Something I noticed last year was that I would occasionally have days or short periods where I was unreasonably anxious. Nothing that really caught my attention until one day when I was driving down to visit my mom and found myself clutching my steering wheel really hard for no reason at all.

The reason I love driving is that while you’re on a long drive, you have time to think about things. Put things straight in your head. On that drive, I wondered why I was so tense, and I realized that it was something that’s been regular. Not in the sense of on a schedule, but something that happens from time to time.

Since Ian’s death, it’s become more pronounced. Never anything that’s debilitating or hinders me at all. I will just notice that for a period of time, I’ve been clenching my hand, or my arms are really tense, or I feel shaky, or I feel like SOMETHING IS GOING WRONG. It never lasts more than a day, and doesn’t happen anywhere near often enough for me to worry about it, or feel the need to take anything or do anything about it.

I think it’s normal, after a suicide loss. I’ve seen other survivors say that they have full on anxiety attacks, that they’re afraid to turn off the lights, or do normal daily tasks. That any little thing could set them off. For me, it’s that I feel like there’s electricity coursing through my body. I get antsy and/or tense. I want to scream or run around or punch things.

And then I get distracted. Or I go to bed and manage to fall asleep, and the next day I’m fine. Maybe I have to poke at the wound…. Watch a video of Ian, or look at pictures, and cry. But it goes away.

Just one more odd personality change. I’m still figuring them out. Still figuring out who I am now. Still trying to learn how I interact with the world and the people in it now. Still trying to get used to living without my best friend around to talk to, to run things by, or to sing with.

I miss him more than I can fathom. It’s not going away. It’s not lessening. I’m just learning to work around it. Getting used to side-stepping the gigantic hole that’s now at the center of my universe, in the way of everything.

Monday, it will be seven months since I’ve sung with him. Seven months since we last kissed. Seven months since I saw him dancing around his living room, happier than I’d seen him in ages, and took video of it. That was the night after he’d received confirmation that the helium tank was shipping. He was so light that night. So purely happy. So relieved, though I didn’t know that at the time. So much so that I still feel selfish for wanting him back here. For wanting him to be with us still, suffering, fighting….

There’s nothing like surviving a suicide loss to give you such extreme conflicting emotions. They go in every direction. Often at the same time. No wonder we get anxious, have panic attacks, want to punch things, can’t eat, eat too much, can’t sleep, sleep all the time, cry at the drop of a hat, scream in anger at the slightest provocation. We’re being pulled apart from the inside by these completely opposing, very strong emotions.

And then? Then we get it together again, somehow, and keep on keeping on.

Written 9/6/2014


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2 thoughts on “Anxiety

  1. Anxiety is no fun, so I hope it diminishes for you.
    I see you ‘keepin’ on’ in many ways, Iris.
    I send you acceptance and love, with freedom to be who you are.

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