Last night I was talking to my Sister in Law and David about things that cause me great anxiety since Gabriel passed away. As I tossed and turned to try to get to sleep wondering what I could do to cope with the anxiety better I decided that a blog post then shared with my Angel Mom friends may give me the advice and ideas I need.
I used to be a very confident driver and was never scared of a little bad weather. In the last 3 years that has drastically changed and I feel like I need to figure out a way to cope beside Lorazepam. I started noticing it when we moved to Utah, since we now travel back and forth to Idaho more frequently to visit family. I love being with family but my anxiety attacks make me want to just stay home instead of driving the freeway to Idaho. Whenever we get in the car I feel OK until we merge onto the freeway. If it’s a beautiful day with no wind, rain, snow and mild traffic I do just fine. But as soon as I feel a gust of wind nudge the van or it starts to rain or snow or if the traffic is busy then I get very tense. I have a hard time remembering to breathe and I’m constantly bothering David about the road conditions giving him unneeded advice. I trust David completely he is a very attentive and safe driver but I still can’t calm myself. When I drive I get so tense that when we stop I feel sick for a while after the drive is complete.
The Cause: I honestly believe that the reason I hate traveling so much relates back to Gabriel. He didn’t die in any kind of an accident but he was taken from us so suddenly and with no cause. We are good parents and had a healthy son that one day was taken from us and there is absolutely nothing we could’ve done to change that. Since then I have decided that we only have control over our decisions in life but we have zero control over everything else.
Our family is pretty boring we don’t do a lot of sport type things or anything that could be considered risky or dangerous. I think in my mind when we are in the car I know that is the most likely place where control is taken from us. I know we have control of how we drive but we don’t have control of how others drive. We don’t have control of bad weather and how that may affect the driving conditions. The problem with the weather is that even mild wind, snow and rain totally scare me. I can’t handle anything at all but perfect driving weather. I’m constantly living in fear that another one of my children is going to be taken from me and I still have no control to protect them, especially while driving.
I need a coping mechanism, something to help me to push the logical reaction to traffic, and inclement weather to the forefront of my mind. I need to be able to think less about all the unlikely but possible things that could happen.
The other thing that I get anxious about is when my children are sleeping, are they breathing or not. But I know I’m not alone it this. The other day Jenna fell asleep on the couch next to David and I. I watched her for quite awhile and she sleeps so still that I got nervous that she wasn’t breathing so I reached over David and put my hand under her nose to make sure she was. David smiled at me and said I just did the same thing a couple minutes ago. Often times David and I won’t be able to go to sleep until we get up and check on each child to make sure they are ok. It is better than it was when Gabe first died. In the first year there were nights that David was working in Utah and I would just walk from room to room watching them sleep and not sleeping myself because I was so afraid one of them would stop breathing. So I know this is normal I know that it’s getting better and I know I can check on them and feel peace and be able to sleep and the anxiety then leaves. This is something I can cope with and handling better and better. The traveling in the car seems to be getting worse or maybe I’m just noticing it more and more.
This is where I need any tips or advice as to what has helped any of you and what things I might be able to try. I miss the me who used to love to drive and go for a drive. The me who would jump in the car and going 3 hours on the freeway was not only no big deal but fun. I know David misses that too because he’s never loved to drive and used to really enjoy the fact that I would always want to drive because I enjoyed it. I need to figure out how to get that Amy back. I know the loss of a child is traumatic and it changes who we are forever but there has to be a way to cope with the anxiety that comes from those traumatic loses. I just don’t know what it is yet. I’m open to anything, currently I pray take my Lorazepam and close my eyes just to concentrate on breathing in and out. Then I’m still tense and sick when we stop I need a new tactic.