Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Emergency Room Visit #2 - Grieving and Your Body

Before I begin this post I want to make it clear that what I'm about to share is MY OWN PERSONAL experience.

I am NOT giving anyone else medical advice.

If you or someone you know experiences the same or similar symptoms as I did please see your Dr or visit your local Emergency Room.

I haven't been very open about the state I have been in the last couple of's been difficult for me to write or speak openly about my grieving.
The past month has been particularly tough and after last night I felt as though it was time to write about it...

If I were to pin point where it started I would have to say it started in June when I decided to stop going to my group counseling sessions.  My group counseling had become a bit overwhelming due to another participant.  She was also grieving a suicide and while I can't reveal any of the details, I can say we saw things completely opposite of one another and I needed to step away from the group.

There were things that took place this summer that seemed to be one "jab" after another.  Some too personal to share on a public forum, some that involve other family members that once again shouldn't be discussed on a public forum and some internal struggles I have been going through as I continue to adjust to life without my son.

Following Zach's death I gained 30 lbs in approximately nine months. 
I had lost 15 lbs following my meeting Chalene Johnson in April.
In July I decided to sign up for a weight loss challenge to help me drop the rest of the weight. 
I quit that challenge just a few weeks in.
I hate to admit it, but part of me knew no one would stop me from quitting. 
No one would ask me, "You're half way to your weight loss goal, why in the world are you stopping now?" 
Knowing that no one would stop me or hold me accountable, I felt comfortable quitting.

Following that I started feeling down, however, instead of sweating my butt off and getting back to my workouts I started eating again...which ultimately lead to a 5 lb weight gain in just a little over a week.  Another ding to my already sinking self-esteem and a step deeper into my depression.  And yet, I didn't change it.

Fast forward a bit...about a week ago I mentioned to someone I love very much about how deep my depression was getting.  That person's response was, "What is it now???  I mean, you can't change what's happened."

I immediately left the room, bursting into tears.
I felt as if this person thought all I did was complain, which for the most part I keep most of my feelings bottled up avoiding talking about them to anyone (especially since leaving my counseling group).
I felt as though I was a huge burden to this person and that they didn't have the time or want to be concerned with how I was feeling.

Two days later someone else I love very much made a comment about how I don't work out and that I'm lazy and not serious.

This time I was able to hold in my cries, but the lump in my throat and the tears on my eyelids were heavy.  It affected me to the point I couldn't eat lunch with everyone else.  I just sat quietly thinking about what a burden I must be to everyone around me.

That night I sat in my bathroom at home crying out to God...
"God, I don't feel you any more...have you left me???"
"I feel like you're not real, like you've abandoned me..."
"Why am I feeling this??"
"Why can't I feel you???"
"Please don't pass me by...I want your spirit to fill me"
"I know you're there, I just want to feel you again..."
I cried and cried...

I felt as though I was being ungrateful.
Who am I to ask God to prove anything to me?  I certainly don't deserve it.
He has blessed me and proven Himself to me more times than I can count.
Yet, I just wanted to feel something because feeling nothing is beyond words can explain.

For the first time in weeks I woke up Tuesday morning (8/21) with a bit of energy.
I took my daughter to school and when I arrived back home I spent hours detailing my car inside and out.
Following that I did some grocery shopping and went home to do laundry.

While doing laundry I started experiencing chest pains.
This wasn't the first time I've experienced these pains, but this time the pain was much worse.
The pain was heavy in my chest and in my back.
My arms started to feel numb and my legs started to feel detached from my body.
I laid down for a few minutes to see if that would help.
I remembered back to last Sept. when I thought I was having a stroke and it ended up being an anxiety attack.

I told myself to breath slowly, relax and that everything was just fine.

I got up and continued on with laundry and sorting out old clothing to be donated.

The pain then got much worse.
I felt as though I was going to faint.
My palms started to sweat.
I instantly felt scared and could feel my heart beat through my neck.
The faint feeling was so strong I wasn't sure I would be able to walk up my stairs to get to my car.

I took an aspirin and had my husband take me to the ER.

I walked in feeling incredilby faint and as if my arms and legs were no longer attached to my body.

A nurse took me in, gave me oxygen, started my vitals and immediately did an EKG.

The nurse assured me that everything was looking good and to start taking in deep breaths. 

Shortly after that, the Dr. arrived and asked me how I was feeling. 

By this time I had a feeling this must be another anxiety attack...yet wondered why it was so different from the one I had before.

I explained all of my symptoms to the Dr.
He then asked me about my stress/anxiety level.
I started tearing up as I told him that I had lost my son 16 months ago and that personally things were a little rough right now.

He said, "To be safe I'm going to order some more tests to make sure your heart is in good condition."  I agreed.

The nurse soon followed with needles, baby aspirin and Ativan.

About an hour later my symptoms were gone.

The Dr. came back with good news and told me that my heart was in great condition, no signs of any damage, my blood work was excellent and my lungs and heart were also just fine according to the x-ray and that this was an anxiety attack.

I apologized for taking up a bed they may have needed for someone else and the Dr. reassured me (just as the Dr in Sept) that if anyone has symptoms like I had they need to see a Dr.  It was anxiety for me, but it's not always anxiety.

My point in writing this very long blog post is that I realize that we all grieve our own way.
Even those closest to me are grieving in a different manner than I am.
It doesn't make them wrong and me right. 
It just means we are different.

While I don't agree with the recent treatment I received from my loved ones,
I know they didn't mean it in an abusive or hurtful way.  Instead of running and crying I should have stood up and said,
"The way you're talking to me hurts my feelings."
Instead I bottled it up and cried alone.

I am a grieving mother, niether of these people are.
Yes, they are grieving, but neither of them are grieving the loss of a child they carried, delivered and spoke to on the day their child passed.

Shortly after Zach passed fellow grieving parents said to me,
"Be kind to yourself."
"Be gentle on yourself"
"Allow yourself time."
I thought, I am...I am doing all of that.
Today, I no longer feel that I was doing those things.
Today I promise myself to be gentle on myself, to stop the negative self talk and to allow guilt free personal time for me.

I hope you will do the same.


I always like to reiterate that I am not a Doctor.
I am not a therapist.

I am a grieving mother, sharing my story, my experiences,
articles and information that I have found to be helpful and may be helpful to others.

If you need someone to talk to I encourage you to visit a church
or find a grief therapist in your area.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide
please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
or dial 911.

You are worh the call!
You are LOVED!


  1. Hey Melissa~

    I was about a year out (like yourself) when I started having panic attacks--bad ones that freaked me outand that I started to have to take meds to control--I don't like taking meds but trying to deep breathe and calm down wasn't helping. You know...the anxiety and panic we feel really does seem to come from our normal life stress combined with insensitive people, stupid comments and people that seem to "KNOW" how WE should grieve better than we know.

    I am not saying this is ok...rather I COMPLETELY understand what you are going through...I'm just a bit farther along then you. I still am having problems myself. One of the things I did was I stopped going to my bereavement class (after about a year) because I didn't feel like it was geared towards my particular grief--it was a general bereavement group--and I felt I had run the course with the "curriculum" so to speak (the leader would explain about the stages of grief etc. but ALWAYS pointed out to others in the group that my grief was different and didn't follow any of the regular paths).

    I finally decided I needed to talk to someone else, one on one. I felt I was suffering PTSD because Jared had hung himself in my closet while I was in the SAME house in the other room and had no clue and also because I found him. I was in fact diagnosed with PTSD and he also diagnosed me with severe depression (I have suffered from moderate depression all my life but its reached another level).

    It is extremely hard to go through the counseling with him--I go every week. I was at a point where I had shut down, couldn't cry and was having pain in my chest and throat because it was stuck inside and I couldn't release it. Now, with the counselor I am sobbing nearly every week...and its hard...but...I think it is slowly starting to help. Its really, really hard to deal with this kind of pain...don't like to, don't want to but have to.

    Like you said're not a doctor...nor am I a might be time to see someone just for you--not shared in a group--and see if that will help. Creating Zachsfriends was a awesome thing for you to do(something simliar to what I wanted to do for Jared but don't have the fortitude to do yet)but it gives you something to doesn't completely relieve all the grief and pain and sadness you feel...and a lot of times people simply don't understand why you feel the way you do still (especially creating your organization..they think the grief is just dissapating by being involved with it).

    Please knowing I am sending love to you (and a big hug). PLEASE contact me anytime and if you want to exchange numbers we can do that as well.

    <3 Jacquie

  2. My thoughts and prayers are with you and there are a ton of people that love you!

  3. Hey tehre. I read your all your posts and I am terribly sorry you lost your son, I know how it feels though when you feel like you cannot turn to anyone and no one understands but that is your depression tricking you. It makes you feels hurt like no other hurt but I assure you if you keep up your self care and in time you will heal. It may take a long time but I promise its worth it. Keep writing, keep loving and keep living xxx Peace

  4. I am very sorry for your loss. There is no greater pain than the loss of a child. I can assure you that you will never feel any pain that is that bad unless God forbid you loose another child. I want you to know that there are always someone that you can talk with. If you can not find anyone else you can always contact me. If you will email me I will give you phone number so that you can call. I do not know you and I am nobody. But I care about fellow human beings. I practice alternative medicine and I do not charge anyone for my assistance. I do what I do because people need help and I have knowledge that I can use to help. I am not a freak nor do I want anything from you except for your attention and to have an open mind. My email address is:
    When you contact me put in the subject line "in need of alternative medicine please". I can assure you that I will do whatever I can to help.