I apologise in advance for the long post to follow. Also, I couldn't think of an appropriate title, as what I am feeling is a lot of different emotions not just the one in the title.
Our daughter died in sept 08, after a five month battle in Nicu. I have a 4 year old DS who is my world, and my rock and is homeschooled. He is fantastic and the homeschooling is working our great.
However, I am really struggling with everything else in life - m;y son is great, homeschooling is great. But everything else feels very difficult right now.
Both DH and I have been through the rollercoaster of grief, and are still very much in the midst of it all now.
Lately, as the title says I have been feeling so lonely. Not because I don't see people, we see people a lot, friends and family and playdates for Nathan its all going fab. But lonely, because I don't talk about how I feel. I don't feel that they understand. I talk to other grieving parents which helps.
But friends and family don't understand. And I clam up when trying to open up.
I am struggling with accepting myself for who I am. I am an introvert, which I hate being. I am absolutely fine when at home in my bubble with my hubby and son. But as soon as I leave that safety net, I clam up and feel like the whole world is against me. I hate myself a lot of the time.
I feel like I failed as a mother, because I couldn't save my daughter, and both my babies were premature. I feel like I fail as a wife because today, hubby's dad had a family birthday party. All the grand children were there, apart from Sienna (my daugher in heaven) and I cried. Its the first time I have ever cried in front of hubby's family. I am so embarrassed. I feel like such a failure, because I don't open up with the family, can't fit in, just want to hide away in my bubble - is that how it is when you're an introvert? Is that normal? Or is this sounding beyond normal? I have no confidence outside of home. I've been down the counselling and anti-depressants route, but don't want to go there again really. I want to come to terms with my loss, and come to terms with who I am. Accept myself as I am. But I don't know how to do that?
When I'm at home with my hubby and son, or homeschooling my son, I'm great. Don't get me wrong not one day goes by when I don't think of my daughter, but at home I am happy, in control, relaxed. And DS is happy and well balanced too. I'm also fine with taking him to the library for story time, swimming, parks etc. But when I'm with groups of people, like family get togethers, I clam up, and start despising myself for that.
Theres more, but I think that covers the main issues I have at the moment!
If you got this far, thanks for reading. And any advice would be so greatly appreciated.
** I wrote this a week or so ago, after a particularly difficult day, since then I have read 'The highly sensitive person' which I think has helped me, but any other comments would be appreciated still. ** Thank you.
**** Just realised the title isn't what I'd originally used as a title when I wrote this, so forgive me for not making much sense when referring to the old title lol! ****
Hugs to you. That is a terrible thing to happen.
First, beating yourself up for who you are is a terrible thing to do. It will prevent any change. Being introverted is not a flaw - it just is. Acceptance will go a long way. Read some more about personality types and get some peace with your unique personality and skills and gifts. I am introverted. I prefer introverted people - so much more restful.
Second is, you are grieving, and that is okay, however you do it. Get support from other grieving parents b/c most people are really uncomfortable with the death of a child. They're not bad - you're not bad - it's just difficult. Could you contact the person you are most comfortable with, and explain that you want to talk, but are really scared?
Third, you don't have to do drugs, but therapy is very helpful.
Fourth, remember, any thought that starts with "I should..." that you beat yourself up with is NOT a productive thought. Just notice it as a thought - it is not the truth, just a thought - and let it go. Picture releasing it like a balloon into the sky.
Thank you so much for this reply, re-reading my post back I realise how hard I am on myself, I do a whole lot of beating myself up which I know is terrible really. I know I need to be kinder to myself, and I think I am slowly beginning now to take baby steps in the right direction.
The grieving has just left me so exhausted emotionally, when we lost our daughter we knew our worlds were turned upside down and that it would be the most difficult thing any parent should ever have to go through...... but naively maybe, I didn't realise quite how bad it would really be, it will have been 3 years in september yet in many ways it feels harder now than it did then..... working through the stages of grief maybe? I don't know, its been torture! Especially considering that on the flip side, I've had my son to bring up which has been amazing, so I've seen what i'm missing with my daughter if that makes any sense. Its so hard. I will look into further counselling, it did help before.
What you said about recognising when things are just thoughts was helpful - I do a lot of thinking and get carried away with it all, taking those 'thoughts' to literally a lot of the time - I drive myself crazy sometimes!
I'm feeling a lot more peaceful now, although I think I'm at the *angry* stage of grieving, I have so much anger - towards the hospital mainly, and I know I need to work through it - I think the counselling would help in that too.
We are ttc our rainbow at the moment, so I think this is all bringing about a lot of raw emotions too.
Anger is a tough stage. I found that I had to give myself permission to be really angry and then it did burn itself out.
Maybe it will help to remember that you are not the only one who lost Sienna. Everyone who knew her lost her - your extended family, friends, nurses who took care of her. We all lost her, not just you. You can talk about her with others. They would probably understand more than you realize.
I'm so very sorry for the loss of your little one. I can't imagine how difficult that must be for you.
I just wanted to raise something which occurred to while reading your first post. If you find that leaving the security of your home and immediate family is really beginning to impact you very severely then it is possible that you may be developing agoraphobia. The general rule is "if it inhibits your ability to lead a normal life then it's probably not normal".
I am an introvert and, while I am also a homebody I don't believe that this is a defining characteristic of introversion. An introvert is someone who re-energises by being alone and who finds being with other people draining. It doesn't mean being shy or socially awkward (not saying you are either of those things, just that it's a common misconception). What you wrote in your post doesn't sound like it's just introversion to me. *But* whether it is normal grieving or something more than that I don't know.
Obviously, I only know what you wrote in your post but, if you find that being among people and outside home is causing you considerable distress then this may be something you want to explore. IMO a trusted counselor would be the best person to raise this with.
All the best. I hope you start to feel better soon.
ETA - what you described could also be explained by "simple" depression. You mentioned that you'd been on anti-depressants before but not why you came off them. It may be that you need to consider trying them again (the same one or a different one, it often takes several tries to get the right fit).
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012