I’m dealing with something I do not understand and hoping some of you who read this blog can give me some insight. This is a rough time of year, of course. We’re coming on the first anniversary of my daughter’s death, just passed the 11th anniversary of my sister’s death, and are in the middle of the holiday season to boot. My anxiety level is so high it’s literally making me ill at times, and things are relatively unpleasant at the best.
The bit I’m not understanding is panic. Recently, my best friend and I had to make a change of plans. The small change in our routine really set me off. I just had this assumption that he was out of my life. That *used* to be a response– I would assume that spending time with others would make him realise how horrible I was, and he’d want me out of his life forever. That has *not* been a reaction for a few years now, though.
Even more recently, he found himself a bit under the weather. Nothing serious at all. Just the typical pre-winter cold. Again, I panicked. Would he get enough rest? Would we be able to see each other? Would he, knowing how much changes were upsetting me, push himself to do something he wasn’t quite up to? A million unpleasant thoughts popped about in my head, and I was literally worried sick.
Today, he got a bit of nausea. Again, nothing serious. Likely, it’s just lunch that didn’t feel as though it spent enough time with him the first go round. That brought the panic to a full-on attack. My mind immediately went to the idea that my best friend would die, and I’d never see him again. That quickly led into the thought of not being able to spend any time with him at all over the next week, even if he did survive. He has plans the next two Saturdays, so Fridays seem almost critical.
I am *not* one to panic. As a matter of fact, I’m typically the one who stays calm whilst everyone else panics. Why, then, are simple changes in plan or status making me panic? Today, my reaction to my best friend’s stomach issue was a full-on panic attack. He isn’t aware of that; it’s not his responsibility. Still, I phoned him to hear his voice, so I know he *sounds* fine. He says he’s a bit tired and has some lingering nausea, all perfectly normal. I’ll be pacing the floors until I know for definite I’ll see him tonight, though. Every minute of not seeing him seems to count double right now- it’s like my mind is registering the fact that every minute could be the last minute.
So what’s going on with this panic? PTSD involving grief issues? I have no idea what to call it, how to frame it, or how to work with it. I also have no access to a decent therapist to help. This is making what’s already a difficult time of year much, much worse.