Saturday, July 28, 2012

When PTSD Strikes in Grief

As if going through the emotional stages of grief aren't enough...shock, denial, anger, depression, and guilt. Then I found out there are physical symptoms of distress. The first year of widowhood is just crazy!

I didn't know at times if I was coming or going but I couldn't stop moving. Sometimes this meant traveling the U.S. to visit our family and friends. Other times it meant talking on the phone just about all night because I didn't want to go to bed alone. The adrenaline I had pumping through my body felt like a steady flow of caffeine. Eventually my body said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

As the one year anniversary approached, that I became a widow, I caught a cold. Not only did I feel tired and fatigued but I ended up physically and emotionally drained. At first, I didn't understand why I felt so run down and couldn't get better. I was told from a friend, who had also experienced a tragic loss in her life, "It sounds like post-traumatic stress disorder." She explained that stress from a past event will bring the illness on. Your body breaks down from all the pain it's lived through.

I realized that I had neglected my body pretty badly this past year. I had multiple sleepless nights from anxiety, as if I had drank endless pots of coffee. "And you traveled the world, never stopping to catch your breath," my friend, Carol reminded me. "You were probably scared to stop, to face what happened." And once I thought about it I realized that I didn't want to stop. But now I had to. My body was too exhausted. But I felt better that I now had a logical explanation.

It was now a time to rest. The Lord says in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." I knew the time had come.

My blogger friend, Ferree, from Widows Christian Place, raises an interesting question as her blog post this past month....

Does Resting in the Lord Equal Trusting in the Lord?
Ferree writes....I came across the following passage and thought it fits perfectly with my Saturday's theme of urging widows to rest. Grief drains, exhausts, and stresses people out emotionally, spiritually and physically. Rest in each of those areas is essential. Here's a good here for the rest of Ferree's post from Widows Christian Place.

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