don’t have a thing to add but it sure is great that Mike sits with you. Understanding partners make life so much easier.
.-= habanerogal´s last blog ..A Quickie Quitting Update =-.
I do not know you personally, but I miss your Maddie every day all the same.
( I feel like anything I could say would be inadequate as well, but know that we’re praying, hoping, & thinking of you)
kathy butler says:
I have had panic attacks for years for some unknown reason and they are born from ‘what ifs’ ~your hormones have ALOT to do with it plus your post partum, lack of sleep & grief are adding a massive amount of stress on you and your body is overwhelmed. Try to get all the sleep you can and get out with Annie in her stroller and go at a brisk pace..you’re already surrounded with supportive family & friends and have great medical support but the anxiety/panic is the worst feeling EVER & besides meds not much can take it away…..I hate that with all you’ve dealt with you now have to face this crap! Oh supposedly breathing into a paper bag is supposed to help???
I second, third, fourth AND fifth this. This is excellent advice and I can’t add anything to it. My panic attacks come when I am bone tired, run down, exhaused. Either mentally or physically. So THIS is great advice.
So there’s that. And I love you and I’m so sorry about Maddie. I hate that she’s gone. For all of you.
.-= Amy´s last blog ..I guess I should say SOMETHING… =-.
I agree. When my children were fresh babies, I would have random images of them going through something not really possible, but horrible (like getting mauled by lions). They would start to go away after a few months. Very normal stuff, but it sucks.
I don’t know you, but I think about Madeline every day.
Dear sweet Heather,
I’m so sorry you are going through such a difficult time with these panic attacks. And I don’t even have the words to convey just how very sorry I am that your precious Maddie is gone. I think of your precious girl Maddie every day, she’s the first person in my thoughts when I wake up. I think of you and Mike too every day and I read your blog every, single morning. I send you love from afar every day and today I’m sending lots of love again and a big hug. Mike is such a supportive and loving husband, I was so touched to read that he sits by you until you fall asleep. I’m thinking of you all always, dear sweet Heather.
Lots of love
It sounds like you might benefit from EFT. If you google it, you should find a practioner near you.
It breaks your mind and behavioural patterns, it sounds odd, but don’t dismiss it. EFT has worked for all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons.
My son died 4 years ago last month and I still have those panic attacks I have an appointment in June with a Psychologist, I’m hoping they can do something for me. Four years of this has drained me.
.-= Kat´s last blog ..I am what I am =-.
Katie in WI says:
I’m so sorry. I hope the Psychologist is able to help you.
I WISH i had something to say…something to help. But…im sorry i dont. All i can personally do is still support you by reading your thoughts, and still reminding you that many people love and care about you…i think of you often, wish the best, and even shed tears for you. I know thats all that i can personally do…but i can promise i will continue. Hope you feel better….hugs…and kisses xoxo
There are no words I have to heal, no thoughts to protect or save you…only my prayers and hopes that you can find a peaceful ground to mourn, yet not suffer!
oh honey that is horrible. i hate those what ifs & i hate panic & anxiety attacks. i too am very familiar with them. what helps? breathing, exercising, eating good healthy food, try to get some relaxation, therapy & of course love from your friend & family. that’s what has helped me through the death of my baby & other family troubles.
.-= Rebecca´s last blog ..saturday morning =-.
J from Ireland says:
Aw hon that is very sad. I am sorry you have these attacks. I don’t know what to say. Best wishes to you.
.-= J from Ireland´s last blog ..Happy St. Patricks Day =-.
I can’t express in words how much your family has touched me. My oldest was born 7 weeks prematurely. He was only in NICU for 12 days, NOTHING compared to what some of the other babies went through. Most of the time I don’t even think of his prematurity, because he never had delays or issues from it. I do remember the day they rushed a baby in and drew privacy screens around her. I remember seeing her little purple thigh through gaps in the screen while they were trying to save her life. I remember coming back later and looking around the NICU. She wasn’t there. Later, her mother came in. In 6 years, I haven’t forgotten that single moment I saw her. She was lost and I’ll never forget that. I can’t even remember the other “graduates” or their mothers, but I remember her. Because for one second, I knew that could have been me.
You are always in my thoughts Heather, you and Maddie and Annie and Mike. I’m not nearly as eloquent as you are, but I wanted you to know that you impacted a life an ocean away more than you can ever imagine. I desperately wish I had some wisdom to make things easier for you and feel helpless in admitting that I can’t.
During my last pg (my baby was born on 11 January at 35w5d gestation), I became extremely anxious. I couldn’t eat or sleep for more than a week. My mind raced constantly. I started taking some supplements and they helped a LOT. I hope that you can find something that can help you with your anxiety too.
oh honey that is horrible. i hate those what ifs & i hate panic & anxiety attacks. i too am very familiar with them. what helps? breathing, exercising, eating good healthy food, try to get some relaxation, therapy & of course love from your friend & family. that’s what has helped me through the death of my baby & other family troubles.
.-= Rebecca´s last blog ..saturday morning =-.
Kate @ UpsideBackwards says:
Sending you lots of hugs and love.
.-= Kate @ UpsideBackwards´s last blog ..In which we exasperate each other =-.
Have you ever heard of square breathing? It really helps because you have to completely concentrate on your breathing. Obviously it won’t stop the thoughts, but can give you some bit of control. Dr. Joy Browne describes it best….google her she has a website. Best of luck sweetie, you deserve it!
I am so sorry that you are going through this! It really isn’t fair. I second the suggestion to look into EFT. We experienced some traumatic events after Hurricane Katrina and considered it.
My thoughts are with you every day!
Lynn from For Love or Funny says:
The worst thing that could happen to a parent, happened to you. Keep talking about it. Keep seeking help. Annie and Mike need you.
.-= Lynn from For Love or Funny´s last blog ..I haiku, don’t you? =-.
I don’t know where you are at in your faith right now but I would like to share a verse that might bring you comfort.
Psalms 34:4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears.
Amanda M. says:
How unpleasant it is to be crippled by panic over things that you know aren’t even possible anymore. I wish I had any kind of advice. You are loved and supported by so many people.
.-= Amanda M.´s last blog ..Planning a Trip to Japan: Part 8 =-.
Heather, I hope and hope that by writing it out here, you get some much deserved relief. Thinking of you, lady.
.-= Christine´s last blog ..Privileged =-.
When you have an attack try counting allowed to 10 over and over again, SLOWLY. It controls the breathing and makes you focus on something else.
The meds you’ve been prescribed wont fix anything, that can only be done through your mind absorbing what you have been through. But it will give your head ‘space’, and give you chance to rest and Annie time to grow. You may only need them for 6 months,, and teamed with counselling may get you to a stage that you can cope with the enormity of what lies ahead – life.
Counselling and time, you’ve got one, now give yourself a break with the other.
Karen, I was going to say the same thing. I was assaulted several years ago and my therapist recommended exactly what you’ve said. The breathing allows you to get control back and get to a “happy” place.
I fought taking my “happy” pills until I couldn’t take it anymore. They do help. You don’t have to be on them forever.
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..Pepperidge Farm Vanilla Goldfish Grahams =-.
Sara @TomTheGirl says:
I am a huge advocate of anti-anxiety meds, as you may already know. While the pills won’t fix everything, or anything, themselves, they will put you in a mindset which will allow you process and cope with what has happened.
I hope that you aren’t afraid to take these meds if you need them. I was afraid for a long LONG time, but once I did, I was able to work through my issues and deal with my fears.
love you, and i’m here if you ever need to talk about anxiety, meds, anything.
.-= Sara @TomTheGirl´s last blog .. =-.
Debbie in the UK says:
Oh Heather, it must be so terrible for you. I have just started having anxiety attacks and they are a bitch, but for you it must be so, so, so much worse.
Thinking of you all xxx
I don’t really have any words for you, Heather. But, I do send you the biggest hug I can muster!
.-= Neena´s last blog ..miscellaneous thoughts while dealing with a house battling the stomach bug =-.
This is just a thought I had reading your words…
I know panic attacks- and I know I couldn’t begin to describe the way it feels..
and I am a momma.. I remember after I had my first child the first time I took her out of the house we went for a walk and crossed a small bridge with a road underneath.. right there in the middle of the bridge pushing my buggy I had a complete break down.. because *what if* someone walked by and picked up my beautiful baby and threw her over the edge..
I know mommas are supposed to be all rainbows and sunbeams.. and never have such ugly thoughts-but that isn’t reality.. we can not control how the world unfurls before us…and the way the mind works is a thing i do not pretend to understand..
*but* one thing I do believe- is that being a mother is a life time commitment.. I don’t know where I am at when it comes to every spiritual matter- but I know that for me- love has no end to it- maybe no beginning..
The love I have for my children will be *here* always. It is one of the most solid-tangible things I have ever encountered in my life.
With such a passion comes some fears that are crippling.. the worst of those fears you have lived through- but you are still (and always will be) Madeline’s mother.. worrying about our children is an aspect of our love for them-
I have said to many a friend- yes you are worried- YES a lot of those worries may not be all too based in reality- let those fears be a positive in your life- let them be the reminder that you love your child.
But Madeline isn’t in your arms for you to worry about…that doesn’t mean your mind and heart will not worry about her.. or find a million and one things to create for you to be afraid of *for her*.
You have the past with her- and on some level it makes perfect sense to me that in that past you will still find things to worry about- because your heart is still protecting her.
You are her mommy..with all the past tense words that come with loss.. some things are still permanent.
I think this is an excellent response and possibly very true. I always worry that someone will steal my precious baby. I hear the horrors of other poor little children on the news and think – what if that happened to my little baby. Sometimes I can’t get these ideas out of my head.
I haven’t been through what you have been through Heather. I can not for a single second imagine how you and Mike feel, but I do think, as hawkfeather says…you are still her mum. You still have hopes, dreams, fears for Maddie. Just because she is no longer with you does not stop you worrying about her.
I am so dreadfully sorry you have to live through this.
Think of you often.
I agree completely with both these ladies.
You are still – will always be – Madeline’s mommy and along with all that joy, pride and grief will be fear and anxiety. Just remember that she is safe now, at home with you always. I really hope that doesn’t sound placating or insensitive. If internet tears could grant a wish, you’d have her back in your arms to worry about daily.
Wow. So beautifully said. “Some things are still permanent.” So true, and Heather, I hope it brings you a tiny piece of comfort.
Your last words, “My Maddie is gone. I don’t know what to do” break my heart. Your love for Maddie is palpable. Sending thoughts of peace to you and Mike today and always.
I had panic attacks when I was pregnant with my last child. She is two and I can still remember the crushing fear that was associated with them…and yet, they were NOTHING compared to what you are dealing with.
I can understand why you are so hesitant to take something that you fear will take you away from your beautiful baby…but, maybe you can take it if you are feeling anxious and Mike IS there…that way, you can get the rest and relief you need knowing that Annie is well taken care of.
By allowing the prescription to give you relief (even only a few times) it may be enough someday knowing the medicine is on the shelf just in case you can’t move past one.
When I think about your situation, I can hardly breathe…it is so incredibly unfair.
Wishing you love and peace from afar.
Sweet girl, I so know about the panic attacks and the what ifs.
I don’t know what you went through at the hospital and I can’t possibly. it is, unfortunately, yours and Mike’s reality.
What I do know is that you are doing everything right.
I can tell you what I did with my post traumatic stress after losing Will – journalling, learning ways to interrupt the attacks (cold tiles in the middle of the night worked wonders) talking with trusted friends and family, therapy and ultimately making myself do things that triggered the attacks. (Like driving down a particular piece of freeway at a certain time of night).
I’m six years along. Alot further along the grief path and I know now is not the time to tell you it will get better.
Some of these might work for you but in all honesty, I had to find a way that suited me to be able to move through the first few years. You will find something that works.
I am sorry that you are having the panic attacks
I’m sorry but I know it’s part of this ‘process’ for want of a better word.
You are right, dealing with it is better than pushing it down. I found out the hard way about denying grief.
You are amazing
You are doing this.
Your body and mind need this (although it is distressing and horrible) to make it.
A wise (babylost) friend and midwife gave me the best advice:
Go gently with yourself, expect nothing. Just be.
What you are feeling is right.
.-= tiff´s last blog ..While I was sleeping. =-.
rachel cortest says:
love that beautiful advice from your midwife- It will help me get through this dreaded month of may when my 15 yr old took his life due to horrible depression, being beaten up in the school bathroom, etc. I will share it with my TCF group, if that is okay. So true. So true.
Rachel…I am so sorry for your terrible loss..peace.
rachel cortest says:
My hope is that the stigma of suicide can be erased. There is terminal mental illness. I appreciate your reply. hugs
Hugs, Meg. Love to you and your family.
What lovely advise from someone who has been there…so very sorry for your loss.
As always, I am useless for advice…but want you to know I’m here, thinking of you, hoping these panic attacks leave you alone…..
.-= amanda´s last blog ..weekend update. =-.
Alexandra :) says:
My mom has been offered depression medication (after her dog died) and turned it down, so I have something of an idea of where you’re coming from. I must say I’m quite impressed that you aren’t even taking pills for something this unpleaseant. You rock
Oh, Heather. I am sitting here with tears welling up in my eyes,,,trembling,,,, just imagining the emotional pain that you are dealing with. I wish that all the thousands of us could, magically, fit on your couch, and surround you with hugs to comfort you. You are so brave just to be able to share this with all of us, and we love you so very, very, much.
Thinking of you, Heather. No advice, just hugs.
.-= J.´s last blog ..Feed Me =-.
I am so sorry you are going through this. I would take the pills while you are dealing with this. You are seeing a therapist so the pills will just help you until you have learned some coping strategies for dealing with the panic. There is no reason you should have to suffer like this. Try taking half of one when Mike is home to see how they affect you. Best of luck and I’ll keep you in my prayers, as always.
Oh, Heather! There is no words!
There is this therapy called EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It helps release emontional experience (like losing a loved one) that are ‘trapped’ in the nervous system. It also helps with PTSD and anxiety attacks. Hope this helps. It helped me!
lots of hugs with love!
I often think like that just in smaller degrees. Keelyn had fallen out of a crib a few days ago (she has taken to climbing, but I still cannot figure out how she got over the side, but I digress…) and all I have thought of since is what if she cracked her head open, what if she had caused some internal injury, what if she had snapped her little neck…I think about driving somewhere with her and what if someone crashes into us (I do this when she is not even in the car). What if she squirms and I drop her on the hard tile floor and she knocks her teeth out… I have such clear and vivid “what if” scenarios playing in my head I could swear they are a very recent memory of an event. I guess that I am telling you this not because it will help your problem go away but maybe just so you know that you are not alone in having these thoughts run through your head. The only suggestion I can give is that maybe you should consider taking the medication until you and you therapist can work out some strategies and skills to decrease or help you deal with your panic attacks.
As always we here in New York think of you and your family often and send warm thoughts and well wishes your way.
.-= charlane´s last blog ..Birthday Cake =-.
I really wish there were words I could type here to make your panics go away.
Like a lot of other things you write about here on your blog, one thing to realize is that it IS incredibly healthy that you are aware of and talk through these things.
I hope things calm down for you soon.
.-= Jill´s last blog ..Focus on what you have 4/17/10 =-.
Lindsay from Florida says:
Advice from me today would only be trite and, I’m sure, not very useful. Sick to my stomach for you. Love and prayers.
Anna Marie says:
I’m so sorry, Heather. Words are so inadequate at times like this – but I am sending you love and hugs.
This might not make the panic attacks go away, but I hope it helps to know that you are not alone! I have these types of “alternative reality” anxiety attacks often too, but for me I just choose to start thinking about something else and try and try and try to put my mind elsewhere. One time I went to the beach for sunset with my son and my husband and I just sat there taking it all in, the sights, the sounds, how everything felt (the sun, the sand, the water) and I made a mental post it. “Remember this!!!” And that’s where I “go” when I feel overwhelmed. I close my eyes and try to remember everything down to the littlest detail to help me get far away from the nightmare. I do hope that this helps. I’m so sorry that you have to go through that.
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..Morning at the Park =-.
Jenni Williams says:
The gravity of Maddie’s loss is immeasurable and I can understand that the panic you are feeling can’t be put into words. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of your family. I am so sorry.
.-= Jenni Williams´s last blog ..Wake Me When It Is Time =-.
You are enduring what no mother should ever have to. I don’t know that I could have been as brave as you have been to go on living for Maddie and in her memory.
I think your doctor knows that there are going to be times when your attacks are going to be too much to write thru, cry thru or just mull thru. I am a PTSD sufferer too and some attacks I can remind myself that the trauma will not happen again or is not currently happening, but then there are times where I feel like I am in that moment watching my son dying and I can not function. Sometimes I will lose all bodily function because I’ve tried not medicating. Also, in periods of depression, the anxiety attacks are far more severe. With that said, aside from the absolutely trauma of losing sweet Maddie, are you feeling any symptoms of PPD? This could be why everything is more than you can handle on some days. I am stubborn and don’t like admitting when I need help.I’ve also spent a year of my life disconnected from my children by NOT getting the help I needed and in some cases a pill is the answer, if only for a while to reboot. Maybe your dr can prescribe a safe antidepressant/anti anxiety med which will NOT make you drowsy like some anti anxiety meds can do. If nothing else, that may be enough to get you through. I have found that the whole brain sometimes needs a reboot. This does not mean you will not cry. You will not forget about Maddie…..but you will be able to function in the present time. I think you are brave to be writing and trying to work it out without meds, but sometimes it is just the raft you need when you are out there treading water waiting for a tide to take you down. Since you have such good medical help, they should be able to give you something safe and not sedative-like.
If you are truly not willing to take a pill, the only answer will be trying to get enough sleep, healthy diet and maybe yoga or some calming routines. Sometimes you can get thru without it but there is such a stigma with depression/anxiety/ptsd and it is real. When you needed shots to keep Annie safe, you did it for her. Maybe you can look at it that way. Nothing will ever bring that precious angel back to you and that is a loss for this whole world because just the small time she spent on this earth has touched so many but she did help her sister to survive. She would want you to do all the things that she missed out on. She would be proud to have a sweet lil cherub face sister and so proud that you are putting one foot in front of the other every day. Even if it does feel like some days your feet have cinderblocks tied to them. I hope today gets better!
ANNIE PUT ON A SHOW FOR YOUR MAMA….roll over or something
I’m not always 100% sure of what to say, but you are such a strong & courageous woman. I wish I could say it will get easier, but I’m not sure if it will or not. Just know you are loved and supported ALWAYS!!! (((hugs))))
.-= AmazingGreis´s last blog ..California Dreamin’… =-.
I am so sorry Heather. You don’t deserve this.
Love you so much.
.-= Colleen´s last blog ..Once Upon a Birthday =-.
Jamie Hogan says:
I read your blog every morning when I wake up….Usually you make me laugh, sometimes cry, this time I don’t have words to describe the emotion. I am so sorry you are suffering. I hope it helps you a small amount to know that so many people care and would do anything they could to help you feel better…I am thinking of you.
Ms. Moon says:
Better to take medication if you need it, sweet woman. You aren’t present for Annabel if you are off in a panic attack. My heart goes out to you more than you know. I wish peace for you, or at least a modicum of comfort.
.-= Ms. Moon´s last blog ..Let There Be Light =-.
I have panic attacks too. Not too frequently, but when I was postpartum they increased quite a lot. Not fun. I hope you can find something that helps you with them. Thinking of you.
.-= Lora´s last blog ..Potty Learning Update The Second =-.
rachel cortest says:
Oh Heather, it is so good that you can blog about these feelings because in your terror and horror you are helping others. Why am I awake two hours early? Because i was thinking of Tomas standing on the tree house stairs with a noose around his neck and imagining the feelings of my older son when he found his baby brother there. All I can tell you is that those feelings become less frequent. It will be four years in May for our family. He would be graduating from high school. But I am thankful for the 15 years of joy that he gave us and I wish that you had had 15 years with Maddie. Everything you express in this blog is totally normal, but something that no parent should have to go through… a million hugs.
Erin W says:
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am so sorry…
rachel cortest says:
I appreciate your reply so much. I wish that I had had a blog when we lost our son. But at least I am ahead of Heather on this horrible grief journey and I want her to know that everything and anything she feels is normal. Rachel
I am crying just reading about what you are going through. It just sounds horribly, terribly awful–and so unfair. I think by giving voice to your fears you will work through them eventually. This particular variety just sounds a lot more intense. Give yourself lots of space, go easy on yourself, and don’t hesitate to take the meds if you need them (if you are feeling better, you may actually be more present for Annie, right?).
Heather sweet you have had a LOT of big big things happen in your life, in a very short space of time. Recently, I had to bite the bullet and go on anxiety medication. I kept waiting for the next bad thing to happen, and I would Freak Out Bad.
And I am a massive believer in no drugs, just get through it, etc. But man …. it was getting to the stage where I was just too fucked up.
If you ever go on something short-term, it may actually help you to be more present for Annabel.( …. maybe, just letting you know that it’s helped me a lot, that’s all.)
You are doing magnificently. I can’ timagine how hard some days would be for you and Mike. Sending you love. XOX
.-= edenland´s last blog ..Vlog: The Tim Tam Game =-.
Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again.
Sorry you are sad…:(
.-= Java´s last blog ..Tuesday Beauty Tips – Antiperspirant Causes Cancer? =-.
Panic attacks are horrible enough as it is, I can’t even begin to imagine having them this way. Hopefully, this will be a short term thing. Sending you lots of hugs, and thoughts.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Do Over’s =-.
Erin W says:
Heather, there are no words to describe the sadness I feel for you…it just rips my heart out.
I’m so sorry. The ‘alternate realities’ are very upsetting, and it’s so hard to turn them off. The brain just cycles. I did/have done the same since my dad’s sudden death. It’s not just a case of idle ‘what ifs’–it’s like I am actually there, reliving it, over and over again. The brain insistently repeats different scenarios: What if I had been there to hold his hand? What if I had been able to give him CPR? What if my mom hadn’t been able to reach me on the phone? Each situation is extremely vivid.
While I don’t have these thoughts as frequently, when I do, it’s usually at bedtime and I’m paralyzed. The only thing I can say is that as time goes on, this pattern of thinking will lessen somewhat, and you will get through this.
I’m praying for you. I’m so sorry. Just reading about your experience makes my stomach turn. I can only imagine what it must be like when your worst nightmare is your reality. It could happen to any of us at any time. I pray for you that the good days become more plentiful & the bad ones more scarce.
i hope not to offend when i say i will be keeping you in my prayers today. mean it. God only knows the stength you need. i will pray for strength to push through your day and to focus on your hunky husband and that sweet baby girl.
Catherine Lucas says:
Try to kill the Whatifs Heather… I understand why they are there, but there are no answers. Whatifs are deadly things in themselves…
Madeline’s life did not go as planned, and no whatif will ever give you peace of mind.
Try to stop the whatif circle honey… And I know how hard this must be… Sending good vibes all the way to California
.-= Catherine Lucas´s last blog ..My ovaries ache… =-.
I have never commented but have read your blog for a long time. Something that struck me into wanting to comment this time, is you saying that you don’t want to take the pills to help cope with the anxiety when it gets too bad. You said that you feel that you won’t be present for Annabel, but in reality you are not really 100% present for her when you’re having anxiety either. When I have had anxiety you don’t even feel inside your own body. You see yourself acting the way you are feeling but you are helpless to control yourself.
I wish all of your pain could be taken away, best wishes for a sunny day
Oh, Heather, I’m so sorry. PTSD really sucks. Sending as much love as I can to you and your family.
You are so strong. My brother died 7 years ago – when he was 21. I know how you feel. It takes time to find your new “normal”. You will get there. My parents still have to take one day at a time. My Mom had to take anxiety medication for a long time – this is normal and makes you no less of of wonderful Mother to your Annie. Much love to your beautiful family
I don’t have any words. I’ve got nothing. I wish I had something magical to say that would make it all better. The fear, the panic you are experience sucks all the way around. Grief is a strange thing. I still get mini panic attacks surrounding my father’s passing, but over time they have gotten easier to manage, easier to deal with and they come much less frequently.
Love and hugs to you friend. Surrounding you in love, understanding, support and healing.
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..We Walked for Maddie, We Walked for All Babies =-.
I have started this comment abut 6 times. I do know about imagining “alternate realities” and what an anxiety-inducing exercise it is. I wish I could give you some relief, some kind of break from your grief and stress. I think of Madeline and of your family frequently, and send my love to you.
I am so sorry that you have to go through this – it is horrific and unfair! I wish I could ease some or all of your burden. When I had panic attacks I was prescribes sub-lingual ativan (very low dose, works instantly) and did not get a drug haze from this medication – all it did was get me through the moment and then I could carry on. I am a firm believer in taking medication if you need it, and echo a previous poster in my belief that it will give your mind space and time to deal.
Oh man. Everything I could say would sound hollow and fake. I’m so sorry.
(((Hugs))) from here.
.-= jen´s last blog ..ah, wisconsin =-.
Would you hesitate to take medicine because of an asthma attack? Of course not, there is still such a stigma against psychological disorders and their medications, even though nearly everyone will have some sort of issue sometime in their lives. Take the pills when and if you need them, they may make you more present for Annie, not less.
Heather – I have suffered from anxiety attacks off and on for quite a few years – usually sparked by something in my life. I was against taking any medicine either, until my doctor explained it very simply: “take this little pill and it stops the racing of thoughts, or panic attacks continue.” When she said it like that, I said give me the pill! Luckily she prescribed something that was incredibly mild. I still fully functioned at school, studying and at work. My worst anxiety time was waking up – so I found that if I took the pill before bed, I wouldn’t wake up with those anxious feelings.
The one positive of taking the medicine is that your thoughts never get too far ahead of yourself. Once I take the medicine repeatedly for a few weeks, I find that my mind gets out of the habit of allowing the racing thoughts. So while it may seem like a temporary fix, it helped enough to prevent the attacks in the long run. And also, nothing will take away the stress – it wasn’t a magic pill. It literally just took the edge off enough so that I could function more normally.
Panic attacks = no fun at all. So sorry you’re dealing with them!
.-= Kt´s last blog ..I saw this mug =-.
I’ve only been following your blog for a few months and don’t usually comment but wanted to jump in on this topic. First, I’m sorry you’re going through this – anxiety sucks. Second, there are definitely ways to get help that do not involve medication. Particularly for panic attacks, there’s a definite cost/benefit to taking medication for them as-needed – they help with short-term symptom relief, but can make it harder to go through therapy to treat them.
This website has a lot of information about proven treatments for anxiety disorders. Many of the best-researched ones for anxiety disorders are cognitive-behavioral treatments – PE for PTSD-ish symptoms, ERP for OCD-ish symptoms (the intrusive thoughts about what “could have happened” that night sound similar), and there are a few specific approaches to CBT for panic symptoms. Researchers divide these kinds of therapies and symptoms up into categories, but they all really go together – same ideas about what’s going on, same ideas about how to help, just different words to describe them. A good therapist will talk to you about all of the different ways you’re experiencing anxiety and use knowledge from all of these approaches to help you.
I’m a grad student in clinical psychology, and right now my practicum is working with patients with anxiety disorders. They suck suck suck. But something I’ve also learned this year is that they can get better, and it is incredible how much good therapy can help (and as a trainee, I’m not always sure how “good” the therapy I’m doing is, just that I’m trying to work from a perspective that we know works and not going all woo woo on people). Even I was a little skeptical going in about how much therapy could really help when some of my patients had problems that were so longstanding and so debilitating. I’d love to show you a speeded-up video of where they are now versus where they were less than a year ago. It can get better.
Sarah P says:
Heather, sending love to you and your family. You were there. You stood by your baby girl. You really, really did. You are a wonderful mommy.
Have you heard about EMDR? It’s a technique that was developed for survivors of trauma. Using rapid eye movements (or tapping of hands on your knees), it sort “rewires” your brain. So when you’re stuck in an anxiety loop, over and over, it short circuits that loop, training your brain to move along a calmer path. Not sure I’ve explained that right…but I have worked with my therapist – who is trained in EMDR – on this. I’ve also read the book Tapping In by Laurel Parnell, if not the creator, then a big practitioner of it. Anyway, as someone with a history of trauma as well as panic/anxiety, I can tell you that it helped me. Maybe something to look into?
Sending lots of healing thoughts your way…
Loving and thinking of you. I’m so sorry this nightmare is real. Asking Maddie for a sign of peace for you.
XOXO from GA,
Love to your family.
I was actually popping in to recommend EMDR, and see that Catherine above has already done so. It has helped a friend through some childhood abuse-related PTSD, in combination with her regular therapy.
And, to echo others again, there is nothing wrong with taking medication when you need it. You’ll still be a terrific mom to Annie– because good moms take care of themselves as well as their children. (That’s a hard lesson to learn, even for moms who haven’t been through what you have.)
.-= J+1´s last blog ..Rainy days and Sundays =-.
I want to suggest that you take the pills. I understand the fears of not being present, drugs in the body, etc but they can provide your mind the much needed rest so you can better deal with this….it’s a temporary solution. As with many prescriptions it gives the body or in this case the mind time to “heal”.
I’m sorry you are having panic attacks. They are no fun.
Other than a whole host of sympathy, I offer this:
Do not feel guilty for taking medicine that will help you function. It’s ok. It may be temporary while you’re post-partum. It may be longer. But it’s ok. You suffered a traumatic wound, and it’s ok to get medicine to treat it.
I have only commented on your blog once before, the day sweet Annabel was born. I have read every post you have ever made though. I wanted to comment today. Your post brings back memories of laying on the bathroom floor, struggling to keep my bodily functions in tact, and praying that the last struggled breath I managed to get in wouldn’t be my last. Panic attacks to me are the most HORRIBLE things ever. The sneak up on you and you have so very little control over the when and why. Then I would cry at my weakness and be upset that I was having them when everyone else was “normal”. It is a vicious cycle. They can be triggered by hormone, lack of sleep and stress. You are under an immeasurable amount of stress and you are caring for a small precious baby. I am one of the um… most unambitious persons on the planet when it comes to physical activity but it does help. Also maybe a gentle sleep aid will help you get much needed rest. Also knowing you are not alone and talking about it.(which are very brave to do with your husband and with the world) I never told my husband what was going on because I thought he would think I needed to be committed. Mike loves you and he is there for you, use that and don’t feel ashamed to. If you have to take the meds, if only for a short amount of time, do so. If you have to sleep holding Annabel’s hand, cuddled next to Mike, or upside down in the kitchen, do it. Give yourself permission to have these moments. Allow yourself to know that sometimes it will happen and it doesn’t make you a bad person or mother. What you and Mike have been through no person should have to endure. I hope that whatever you do these attacks ease up and leave completely. I hope your mind slows down and gives you more moments of peace. And I will keep sending you and your family thoughts of strength.
I keep trying to figure out what to say here. I don’t want to say the wrong thing and I can’t possibly pretend to know the right words to say. I wish I did. I’m just so sorry you are hurting.
.-= mel´s last blog ..Stuck =-.
OHhh Sweetie…..I’m here and I hear you! I think one of the hardest things about going through a depression and surviving any panic attack is how little people understand them.
When my illness was at it’s worse and I could barely get out of bed, let alone work, I went into a massive depression. I felt like I was drowning and I was baffled how freak out it made my parents….and how little they knew about depression.
Any ways honey, I want you to know as always, I am here for you, Mike and of course little Annebel.
If you’re ever having an attack and want someone to talk to that understands as much as I can!
Trisha Vargas says:
I have no comforting words to offer you. Just lots and lots of love and virtual ((HUGS)).
I am so terribly sorry you are having to endure such pain.
(((HUGS))) from Florida
So sorry this is happening to you. No helpful advice but will continue to be here and “listen” as you blog. ((Hugs))
I’m so sorry for what you are going through. While I can’t possibly imagine the pain of losing a child, I have been fighting the anxiety and depression monster (thankfully fairly successfully) for years. When I read where you said that you felt like the drugs were just a “quick fix” I was reminded of something my therapist said a few years ago that has stuck… in essence her point was that working through anything emotional is like climbing Everest with a 50 pound pack on your back. Her advice was to let medication be my sherpa that carried all the crap. Getting to the top was still a challenge and something to be proud of but having a sherpa makes a grueling, difficult journey just a little easier.
I am so sorry that you have to experience any of this. Big hugs.
.-= Diane´s last blog ..Update on the blood work =-.
I wish I had words of wisdom…my 10 year old son started having panic attacks last spring and it’s been the scariest thing we’ve ever been through…I’m glad to hear you’re still seeing a therapist and hopefully they’ll be able to help you through this. Maybe you could print off a copy of this post and show it to them? Sending much love and hugs your way!
Heather I wish I had a time machine or a magic pill to make it all better. I have panic attacks too and my mind goes all sorts of places that it shouldn’t. I’ve never been through something as bad as you have though,my mind just goes to all sorts of places where it shouldn’t.. I imagine what life will be like if x y or z happens.. There are no words to describe how horrible they are or how completely frozen in fear they cause you to be. One thing that helps me is there is a song by Anna Nalick.. Breathe. I just keep hearing her say Breathe.. Just Breathe.. over and over again and something about her voice is very very calming. If I catch myself before it’s too far gone and do this sometimes it brings me back to being calm again. *Hugs*
My heart still hurts for you and Mike and Annebel. Wish there was more I could do. Sending big hug…xoxoxoxoxo
.-= Jodee´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.
Wishing I could do more then this, but I am thinking of you and sending love & positive energy your way. Hugs.
I am so sorry for your pain and sorrow. Sending strength to you across the miles.
.-= MommaLionessMichele´s last blog ..Sights of Spring =-.
Sometimes your grief leaves me feeling hollow. I just ache for you.
Depression and anxiety are as real as the flu. Please consider taking the pills. Hold Annie, hold Mike, sleep, weep. You are living a nightmare but doing it with honesty, grace, and love.
I cry for you and Maddie at least once a week. We love you and support you and wish you peace.
Just Jiff says:
I don’t have any words of wisdom, so I’ll just send warm wishes, hugs, and my love your way.
.-= Just Jiff´s last blog ..Hodge Podge. =-.
Katie C. says:
I can totally understand the panic attacks and terror that you are feeling as I have experienced a nervous breakdown myself — sometimes the best thing is to take the medication, but other times, you just have to work through it…. It is hard for me to give any advice in your situation because I never lost a 1 year old child (my baby was unborn when it passed away). All I can say is that you have the strength within you – yes, those fears are real and sometimes crippling – but you can conquer them. Just listen to your therapist and don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.
Aunt Becky says:
I’m not going to bother with advice because it’s useless. I understand and am here when you need me. Loves you, bitch.
.-= Aunt Becky´s last blog ..Aunt Becky, The Lost Years =-.
designHer Momma says:
I too suffer from anxiety and panic attacks – something I’ve never experienced until Gage was born.
They suck huge and we need them gone. Now.
.-= designHer Momma´s last blog ..Birthday Looooooove =-.
Nancy Kules says:
I can’t even imagine the grief of losing a child. I’m so sorry. I don’t even know you but my heart aches for you. My daughter Jillian is almost 3 and she’s stuck in my lap with a fever right now- “Look at that happy baby!” she said when she saw the Friends of Maddie photo. It made her smile.
My husband was in the Army, and was injured in Iraq in 2005. Lost his right arm, left leg, and the two men that were in the vehicle with him. As you can imagine, it’s difficult for him to be the lone survivor of that attack, in addition to the obvious physical challenges he deals with.
Anyway- the reason I’m sharing this is because a while back, Ryan found a saying that is now part of his email signature.
“Look back, but don’t stare”
Simple, but I think it’s relevant for you too… My heart aches for all the grief there is in this world, and swells for all the happiness… Maddie and Annie are lucky you are their Mom. Hang in there…
I feel so badly for all you have been though. Panic attacks are horrible, i go through spells of them and i have a perscription to deal with them when they hit. I have two kids, my daughter is 7 and my son is almost 2 1/2. Maddie was born a week or two before my son was.
I have no reasons, unlike you, for thinking about horrible what if’s.. and could have’s, but i have them too. I imagine horrible things that could happen to my children. They are so upsetting! I feel horribly guilty during and after, but they happen anyway. the fear from these thoughts takes over my whole body but i am not able to stop them once they start. thankfully they don’t happen often.
I want you to know you are not the only one to have those kinds of dark thoughts. i hope they stop plaguing you. I really admire your strength of character and honesty!
Hi Heather, I’ve never written before, in fact I just found your blog from Matt’s website. First, I am so sorry about your Maddie, she was a beautiful little angel. And second, congratulations on your lovely Annabelle, she’s also a beauty.
Ok, on to the panic attacks. I didn’t read any of the replies, I just came straight here to respond. My daughter, 26 years old, suffered from anxiety/panic attacks. They came out of left field, never knew when it would happen, and just cripple her. It was affecting her life tremendously and her relationship with her boyfriend. She has a high school friend who is a chiropractor. He treats people with depression and anxiety. He works with something call sublexation. Not sure what it is. But it’s more natural healing, no pills, no drugs. He found out that her neck was out of alignment which can cause hormonal imbalances in the brain, which can then cause depression/anxiety/panic. She started with her chiropractor in September 2009, went 3 times a week for 12 weeks, then tapered down. She has not had an attack since November 2009. No pills, no nothing. Her life is so much better, her and her boyfriend are getting engaged soon and she’s so happy! She nows goes and gets adjusted once a month for maintenance. I don’t know if it would work for you, but it’s another avenue. You have been through so much in the past 2-3 years, with Maddie’s birth, her passing, Annie’s birth, grieving. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers daily and I hope you are able to find something to help you with this bump in the road, something that will work well for you and your family.
Having suffered from both depression and anxiety for the last several years, I can attest to the fact that the medication can make a huge difference. At the same time, I can also totally understand not wanting to take medications while you’re breastfeeding. I would encourage you to talk with the psychiatrist again. There are various classes of drugs, and some of them are perfectly safe to take while pregnant/breastfeeding. That’s a better question for the psychiatrist, but think about whether it’s better for Annie to have a mom who’s having panic attacks every day, or a mom who’s taking medication that’s safe for both of you. Hope this helps. Hugs to all of you, and I hope and pray that you start feeling better.
Long time reader, although I’ve never commented.
My heart hurts for you- your pain is very palpable through my computer screen. My unsolicited advise is to ask (1) is it possible to take 1/2 a dose? Perhaps that will help to relieve your anxiety but not cause you to feel “out of it”. And, (2) are there groups for parents who have lost children in your area? It may offer your some support, for lack of a better word.
I’m so sorry you are going through this. ALL of this. It just shouldn’t happen to anyone.
If it helps you at all I will tell you that I took medication after the birth of both of my boys because my brain had its own crazy agenda which involved imagining HORRIFIC things that had not really happened and then playing them over and over and over again. I didn’t even have any experience with tragedy in real life like you do…my stupid brain was just flipping out.
The medication did not make me less present for my kids. In fact, I felt like it made me MORE present because it calmed the terrifying thoughts, allowed me to get more rest, and helped me to focus more on reality. I’m not pushing drugs on you, I swear. I’m just saying that if you choose to take them it does not make you weak or less AWESOME as a mom.
(And you are. Awesome, that is. Seriously, wonderfully, amazingly awesome.)
Jessica SK says:
I know that no-one can truly understand another person’s grief, no matter how similar it may be, but I feel we have some common ground here. When my father died, I got to the house too late, by 15 minutes. He was already gone. When I came home to L.A. after his funeral, I lost my job, and immediately had to start looking for work. I put off much of my grief and focused on finding work. Now that I am employed, I have found that I too have bouts of anxiety about losing my son. It feel like PTSD, something that I pushed back now returning. Please know that you’re not alone, and many people care about you and your family. Therapy does help, medicine can too, and especially, the love of your family.
.-= Jessica SK´s last blog ..Joetry =-.
I have an extremely vivid imagination. The “what ifs” never just stop at the moment or idea. They always follow through to the “how would this affect the rest of my life” scenarios. They’re exhausting. The only way for me to deal with them is to recognize when my mind is about to wander to those dark places and physically stop myself from thinking about it any further. I may know what I was going to think about but I refuse to rest my mind at these imaginary moments and “live” it. If I can’t just start doing something to take my mind off it, I’ll think about the furthest topic from the thought I’m trying to avoid. It’s difficult to tell the brain to not think of something but that moment usually passes and then I’m on to lighter topics again.
My prayers are with you today, like every other day. Hugs.
I am so sorry Heather that you are having to deal with these panic attacks! I am sending hugs your way!
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..Adventures in Potty Training: Day 2 =-.
Maybe printing a few of the posts related to this feeling and giving them to your doctor would help you “get the words out”?
I hope you know how many people care about you and your family!
Oh – I had naaaaaasty panic attacks after Alex was born – meds help me.
Mama Kalila says:
.-= Mama Kalila´s last blog ..41 Weeks – Part 2 =-.
Been there, done that, seen my daughter and many friends go through it (PTSD). Nothing wrong with the meds as needed! But, since you are trying to avoid that, you might want to try some hypnotherapy (hypnosis) and learning some biofeedback and/or meditation techniques. They are really breaking out of their woo-woo reputation. To me, working on your thoughts is a natural and perfect way to deal with out-of-control thoughts. Perhaps your therapist does some of this or can refer?
I’m so sorry to hear that you are having panic attacks, I have had only a few in my life (involving an underground parking struckture and a bad lightning storm with a large group of people) but I know how awful they are. I know there is a stigma attatched to taking the medication, but I would give it a try. It isn’t failure or a cop out to take a drug for anxiety or depression, it’s fighting back and giving your mind a chance to heal and process, without the constant fear of either being rock bottom or having an attack that u can’t get out of. You can do it!! Sending you a big bear hug! (and annie a little bear hug!)
Oh Heather! I’m sitting here at work just bawling! My heart breaks for you. Sending LOTS of hugs and love your way!
.-= Dawn´s last blog ..Digits, a new dad, a dance, and a date =-.
Oh, Heather, I am so sorry you are going through this. But I totally “get” the panic attack thing, and not feeling comfortable about taking meds … because I suffer, too. But, I haven’t had an attack in about a year now, because I know how to recognize the onset. It is then that I take deep breaths, and grab either a peppermint or piece of gum, and it completely goes away. I’m not sure why, but this really works, and I’ve heard others say they’ve had success, too.
You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
Lesley Pacheco says:
The panic attacks that you are experiencing are totally understandable given the trauma that you have been through. And you are right, a pill is only a temporary fix but it is also justified given what you dealing with now and with time and some therapy you shouldn’t need it long-term. I actually got on here to recommend EMDR therapy and noticed many of your other readers have mentioned it also. I am a licensed therapist, and while I am not trained in EMDR I have worked with many people who have found the therapy effective in dealing with trauma they have experienced. In fact, it is a widely recognized therapy for people who have PTSD, and is used with Veterans. There is a lot of information on the web and about the different phases of therapy. Check it out and see if it something that might work for you. In the meantime I will be sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers your way!
Take the meds. You will be a relaxed, happier mommy for Annabelle. My earliest years were spent with a mom who cried all the time over my brother who died before I was born. I blamed myself for making her sad and for not being as good as my brother who, according to my parents, was a perfect angel who never gave them a moment’s trouble.
I was just a normal little girl who did normal little kid things. I resented my brother for making my parents miserable by dying and frankly, I didn’t love him one bit. How could I love someone I knew only from a picture on my mother’s dresser?
So please, take the meds and enjoy Annabelle. You’re not being disloyal to Maddie by loving her sister.
That must have been very hard to live and to share.
Laber of Love says:
No words, Heather.
Only love and peace sent your way.
.-= Laber of Love´s last blog ..It’s all in the details =-.
Oh Heather. I know I’m not alone in wishing that I could take away the pain. This just rips me to shreds, just as the photo of Annie with the image of Maddie on the t-shirt left me feeling hopeless all day.
I agree with those who said that the fears are probably manifestations of the fact that you will ALWAYS be Maddie’s mommy and subsequently you will ALWAYS worry about her. I’m just so sorry that the worrying has taken such a scary form.
Sending you all the strength and warmth I can muster. We’re all out here, rooting for you and wishing you peace.
.-= Laney´s last blog ..This is a belated post (and an outdated picture; my hair color… =-.
Heather, I’m so sorry.
As a PTSD survivor, I know it’s not easy. In my case, time helped moderate the symptoms, but I don’t think that will be the case for you. I understand not wanting to take drugs-I didn’t take them, either.
The only advice I have is to be very open with your therapist, with Mike, with those who love you and want to help. As painful as it can be, honest, hardworking therapy may be the best thing for you.
Obviously, I can only speak from my experience-PTSD works differently for different people, but if it helps…
.-= HalynB´s last blog ..Four Years And Counting =-.
I cannot imagine how difficult this is. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Heather, I’m so sorry.
This is all, always, so hideously unfair.
Don’t be afraid to call your mom and have her hang with Annie if you need to take something and just zonk your way through the worst of these attacks. You can’t be superwoman.
I love you. I wish, so much, that I could take this pain away from you. Even a sliver of it.
.-= Maria´s last blog ..living things =-.
Eunice Sarmet says:
Heather, go to a homeopathic medicine. This have workeed for me. I hope to see you better soon.
Not sure if it is your cuppa.. but another thought is that you could look into something called Bach flower remedies.. I know that taking a product called *rescue remedy* available at most health food stores to e was the same as taking an Ativan.. or a medication that was not in my system at all times but I could more so reach to in crisis.
you can google it for info if at all interested..
Try EFT. It has helped me in so many ways. My father knows the woman (Teresa) who is on the youtube video. Seriously, if you want something that works and is not pills, this is it! Sending my love to you guys.
I hear you, and understand your thoughts…it’s more scary when you can’t control your ‘what-if’s’. Stay strong Momma. We are all here to back you up!
Thinking about you and wishing you peace today and always.
.-= Deborah´s last blog ..New Camera, New Lenses, New Excitement =-.
I’ve dealt with panic attacks and anxiety for 7 years. Pills help, but for the longterm it was important to me to focus on meditation–focusing on my breath, eating well, and exercising every day.
I recommend going on walks, pushing Annie in her stroller, being outside…just a mild physical activity works wonders and distracts your thoughts. I also try to focus on my breath when I become too panicky.
You’ll feel better one day. You’ve had a tremendous amount to deal with this past year.
Also try Holy Basil! It’s a natural supplement and works well.
Know that you’re in my prayers, and I pray that time, the creation of more wonderful family memories, and your obvious strength of spirit will lead to more peace for all of you as each month, each year, passes. I was touched yesterday by the blog of a young woman who passed away from cystic fibrosis. When she knew the end was near, she quoted a favorite saying, “The most important thing one can learn, is how to love and be loved in return.” Madeline had that knowledge and always will. She holds onto the wisdom that innocent children are born with, and that wisdom will continue, I think, to guide you and yours in the years to come, in ways that might surprise you. Anyway, that’s how I think about my mother who passed away 8 years ago. She is no less my mother, and though I can’t call her up and have her give me advice, I still feel her guidance and love.
You need to get better for Annie.
Alprazolam, 1mg tablet, 3x a day keeps me totally here, no zombie, drugged feeling. Keeps the Post Tramautic Stress out. PTS, sometimes will never go away hon, these pills were not a temporary fix, they are still my lifeline to living normally 7 years after my trauma.
Love to you.
Patty B says:
Heather: I am so sorry you are going through these attacks. When my little girl passed away from SIDS at 6 months old, I was in shock and disbelief for a very long time. I was young, but I had thought that 6 months old was in the “free zone”, that she was far too old to succumb to SIDS. I had nightmares for months that the doctors had been wrong and that she woke up after we had buried her, in her coffin, in complete darkness, with her lips sewn shut sobbing for me, fear gripping her face. All you can do in these moments, I’m afraid, is cry and let it out. Keep talking to your therapist, to your husband, your parents, your friends..to anyone that will listen. Have you joined a support group for parents with deceased children? If not, you might want to look into it. All of those people have also lost children and will be able to identify with you in some way, shape or form. I am praying for you. Keep strong, girl.
You are in my prayers!!!
I am so sorry that you are suffering so tremendously Heather. I can not imagine the pain that you are in, but I hope that with time and lots of work with your therapist, that you will continue to heal. Certainly “moving-on” is not an option, but growing stronger and improved grief management is.
I have no advice for you, other than to allow yourself the time to grieve and heal. One year is not a long time when compared to eternity, so I feel strongly that you need to carefully avoid being too hard on yourself.
I am certain that the pain and loss you feel from Maddie’s death is pain that will remain with you forever. How your mind and your heart cope with that pain and sense of loss will change over time.
I will keep you and your family, including your dear sweet Maddie, in my thoughts.
I have no words for you… but sending you love and hugs.
From my comment a few days, this is where the cooking comes in.
I take that irrational energy and put it into something rational-something methodical. It’s hard once your deep in the attack, the key is getting the energies switched at the beginning, before your to deep in the attack- when it takes over.
I had to really force myself to work it at first. Now it is almost natural- when anxiety strikes I find myself in the kitchen.
I was on drugs too and just didn’t feel right taking them. I hated taking them.
Cooking might not be your answer but it has sure helped me I hope you find yours.
.-= Susan´s last blog ..Hidden Posts and Extreme Anger =-.
Thinking of you, Heather. Hugs from Oregon.
.-= bemytomato´s last blog ..chick-a-rita. =-.
Heather, it sounds horrible, and totally normal in your circumstance. A kind word of advice from a stranger…I would think that panic attacks would make you less “present” for Annabel than some medication would. Maybe short-term help is what you need right now. I love your blog, thanks for sharing your heart.
.-= Andrea´s last blog ..Racecar =-.
Just because a medication is short-term doesn’t mean it lacks a place in the larger spectrum of healing. You wouldn’t say, “I have to learn to walk on this broken leg eventually, so forget that cast!”
Taking care of yourself so that you can function does not make make you less of a mother for Annabel.
This is not to say you should take the drugs. Just don’t write them off completely because of “should.”
This is such an excellent post. I agree completely. While I don’t agree with “better living through chemistry”, sometimes you need a port in the storm.
I’m so sorry. I just said a prayer for you.
I feel for you so deeply. I am so sorry for what you have to endure.
I respect you so much for recognizing the real pain underlying all of this can’t be eased with a pill more than temporarily–that’s a terrible truth to face.
I do believe that with time, these horrible, unbearable moments will become less frequent, even if the truth of what you experienced, and the truth that Maddie is gone, remains. I am in awe of you every time you find a way to endure these moments and make it to the other side.
Thank you for talking about this Heather. When I was in Washington, one night, I felt like I was dieing, my chest hurt, and I felt like I was going to melt into the floor. Anxiety is so scary. I hate that we both know what they’re like, but having someone else talking about it helps. I’m forcing myself to leave the house. I’m afraid I’m going to develop a whatchamacallit phobia where I won’t leave the house. I really hate going anywhere. I hope it helps a least a little knowing that you’re helping another mom by showing me I’m not crazy.
.-= Kristine´s last blog ..Warm a Grieving Mother’s Heart– You CAN help today. =-.
Amy Collen says:
Yes, I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress too. For me the flashbacks are much less frequent but the ones I have are very powerful. The “what ifs” I have too interestingly. However, they are slightly different. I have a “what if” of a car hitting ours while I am driving the kids to school. I can almost feel the impact.
You know the loss of a child just has such a devastating effect. You cope, you try to enjoy your life, but there are just these big emotional moments that one has. Sigh. Actually I will be starting therapy again soon. So, as always my friend, still running that marathon with you :).
Do you sometimes feel like it’ silly to talk to a therapist about your feelings? I’ve been wanting to talk to a therapist, but then I think that *most* of the time, I’m just fine. It’s just that sometimes, I have days, weeks, or sometimes just an afternoon or morning, that I feel so overwhelmed. My son has some medical problems and he’s been through so much and is likely to go through more soon (MRI on Friday to determine if we just wait and watch or if we do chemotherapy….for something NON cancerous). All this makes my head full of pressure and my eyes wet with tears……..
.-= Rebecca´s last blog ..One Hundred Miles =-.
Jess L. says:
I’m no therapist, and this may be a stupid idea and potentially too overwhelming to even attempt. You could try writing fiction. Separate yourself from it a bit, change the names and whatnot if it helps, and explore those scenarios that are causing you such terror. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Jodi Picoult. Or maybe you tear it into pieces and scatter it to the breeze.
… and sometimes it really does make it easier to cope the rest of the time if you get the occasional break via meds.
You have done everything right…so right. There are no words, so I won’t even try – but I will tell you that I think of you and your family each day and I send much love and endless hugs to you. Hang in there…
.-= april´s last blog ..A Day Late (Sorry) =-.
I wish I had answers. I wish there *were* answers. For this: “My Maddie is gone. I don’t know what to do.” It’s brutal. Honest. The most honest pathos there is. With the same echoing refrain from the chorus, without end. Why can’t we answer you, sweet lady? Why can’t we give you solace, give you some kind of calm, some worded logic that salves this bottomless ache of yours?
But I am here, with all of these others, and while we are empty-handed, we are not empty-hearted. We are here. We see you. See your query on its way into the ether. Hear you. We’re listening. It isn’t much. But it’s something.
Love and light and the best and greatest memories and thoughts and dreams of your beautiful Maddie, and may the anxiety dissipate and fade because it isn’t worthy of you, of your existence. How dare it attempt to command any aspect of your time, is all I can think.
I’m reading, Heather. My heart hurts for you and Mike. The brain and grief and trauma and terror…you are dealing with so much. I wish there was a way to help you carry it. Instead, I’m just reading.
.-= anymommy´s last blog ..Practice makes perfect =-.
Michelle Pixie says:
My heart breaks for you. Love & Hugs to you.
.-= Michelle Pixie´s last blog ..Lumps & Bumps =-.
amber gardner (las vegas) says:
I wont even to pretend to know how you feel, because I have no idea the pain you are going through. Just reading the description how you are feeling has made me so so sad for you. You deserve some peace. I am so sorry.
All I can say is that you are an incredible girl, I am so thankful that you are able to share your feelings with us all. Maddie has made a huge impact in my life, I thank you for that.
Amber in Las Vegas
I will pray that you experience a peace that passes all understanding.
Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] says:
No advice, just love.
But you were there that day, she didn’t die in the ambulance or at birth, you got out of the hospital and made it to NICU. I’m not a psychiatrist but if I were in your shoes I’d remind myself that none of those happened. You were there for her, plain and simple. None of this is your fault. You did everything you could. You did everything you could. Make it your mantra.
Also, super hugs and hugs and hugs coming from nowhere OH. I know I don’t have one tenth of the understanding I think I have about loosing a baby but I feel for you and Mike and I’m sending my love and good thoughts to you. I have had some experience with panic attacks. What helped me most was talking through it. And xanax. If you’re worried about med’s affecting you maybe try a half dose at first to see your reaction.
Ok, so I am the panic attack Queen. After I read that book “The Secret”, I thought I was going to kill everyone and everything I love by not saying the right mantra. So I created a mantra that I had to say every morning as I left my house – and then I would just freak out and have meltdowns all day. I would have to repeatedly say the mantra (did I mention that I also have OCD?) because I wasn’t sure which time I said it would finally “do the trick”. Yep, pure crazy. And that is just a TINY tidbit of a morsel of my true crazy panicked self. I am always on the verge of some kind of a breakdown it feels like sometimes…
So Heather, my question to you? With your mind racing, your fear, your tears…are you truly there for Annie now? The right meds don’t change WHO you are, just how you deal with things. The right meds make you MORE you, not less. That’s why sometimes it’s trial and error, but you can’t give up. I took ones that made me absolutely unable to cry, be happy, be anything. Next. I tried ones that made me actually contemplate death. Uh, NEXT!! Now I am on ones that I am ok. I panic a little less…but I am noticing that I may either need to change or up the script. My life has brought some new things in it that have me all wrapped around the axle.
It’s about being honest with yourself…And being there for Annie – truly. Maddie is already in your heart, and if your heart is constantly breaking, you aren’t giving her full reign to be your guardian angel!!!
Oh, I’m so sorry. I don’t have anything better to add, but you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
If I were to put myself in your shoes, and imagine that my daughter had died in my arms…. Just writing it is enough to make me cry big fat tears and feel like throwing up until I am dry. But I know, from all that you have written in the past year, that Maddie felt your love from the time she was born until her last moments. No one– not even those horrible what-ifs that come to haunt you– can take that away from you.
Oh sweetheart. I’m so sorry but I do understand. Frankly it isn’t surprising to me: you’ve been through the ultimate trauma. I wish, though, that all this could go away…that the trauma had never happened. I’m just so sorry~which is so inadequate.
However, speaking from panic attack experience, if you are having one, then you won’t be “fully there” for Annie, so you might as well take the pill. Also, my doctors told me to sit & think out a plan for how to handle a panic attack (eg: deep breathing, talking to someone who can speak truth to me with tenderness & mercy, etc so that I don’t reach the point of full blown panic attack.)
Sending love to you,
.-= Mary´s last blog ..Thanks, ALOT =-.
It breaks my heart that you’re going through this. We’re perfect strangers but I still wish I could take at least a little of the pain onto my own back for you.
As for the pill thing, I’ve found that half a Xanax when I’m about to lose my shit (I have panic attacks, although mine are very different than yours, I’m sure) helps me SO much and doesn’t make me loopy at all.
Good luck darling. You’re in my wishes.
.-= Georgia´s last blog ..Six Months + Six Dresses #1 =-.
I just started having panic attacks about 3 months ago. MEDICATION.
You will be more yourself on the medication, more present.
.-= Rach´s last blog ..I don’t want to be this person. =-.
TAKE THE MEDICATION.
Did I make myself clear?
Honestly, that’s part of the reason I take it…I want to be more “there” for my kids. And I feel like it helps me do that. You are definitely struggling with some PTSD. Your mind just needs help to relax. A pill won’t bring Maddie back, we all know that…but it WILL help you feel more peaceful.
.-= Rach´s last blog ..I don’t want to be this person. =-.
The bible say’s that fear has torment..it sounds like you are being tormented …I am praying for you to be delivered from this fear …and for you to have peace. I know it is hard , my heart goes out to you and your loss. You are such a good mother to little anna bell. I know your future will be bright and full of happiness with your new daughter.
Oh, Heather. I know it’s inadequate and more likely than not not very helpful, but please do try to take comfort in that those scenarios did not happen.
You -were- there for Maddie when she needed you most. You -were- there for Maddie in the end. You were and still are the very best mother she could have ever hoped for, and she will always be your little Maddie-Moo. I would do anything to give her back to you babe.
Please know I am always here to listen. I can never fully know nor understand, but I can listen. I will always listen.
May you see the light on the path ahead
When the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may hardness
Never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember
when the shadows fall —
You do not walk alone.
Strangely, this is the first comment I’ve ever left here. Longtime reader, I’m just usually too emotional too leave a comment. I am today too but I just wanted to post and let you know that I’m thinking of you.
My cousin died when she was a bit younger than your Maddie. When my daughter was born (she’s now five) I had horrible, awful panic attacks. I would literally see her face turn blue and I would have to scream at myself and shake myself enough to realize that she was still pink and breathing. I don’t know if it was because of losing my cousin that I had these attacks. I didn’t take any pills because I was scared of being too out of it to notice if something was wrong with my daughter.
I have an eight-month-old son now and it’s a bit easier this time. Strangely, I do this thing now when I put him to bed. Instead of going into panic mode, worrying that he won’t wake up in the morning, I imagine Katie (my cousin) watching him and taking care of him. I feel her presence so strongly all the time and it helps to know that she is somewhere helping him breathe and grow and be alive.
I use to have panic attacks when I passed my ex boyfriend on the road, several times a week, on my way to work. It would throw my entire day off. My therapist finally referred me to a psychiatrist for something called, EMDR. It’s kind of like hypnosis but not. You can google it to read about it. It helped immensely. It is often used with patients that have Post Traumatic Stress. Just a thought….
Debi Powell says:
gut wrenching grief is something most of us really dont know much about…. you and Mike are well aware of what that feels like. I am sure all of this will take time… lots of time to feel less pain. Looking at Annabel’s precious face must be your light in the darkness you feel.
Be patient with yourself…. you’ve lived thru something that is unbearable for most of us to even THINK about. I think you’re doing amazingly well…. you’re very present in the life of Annabel… and you’re grieving the loss of Maddie at the same time. It’s possible to survive this .. my patients parents have done it so I know… but I also know its a daily decision to keep moving forward.
I think from what I read you’re amazing….. I really do. Hang in there dear one… so many people are pulling for you!
This made me cry. I wish I could tell you this will go away immediately. I wish I could take this pain from you.
I’ve been on meds for anxiety and depression for 9 years. I hate being on them. But they do help. I do understand you being hesitant to take them while breast feeding Annie, and I’m on your side with that. Just remember when you feel this attacks come on, you have Mike, you have Annie, you have your family, and you have all of us. We will be your ears and your therapist (and not charge you!) Talk it out, write it out, cry it out. We are all here to listen to you, to offer you comfort, to offer you whatever we can.
Sending many many many hugs and love your way.
I spent 6 years in a violent and angry marriage…
I used to run, I loved it, it was pure joy
I can’t run anymore because the adrenaline rush from the running causes flashbacks of violence. The brain is a tricky organ, it’s doesn’t bounce back like we hope it does. You’re doing everything right, you’re not keeping it all in, you’re talking about it and making sure you have support. That is the best thing you can do in this situation.
I wish you some relief, I am so sorry and sad to read this post. I am so sorry. Please know that I am saying a prayer for you right this moment, for you and your family. Much love.
.-= Sherry´s last blog ..Mac-n-Chz Squeeze =-.
Oh Heather, God bless you. Could this be a combination of grief and post partum depression?
I (Thank the Blessed Lord) have not lost a born child, but I always have signifigant PPD. This time was much worse (son is almost 1 year – May 20). His pregnancy started out with the loss of his twin, and nearly losing him, then he was born by emergency c-section after aspirating meconium and he had no fluid around him at all. He was in the NICU.
Anyway, this created a terrible fear that something was going to happen to him, and when PPD set in, the panic attacks were awful. I was afraid to put him down, or not be in the room with him. Maybe you can ask your phsyciatrist, or therapist, or whomever. I would absolutely want to talk to someone who has actually been through what you have, if you can even find someone. I bet Loralee has had some similar experiences. Just telling someone who knows you aren’t losing your mind can help get ahold of the immobilizing fear. May God Bless you, and keep you, and help you through this. I don’t know you, but think of and pray for you all everyday. Blessings, Megan
.-= megan´s last blog ..Sweet, Delicious Toddlerhood =-.
Michelle W says:
There is nothing adequate I can say but I certainly can’t “walk away” saying nothing. My heart hurts for you and I love your family.
I’m so sorry. I totally relate to your extreme highs and lows. It’s almost been three months since my precious Emma passed away. I can’t offer you much, only what has kept me from jumping off a bridge…
“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” 1 John 4:18
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I pray many rich blessings for you.
.-= Christy´s last blog ..a day late and a dollar short =-.
I read your blog..I’m a friend of the Heims and I’ve been very touched by your life and your loss and how incredibly strong you are….
I suffer from anxiety attacks and I hate them. I have two little ones and worry a lot and get worked up. Recently I have learned to recognize the thoughts as LIES and instead replcace them with the TRUTH..it definitely helps! For example I will think, “A car is going to drive right into their preschool today and kill them both!”…..so…I have to say, “That is a LIE and not really probable to happen” and then replace it with TRUTH, “A car is not going to kill them and God is watching over them for me and has their lives in His hands!”…Maybe for your memories and what ifs you could replace them with the TRUTH of what happened in those moments…I even say things outloud to stop myself from going down those paths…just a thought…I’m praying for you.
Oh Heather! I had similar panic attacks after my second child. I have never had issues with anxiety or depression so I could not figure out why I was anxious. I was diagnosed with Postpartum anxiety disorder. I took a mild low dose antidepressant/anti-anxiety drug for about 6 months. I am also a mother- baby RN so I’ve seen this a lot. The fact that you have suffered such a loss only magnifies all of these feelings for you. I hope they have put you on something you take daily and not something that you take just when you are having a panic attack. I find those drugs only numb your feelings instead of helping you to cope with the post traumatic stress. Panic is THE WORST feeling. Such a loss of control. I remember thinking I WOULD DIE from it. Really truly thinking I was going to die. Before I got help I was to the point that I couldn’t even drink water from fear that I would choke on it. Totally irrational, but at the time I believed it. Does your therapist specialize in grief? If not, that might be a nice change for you. Not that the grief will ever go away, but maybe just helping you to feel more in control of your emotions will help with the panic. I pray for you every day my dear.
I’m not a therapist and have no professional advice to give. I have been to therapy (last two plus years off and on for anxiety and depression after traumatic event).
A close family member of mine gave birth to a daughter that was born at 24 weeks. She’s now over a year old and thriving, but she (the mom) had major PTSD. She had trouble bonding with her daughter when she finally came home from the NICU. Anyway, long story short, she’s been in therapy AND on meds for several months and, from what she says, it has made all the difference. I don’t think she expects to be on meds forever. But I think what both she and I feel is that once our anxiety/depression/fear/PTSD effected our ability to function and be the people we wanted to be, that was when it was time for the big guns, so to speak.
What you’ve gone through…are going through…is more than the heart can bear. And so it makes sense that your heart and mind are trying to find ways to process the pain. Therapy and, I think, cautious use of medications could help your mind through this leg of the process.
.-= Nina´s last blog ..This Week’s Menu =-.
Lots of hugs and love you way. I wish I had the words to help, but know so many people who you have never met think of all of you each day and keep you and Maddie in our daily prayers.
I have to admit that I also have small anxiety attacks after suffering through 4 miscarriages before having my son after a very hard, bed-ridden pregnancy. I don’t talk to anyone about them, because I am honestly embarassed, and think people wouldn’t understand. But the pain of my losses is still so raw in my gut, and heavy in my heart, so I struggle through them silently. I admire you so much to acknowledge them and work to get through them. May each day bring you inner peace and acceptance, and draw you closer to Maddie’s spirit and presence in your heart.
Thinking of you each and every day, Heather.
Heather, I’ve only ever commented once before, I think. To tell you how sad I was for you. I had been following your blog for a little while when I saw your panicky tweet from the hospital with Maddie. I had never felt so scared for someone I’d never met.
Tonight, I was surfing around the net when I randomly thought of you and felt this instinct that you were having a particularly bad night. Maybe it’s because “Daughter” came up with my iPod on shuffle for the drive home from work today.
I wonder if you know how you have connected with virtual “girlfriends” from all over. I wonder if you know how Maddie has touched us, touches us. “Who’d have ever thought?”
I have no experience with this, straight up, none. Never been a mom, never had anyone even really close to me die even. But here’s what I’m thinking: You are so real with us that we FEEL you even at great distances. Maddie certainly took after you. You will always be her Mommy. And despite all the past tense and “what ifs” she is still your daughter, which makes her very real indeed.
We won’t forget her, Heather. “Every time she blinks, she strikes somebody blind.” She is dazzling, wherever she is, anywhere she wants. Go kiss Annabel. She’s made of that same, starry kind of stuff.
read your words with tears pouring down my face. I am so sorry for your loss. I hate that you are having panic attacks. I have had them too. It is not surprising because you did suffer so much grief and pain. Many of us have anxiety and panic with less traumatic events in our lives. You KNOW what can happen, so no wonder your mind and body are out of control.
I took the meds, but only for a short period–just to kick-start the beginning of my better health. I also learned that brisk exercise (walking hard and fast, or aerobics.) Deep, slow breathing is also another method of calming down. I did breathe into a paper bag. That helps sometimes. The thing to remember is that you Will live through it. You WILL get better. Post-partum hormonal changes are responsible for a lot of what you are feeling, along with your grief over Maddie’s death.
I am so sorry for your loss and your panic. It is good to have someone with you to make you feel safe. I hope all of our words help in some way. My thoughts and prayers will be with you through it all.
As human beings we beat ourselves up way too much. And your horrible what-if’s about what could have happened to Maddie are just ways to feed off of that.
You gave Madeline a beautiful life. And as (for lack of a better word) devastating it is that she’s no longer here, you must know that you did right by her. You were the best mother and you did all you could for her. No one could deny that or say otherwise.
I am sorry that these panic attacks are occuring and I hope they go away. I hope you find some sort of peace. Because you deserve nothing but that.
Kudos to Mike for being by your side so you can fall asleep. He’s awesome.
As someone who also dealt with some pretty awful PTSD herself, TAKE THE DRUGS.
After a summer of crippling panic attacks, my only regret is that I didn’t take them sooner. They helped me get to a place where I could realize what was happening before and during (not just after), be able to talk about it with a therapist, and got me to where I am now: off the drugs, and in a much, much better place mentally. I can’t even remember the last time I had a panic attack like the ones I had last summer. Which isn’t to say those feelings don’t creep up on me from time to time. But I know how to constructively deal with them and not let them get to that overwhelming oh-my-God-I-can’t-breathe point, and my attacks no longer control my day. I mean, I wouldn’t even leave the house because I was scared I’d have a panic attack in public. But thankfully, now I feel like I can just grieve. And leave my house without having a panic attack over having a panic attack in public.
If I ever got the point where I wasn’t able to function again, I’d go back on prozac and klonopin in a heartbeat. But between yoga (I just got a DVD I pop in when I feel stressed), the medication and therapy, I’ve been able to get to a better place mentally. I don’t think the drugs work unless you learn some coping techniques for the panic attacks. But when they’re out of control like that, they’re blessings that just help take away some of the power from the panic attacks so you can get strong enough to keep them at bay.
But that’s just this stranger’s two cents. I sincerely hope the panic attacks pass quickly. They’re so, so evil. Best of luck!
Panic attacks are horribly scary, especially when you have a little one. It is tough to describe to someone else what they feel like when they have not experienced one. You feel out of control when you are desperatly seeking control. You are so brave for even admitting you have them to all of us, your virtual family of support & love.
My panic attacks started after I had our premature daughter. It seems only natural you would be experiencing them after all you have been through these past trying years.
I would have panic attacks every time I heard an ambulance or saw the flashing lights, when I would go into a parking garage because the darkness and downward spiral of the garage reminded me of her vulnerability. I didn’t know what state she would be when I saw her in the NICU and I left without her with me for 6 weeks. My panic attacks from the trauma of her birth and the years following got so bad that I had an anxiety seizure. The energy had no where else to go and needed to be released. I guarded the feelings for so long and lived in real fear. You have had several very traumatic events happen to you. Very traumatic in a short amount of time.
Take the meds if you need them. I agree with others who have said it will allow you to have some breathing room, to regroup. It’s not forever Heather.
After a lot of work, the help of a professional who recognized I had PTS, meds when needed and understanding my triggers, I can now say I rarely need my anxiety medication. When I start going into that state, I have learned it means I need something. Time to myself, exercise, play time with the kids, sleep. When I honor that, then the panic starts to subside.
I know this is long, but know you have friends out in this world who understand.
.-= Erica´s last blog ..The Maddie’s Of The World =-.
I don’t often comment but I always read and I thought I should just say that. I have enormous love for you and your family in my heart.
I usually end up saying nothing at all here because I can’t find any words that convey how deeply I am affected by your words and your grief. I often feel like I shouldn’t cry so much for a perfect stranger and the loss of a baby I never knew. Unfortunately, it’s all that I can do for you. I am so, so sorry that your precious, beautiful girl and happy carefree life were taken from you. It is my sincere wish and my daily prayer that you will soon feel more joy than pain again.
Even though mine are caused by something else, this is something I can relate to. I don’t take meds for various reasons and I don’t have any suggestions for stopping the thoughts, for stopping the worries, for stopping the what ifs and for reliving things you’d rather not relive. The more time that passes between the event/s that caused this, the less frequent they become (at least that’s my experience). I see there are close to 200 comments already so I’m sure you’ve gotten some good advice and I know you have clearly gotten a lot of support. I just wanted to add my voice to those who care and are thinking of you. Wishing you as many peaceful moments as possible. And I hope it happens for you the way it has happened for me….sometimes I go a very long time without a full-blown attack like that. Maybe one day they will end for good. (((hugs))) to you.
Oh I wish I could hug you. Sending you love.
.-= Kristin´s last blog ..It’s all in your head =-.
There are so many comments here. I’m sure you’ve gotten a lot of support and don’t need my additional comments.
That said, I’m still gonna comment
I know what you mean about the panic attacks. You imagine the smallest tiniest little thing will morph into a huge tragedy. Yeah, I’m with you on that.
Take the pills, Heather. Please. I know you don’t know me from Adam, but trust me. Living with that fear, the babies know and recognize it. And you will be able to enjoy her so much better when you feel calmer. If the pills make you spacey, talk to your doctor about something else when you are able to switch. (I am assuming you are on Zoloft, because of the nursing. It’s the only safe one out there, unfortunately.)
.-= earth_mommy´s last blog ..Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals =-.
Marti from Michigan says:
Celexa is safe as well, especially at 20 mg. Plus it is in a generic, Citalopram. I’m actually taking that myself and it does work.
I took Celexa also for Postpartum Anxiety disorder. It’s a safe one. I didn’t do well on Zoloft. Was able so slowly wean off Celexa.
Celexa worked slightly for me. Zoloft stopped the panic attacks, but made me gain weight and killed my sex drive. I am currently on Wellbutrin and am in love with this drug.
PS – My husband made me start taking the drugs, because I, too, was leering about them. But my panic attacks freaked him out something fierce.
.-= earth_mommy´s last blog ..Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals =-.
As someone who has had panic attacks (though not involving nearly as traumatic as you), I can honestly say that they are one of the most terrifying experiences around. And while I understand that you want to be present for Annie, you are not currently present for her in the midst of a panic attack. I think the meds will help make the attacks less scary, intense, and long and they may also help lessen the rate at which they occur. As long as it is safe for Annie in terms of breastmilk (which many of the meds are), it might not be a bad idea to try it the next time. Nothing is going to make the pain of Maddie’s death any easier, but you CAN prevent the fear and strain of the panic attacks. I now take zoloft for generalized anxiety and MAN is it a beautiful thing to not freak out about things that I truly cannot control.
Marti from Michigan says:
Oh Heather you sweet, dear, lady. I wish I was closer because I would come and hug you until I could hug no more. You guys have been to hell and back in this last year and few months.
Maybe you can start meditating. It’s not hard. You get comfortable, shut off the phone ringer, turn off the TV and/or radio/stereo. Deep breathe a few times, deep breath through your nose and then exhale through pursed lips. Close your eyes. Deep breathe a few more times. Then, repeating one word in your mind over and over, you will drift away for a while. That word can be “Maddie” or anything that calms you, that you can think of. Just concentrate on that one word and let yourself drift. It really does help.
None of what has happened to you guys is fair at all! Mike is a wonderful man and the absolute best husband ever, in my opinion.
I often wonder if you and your husband realize how amazing you are. You went through so much, but show so much joy. I wonder if you, and other families who’ve been through similar tragedies, are ever able to really give yourself a break when times are hard.
You are very brave. I know this does not help the situation or your panic attacks or anything. But, you are brave and I enjoy your honesty in your blog. You are an excellent writer.
You are a survivor. Even though it was incredibly tough to get through this post, you did it!
And sometimes you do have to just take it one day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time.
Of course you don’t know what to do….because you SHOULDN’T know. I think that’s okay.
Sometimes these maddening moments have to run their course…
And I promise you’ll pull yourself out of it, however you have to.
I hope you feel better. I’m sending big hugs and good energy your way.
.-= mythoughtsonthat´s last blog ..I Laugh Nearly Every Day =-.
just sending you a hug…
We will be holding onto you for as long as you need it.
Heather, I have long been a reader, but never a commenter, but this post is compelling me to write. You are such a wonderful mother to Madeline and Annabel, and as others have written, so brave to bare your soul here. I hope you find the peace you need in whatever form you can.
Scottish lass says:
I work with an amazing women. She’s in the Bay Area but she can also work with you remotely (by phone.)
It’s a healing therapy with roots in Reiki, Qi Gong and cellular healing.
I was raised in a born again christian household so believe me when I say it was a stretch for me to try this.
However, I was so desperate with grief and pain and anger I thought “why not?”
I had tried everything else.
I have had such relief from working with her.
She’s really normal, nurturing and good at what she does.
If you’re interested email me directly for info.
I can give you my number if you want to discuss it.
Either way – I hope you know somewhere inside – that you will be ok and I know you’ve heard it before and it doesn’t feel true but it will get easier.
Much love to you.
(I’m also British – even sending love to a stranger is a HUGE leap for me….)
.-= Scottish lass´s last blog ..Pearly Whites. =-.
(another) karen says:
catching up on several posts after being out of town. not even sure which one to comment on – Annie’s 3 month b/day, the amazing MoD walk, this one that just breaks my heart. i’ve suffered on and off from panic attacks for years. i’m sorry you’re going through this and hope your doctors can help you find a way to cope with them.
all the best,
GAH, PTSD sucks so badly. ;(