Anxiety after child loss is a very real thing. The thing we have or have not worried about has come to be a reality, so we wonder what else is a possibility? What else can happen to us? When is the next big thing going to happen?
I have also had anxiety mixed with PTSD after losing Aria. I don’t think any one of us would like to continue having it. Not one person I know that has anxiety enjoys the feeling of being anxious or wants to live their life that way. It’s super hard to understand if you have not had anxiety before, but it is real, and the way it takes over your mind is terrifying.
So, with full knowing that anxiety can be debilitating, and that no one wants to live with anxiety. Here are some tips I’ve found to be helpful for my anxiety.
Don’t fight it. It’s with any emotion. If we can name our anxiety, and kind of allow it to be, it seems like it lessens. The more I fight it, the stronger it gets. The more I just allow it to be there and be a part of my life, the more it gets easier to live with. Do I get mad that I know that anxiousness sometimes? Yes, most definietly, but when I have moments of accepting it as is, without judgement or thinking I shouldn’t be feeling this way, I’m much better able to function and think clearly.
Stop Sign in Your Brain. This one was from my therapist. I had a anxiety loop, where any time I woke up in the night, I woke Justin up and made him go check on the kids. Until he came back and told me they were fine, I was in an state of high anxiety, waiting for it to begin all over again.
My therapist told me, that I have a stop sign in the road. That I keep getting stuck on this one thing over and over. I wake up, get super anxious about the kids and need them to be checked on. So not only was my sleep getting disrupted but Justin’s was as well.
He told me to imagine, that I didn’t go check on them. Imagine that they did die, and I didn’t check on them until the morning. The outcome would still be the same, so I can just go to sleep, and if it’s going to happen, I will find out in the morning regardless.
This has been something that has helped me a great deal in learning to sleep and let my children sleep. I do check on them occasionally, but most of the time I think that(I know it sounds so morbid but it’s my reality), that if they are going to die, they will if I check on them all night or not. So I will work through my anxiety and go back to bed. So, what’s your stop sign in your brain?
Triggers. What is triggering your anxiety? Many times we don’t even know what is triggering it, but I’ve listened to a few things about anxiety and how finding the trigger will help you identify and be able to pay attention to what’s going on around you. The triggers can be so deep inside you, you don’t even know that you are being triggered. Going to therapy can really help dig out what that is, so you can be more aware of that.
Exercise. This one is pretty commonly known, but exercise is so good for any type of mental struggles. I have found great relief for my brain in getting my heart pumping. Making a commitment to exercising can help you stay ahead of the curve, instead of trying to play catch up all the time. It helps clear your mind and your head, so you can more easily parse out what is reality and what is not.
Breathe. Breathing has been shown to calm the nervous system and brain down. It’s one of the best ways we can use to calm down in any situation. But practicing breathing can be an important part of that. Breathe in for 4 counts, pause, breath out for 5 counts, pause. Repeat that 3 or 4 times and try to do that every day.
There is no fool proof way to manage anxiety. We all have to figure out what works for us. There might be a period of time where medication is the best option for you, and it’s the thing that helps to stabilize you. While I have no experience with this, I know of others who have used it, and there is no shame in finding something that helps you.
No one wants to live with this, I know I most certainly don’t enjoy it. But I hope these are some ideas that might help you manage your anxiety so that instead of being so worried about what is going to happen in the next moments, we can enjoy the moments we are in.
Do you have ways you manage your anxiety? Feel free to share below, so others might be able to use them!
—Have you felt alone in your grief? Have you felt like nobody understands?
I’ve been there and I get it. I think you can never truly understand unless you have lost a child. Even then, we all have our own stories and our own grief.
I see you. I know you are in a dark hole. I know you feel crazy many a times, and you think you have to keep it all together. But allow yourself some room for grace and time to grieve. I put together a little guideline called- What to Except When You Are Grieving.
There are so many things, both physical and mental that are a common thread with grief no matter our story. I put as many as I could think of in this list, so you know that that sickness you have come down with? That is something that happens to many. The groceries you have a hard time buying? Totally normal.
You can get you FREE download below!—