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Anyone suddenly started suffering from stress months after losing someone?

(11 Posts)
offtoseethewizard64 Sat 03-May-14 19:40:46

DF died suddenly 5 months ago. Days after he died, my DD took seriously ill and was rushed into hospital twice and just as we were getting over those events, DM fell and broke her hip and spent 6 weeks in hospital.

I have spent the last few months running on autopilot, not really having time to think about what has happened - just dealing with it all on a practical level, as needed.

DM, who has needed a lot of support, lives a 1 1/2 hr drive away. I have been visiting weekly to help care for her - in addition to caring for my DD who is disabled. I thought I was coping - until last week.

I took my DS out for a rare day out as DD was in respite. On the way home I suffered a panic attack whilst driving on the motorway. I got off the motorway and slowly managed to get home with lots of stops. Ever since then, I have started to feel stressed whenever I think about driving and can feel my chest tightening as soon as I get in the driver's seat - even if I am only going very short distances on roads that I know well. I have seen my GP who has recommended CBT and has given low dose beta blockers for occasional use, but 1st time I tried them, they didn't seem to do anything.

Has anyone else had symptoms of stress hit them suddenly, months after the trauma of losing a loved one, even though they thought they were coping?

Shetlandstock Sat 03-May-14 20:15:15

Sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have a lot to cope with which could be causing the stress in itself, but to answer your question, yes.

My DM died nearly 3 years ago and after the initial shock I existed on auto pilot for about 10 months or so. I had a miscarriage and redundancy in that time and barely registered either - I felt a bit emotionally dead tbh.
Grief hit me full force about a year after she died. I think this is pretty normal? Friends in the same situation seems to have reacted similarly.
For me, that was the point where I realised what forever meant sad

offtoseethewizard64 Sat 03-May-14 21:34:51

Sorry that you had such a traumatic time too shetland

In what way did the grief actually hit you? Was it panic attacks, stress showing itself in other ways, depression or exhaustion?

Quodlibet Sat 03-May-14 21:43:02

Sorry you have had such a horrid few months OP thanks and sorry for your loss.

I had a similar delayed response after my MMC last year - thought I was doing ok, went back to work etc, and then the depression and anxiety hit and probably peaked about 2-3 months after. I was crying all the time, feeling panicky and anxious, repetitive worries...CBT did help, as did accepting that I'd struggled on when really I should have allowed myself more rest and grieving time. I remember someone saying to me at the time: if you don't rest up your body/mind will find a way to make you rest up, which is what the depression and anxiety did - it brought me to a standstill. I started getting better after I stopped fighting, if that makes sense.

canyou Sat 03-May-14 21:48:05

thanks Sorry for your loss.
When my DDad died very suddenly it took nine months before the actual shock became apparent, before that I lurched from one person's crisis to another.
My hair went gray practically over nighthmm (Am in my early 30's so not good) I also lost a lot of hair, it began falling out in bunches still is a year later. I was stressed beyond believe , short term memory was shot and I did stupid things nearly lost my job.Was tired all the time. Basically I reached breaking point by the first anniversary.
I went for counseling to help and took leave from work
Grief is a strange thing I still feel at times life with out my Dad is too much to bear. My siblings seem to be better then I am right now but grief is a personal thing and something we need to allow take over for a while to be able to come out the other side ready to move forward and see things as they are and so different from what we imagined.

offtoseethewizard64 Sat 03-May-14 22:18:57

It is interesting that the grief and other effects of loss take so long to kick in.
I don't work in paid employment, so I can't be 'signed off' to rest. Caring for my DD can't stop as she needs me 24/7 although I do get respite, but I never stop worrying about her even when she is away, especially if her health is going through an unstable patch - which it is at the moment. I can't stop running around after my DM as she is housebound unless I go and visit and take her out. She also relies on me to deal with her paperwork and do some jobs around the house that she can't manage and visiting carers won't/aren't allowed to do. The panic attacks have made it impossible for me to drive to DM's but I am having the added stress of finding other ways to get there - as not going isn't an option. I haven't told DM yet about the panic attacks as it won't be helped by her stressing over it too sad

I also have to keep driving, as we live in a rural area and it is the only way DD can get around as she can't use public transport due to the amount of equipment we have to carry and in any case, the buses don't go where we need to go. It is the driving that is giving me the most stress at the moment even though I have been driving for over 30 yrs - I am constantly worrying about how I.m going to get DD or DS to the essential places they need to get to. DS has exams starting in 2 wks and the bus he normally catches won't get him to college early enough for the start of the exams, so he will be relying on me to take him.

I can't see how I am going to get through this at the moment.

Quodlibet Sun 04-May-14 15:34:16

That sounds really difficult OP. you've done the right thing going to your GP, but perhaps you need to bang the drum a little louder to get more support more quickly. Can you get any extra respite? Any support for your mum? Can your CBT referral be urgent? Is there anyone who you could ask to drive you in the short term?

I do think it is interesting how anxiety seems to take us out and incapacitate us at the most vital function. For me it meant I couldn't concentrate and so was forced to stop work. It is almost like with the panic attacks curtailing your driving your subconscious is trying to force you to stop looking after everyone else and look after yourself. Might not be entirely possible to do, but maybe if you heed the message your subconscious is trying to give you, things might ease up a bit on the panic side? You need to change something with the current set up to facilitate your own recovery, though I understand how impossible that must seem.

Shetlandstock Mon 05-May-14 18:11:10

Sorry offto - no internet for a few days.
It manifested itself as anxiety mostly, and tearfulness ( which still happens out of nowhere tbh).

I agree that maybe going back to your GP and demanding more help might be the way forward.

offtoseethewizard64 Mon 05-May-14 20:55:40

Thanks for your replies.

Quod We have respite hours available. The difficulty is that DD requires nursing care which is not available on the doorstep - so it means driving to get her there, a distance of just under 30 miles each way - just a slight stumbling block at the moment. Mum is reluctant to get any more than the bare minimum of help in as she doesn't like having 'strangers' in the house. Carers come and help her shower and she has found a cleaner. A neighbour does some shopping and I do the rest by internet and have it delivered to her. She needs a gardener to mow the lawns and weed so that we don't have that to do through the summer - the difficulty is finding reliable people when you don't live there to find out about people. I have a telephone assessment this week to see if I need CBT or some other therapy. I hope to be able to find out how long the waiting list is after that.

I have avoided driving since Friday, as I didn't feel good last time I drove, even though I only went a few miles. I have 2 events to get to this week, both of which are 15 miles away so will no doubt start stressing about that tomorrow. I intend to take the medication the GP gave me and hope it works.

Have booked a few days away for the end of the month when DD is next in respite. Just keeping my fingers crossed that I am able to relax and that DH helps with the organisation rather than just chucking 3 pairs of pants on the bed and thinking that's all that's needed

I will go back to GP if I am still struggling with driving even with the medication and if the wait for therapy is too long.

wundawoman Mon 05-May-14 21:17:44

Yes I am familiar with this too. It's good you have recognized that you have reached a crisis point. You should not try to fight it; your body and mind is telling you enough is enough. The beta blockers may help to calm things initially but if not try and find a good health practitioner who can recommend vitamins to aid recovery and build you up. I have discovered magnesium (good for nerves) and vitamin b5 with lemon balm tablets; they have worked wonders and help restore sleep patterns! Also take time out from your daily demands - you must! Try some yoga or mindful relaxation. There are plenty of apps for relaxation (several are free) - just 10 minutes every day can help enormously, to calm your mind. Exercise - go out and walk in the fresh air (30 minutes a day is good!). Find a counsellor or someone you can just talk to. Talk, and talk some more. You may find you have an emotional unload; you feel overwhelmed but then cry and grieve; this is good! Your body and mind needs to release, it is part of the healing process! Then be kind to yourself... Good luck x

offtoseethewizard64 Mon 05-May-14 21:45:05

Thanks wundawoman. I was wondering about natural alternatives to beta blockers, as I'm not keen on drugs, as they usually solve one problem and cause another. I don't have any difficulty sleeping - probably because I'm exhausted. I do exercise regularly at the gym (although I have to drive there so that is causing a problem at the moment) but have never really been one for yoga, but relaxation apps might be good - I'll check some out.

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