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Auburn

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On December the 13th, standing within arms reach, my father in law took his own life. [admin edit] [*] My husband was standing just behind him. He held his father as he died. I am so struggling with this. He was looking right at me when he did it. The flashbacks are so hard to take. I thought I was doing ok, but then last Sat nite, the flashbacks wouldn't stop. I had to wake up my husband and take my medication. I was having awful panic attacks when I was away from my husband, but they have lessend so at least I can be away from him for awhile. But, this is the worst time for me. My husband works nights and my kids are sleeping. So I am alone with what is in my head. It is so overwhelming and scary. It feels like I am losing my mind sometimes, and the sadness is more than I think my heart can bear. I am so tired. It feels like it has taken control over every aspect or our lives. We are going to therapy, but in all honesty, afterward it is almost too hard to function because of the rawness of the open wound. I have to make sure I don't have to work afterward. I simply can't do it. My husband and I can't be away from each other for too long, and have insolated ourselves here in our home. I don't know if that is altogether a good thing, but our psychiatrist says it is ok for now. I don't know what else to do, but I just needed to talk I guess. So, here it is 1:08 AM, and I am trying so hard not to fall apart. And my husband has called to check up on me and I had to tell him I was ok. I can't have him coming home all the time for me. he just went back to work and he is having a hard enough time on his own. So, thanks for being here, and any advice will be appreciated more than you know.

[*] http://www.psychlinks.ca/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=6928#6928
 

David Baxter

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The grief one experiences from any loss is difficult enough. A traumatic loss such as the one you and your husband have experienced leaves you with additional issues to deal with.

First, Auburn, you mention that you are taking some medication currently -- do you mind telling me what that is? Second, are you seeing a therapist or counselor to help you cope with the post-traumatic symptoms? i.e., is the therapist aware of the flashbacks, etc.?

Third, one of the things I have learned in my own life is that, however it happens, I don't know how to make sense of death -- but I have found it helpful to focus on the person's life instead.... what that person meant, stood for, taught me while s/he was living... what that person left behind as a legacy of his or her life.

You might find this article on Grief and Bereavement in Sudden or Accidental Death helpful.
 

ThatLady

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You've experienced a deeply traumatic event, hon. The effects you are feeling are natural and normal for anyone after witnessing such a thing. Death is hard enough on the living when it is an expected event at the end of a long, fruitful life. It's devastating when it comes unexpectedly and traumatically.

Therapy, while it helps us to work through the event, often brings our feelings to the surface and the effects can linger with us as we try to cope with them. It takes time to do this, and the time needed differs from person to person. It sounds like you and your husband are doing the right thing, and your psychiatrist has verified that staying to yourselves for the time being is acceptable. The time will come when your wounds have healed enough to venture out. It just isn't here yet.

Do you have children? Sometimes, focussing on the needs of your children and their happy smiles can help to ease the pain of loss. If not, a pet can offer much the same. Just petting a kitten, or playing with a puppy can release emotions and offer solice.

In the meantime, please keep coming here and posting. We'll try to help you through the difficult times when you're alone and restless. That's what we're here for.

Hugs, hon. You and your husband will make it through this. You're obviously strong people or you wouldn't be here talking about what's happened and how you feel. You're seeking a path beyond the pain, and you will find it.
 

Auburn

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I don't mind telling you the medication. My family doctor put me on Lorezapam within days of this event because I was not ok. My husband had to throw out all our black handled knives, I couldn't watch some TV shows without losing it etc. But our psychiatrist now has us on Effexor and Trazodone. I am not one to take much in the way of medicine and neither is my husband, but I know we need help right now. Today was not a good day at all. I couldn't go to work. Just the thought of having to smile and make happy talk all day made me feel sick to my stomach. I had the worst headache all day. And cry, my gawd, I couldn't stop crying. I am scaring myself because I am usually much stronger. And all this has brought so much from my past roaring to the surface and that isn't helping. We are seeing a psychiatrist. We do have three children, my oldest daughter is 10 and my twins are 6. And today, I know my 10 yr old wondered what was wrong with me and all i could say was I was not feeling good. Today was the worst day I have had in about 2 weeks and I really feel like I am letting my husband down. I know he doesn't feel that way at all, but I feel like I should be stronger. And I hate not going to work. I love my job, I do. But today I just couldn't do it. The doctor knows about the flashbacks and has recommended a doctor who does special light treatment for it. I haven't called yet. i so appreciate you all being here. Thanks to you both.
 
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I am so sorry that you went through such a traumatic experience. This is a good place to just talk and vent as you need to.

Janet
 

Auburn

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Thank you Janet. I need this place. Especially now. My husband is gone to work now. My babies are sleeping. I am so tired tonite, today drained me. My husband is so worried about me. That upsets me. He is living his own hell, and I should be helping. He blames himself for me being there that day. He just told me that. But where else would I be when he needed me. His father needed help, and that is why we went there that day. The hospital was waiting for him. David Baxter told me that maybe focusing on the life of the person might help. In normal circumstances, I can see that helping. But my father in law has been a difficult man for as long as I have been in the family, and that is 14 yrs now. He has had an alcohol problems for years, but a stroke in the past year finally put a stop to that. But being sober brought a new problem to light. And it turns out that he was bi-polar. He was becoming so erratic that he was not only a danger to himself, but to others too. And that is why my husband, his brother and his mother made the decision that he had to be admitted. That is all we wanted for him so he could get the help he needed. But that is not how the day turned out. So, now we have this mess to find a way through. I had done alot of research on bi-polar after the diagnosis, and I understand that it was not our fault, but what your head knows and what your heart does to you are worlds apart.
 

David Baxter

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How long have you been taking the Effexor now, Auburn? Do you know the dosage and whether it is the extended release (Effexor-XR) or the regulat version?
 

Auburn

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We have just started the Effexor this week, so only for two days. It is the Effexor XR So, really I haven't noticed much difference yet. But I do think
I was more calm today. It is hard to tell when I am so tired. I really don't like taking meds such as these. As I said before, I have never taken much in the way of medication. I am a bit leery of taking the medication that he gave us to help us sleep. I have three kids and was afraid I wouldn't wake up if they needed me. But the doctor assured me that wouldn't be the case. Today was ok, I had some tough times at work, but managed to muddled my way thru. But I am very tired tonite. My husband just left and he is going to call me. Funny how such a little thing helps, but I really need to just hear his voice and I feel a bit better. I think also it helps cause I am able to guage how his nite is going and if he is ok. I appreciate you all. This forum helps to take some of the aloneness away when my husband leaves. Thanks.
 

David Baxter

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Okay. I expect that your doctor told you it can take as long as 4 to 6 weeks before you notice any significant benefits from Effexor, although often it's not quite that long. The benefits are gradual, subtle, and cumulative, and more than likely the doctor will have given you a low starter dose which will be increased in stages, probably in about 10 days to 2 weeks between changes. The trazodone is to help you get to sleep but it's also an antidepressant in its own right so that may also help with the anxiety/PTSD.

Just give it time and take it hour by hour for now.

My favorite quote: "Courage consists in holding on just one moment longer" -- Albert Payson Terhune
 

Auburn

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The doctor did tell us it might take awhile before we noticed any change. intellectually I know there is no quick fix, but at the same time that is all I wish for. With all that has happened, it has also brought to the surface some issues with my father and things I haven't dealt with. The doctor says this is so normal and I should expect this. But, I have to tell you, all I can think is that I just can't take any more. I am sure that my reserve energy is gone. Wiped out. I am at a breaking point. I keep trying to focus on my great kids and what they mean to me. Today was still a struggle to do anything. But I just keep putting one foot in front of the other holding on the my family for dear life.
 

David Baxter

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That's all you should even be trying to do right now, Auburn. Just get through today, one hour at a time. Then do it again tomorrow. Give yourself a chance to start to assimilate the shock. Give the medications a chance to work and help you.
 

Jaine

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Hi i'm really sorry you had to go through that experience and I hope that this forum and the wonderful people in it will be of some comfort and help to you, I can't remember if you or david have said anything about counselling of not you should consider it. I know you may not want to go and talk about how you are feeling but it does help. I'm also wondering if you have been hsving lots of flashbacks... I'm not sure and maybe david can help on this but i think ptsd is possible but im not expert i have ptsd so if you want to ask any questions feel free to. I think the way you describe your family they really mean a lot to you and i think that like what has already been said you should take life one hour at a time, one minute at a time if you have too. Being in a dark hole is not nice but i think we both will find our light at the end of the tunnel. Try to look after yourself and keep safe.
 

Auburn

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Thanks Jaine for your words. My husband and I are in therapy and it is helping. We are also both on medication which helps. The flashbacks are horrendous, but they are lessening in frequency. I still can't deal with pictures of my father in law, but our doctor told me that is ok. I can't look at his picture without having serious flashbacks. Unfortunately, the only thing I can see is that day. So, for now, pictures are out. We are having some problems assimilating ourselves back into the lives of our friends. I really don't want to be away from home. I know that this has upset many of my friends, but all I want is to be home with my husband and kids. I feel safe here. Since that day, I can't be away from my husband for very long. If I am at work, I am ok. That is reason to be away, but anything else and I start to get anxious. So, again, for now, home is where I am. The doctor assures me it is fine. He told us when we are ready, we will resume the things we did before. PTSD is definitely not a nice thing. I describe it as being a prisoner to my brain. I did have a question maybe you can answer. As well as I think we are doing, my husband and are so tired all the time. Our psychiatrist touched on it, and said something about now that we are on the road to recovery, our bodies are finally able to react, something like that anyway. Is it normal to want to sleep so much??? We are both getting very tired of being so tired. But, our bodies don't seem to give us much choice. Hopefully you can let me know. Thanks again for you concern. This forum means so much to me.
 

David Baxter

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Yes, Auburn -- I think that is to be considered normal. It takes a lot of energy to handle all the emotions and to remain on guard through it all the way you and your husband have had to do and are still doing. You may well need to do what you can to get extra rest and extra nourishment in the next little while.
 

Auburn

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Thanks David. My husband and I were both getting worried. To top it all off, I have been very sick, flu and bronchitis. My family doc said he isn't surprised. He is aware of all we have been through and said our bodies are just run down. I will tell my husband what you have told me. It will ease his mind too. And something else I wanted to say David, this place you have created is an amazing gift to all who need it. I hope you know how special you are. I know it sounds so corny, but when my husband went back to work, this place was my saving grace. Just saying thank you doesn't seem enough. But I will say it anyway.......thank you.
 

David Baxter

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Good luck to both of you, Auburn. And thank you for the kind words about the forum.
 

Jaine

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hi, sorry it's been awhike ive had a hiccup in my journey but am working through it... sleep is something i really want to do but fail to be able to as i suffer insomnia and even when having temazapan i feel i haven't slept when i have it's a crazy cycle but im glad to hear your husband and you are getting help and things are moving forward.
 

Auburn

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Well, I am having a bad nite and needed to vocalize. My father in laws ashes have been brought home. That has caused both my husband and I to have terrible days. But my nites are even worse. Sometimes I so hate being alone when he works. I mean, the kids are asleep upstairs, but I need noise. I am just so sad tonite. And I think I am angry. I am angry at what this has done to us. I am exhausted, but I don't think sleep is going to come easy tonite. I am reading this back to myself and wow, what rambling. My mind just gets so frustrated when this starts. And I am having the flashbacks tonite. I have hardly had any these past weeks. And when I did have them, I could manage them to a degree. Not this time. Driving me nuts. Anyway, just needed to vent and needed something to occupy my brain for a bit.
 

David Baxter

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Auburn, just try to remember that this is only a bad night and that in the morning the sun will return.

Is there a reason the ashes need to be in your home? I can certainly understand how that might be a major trigger for you...

If they DO need to be in your home, even if only temporarily, could you not store them somewhere out of site, like in the garage?
 

Auburn

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Ok, I know I have already posted tonite, but I am shaky. Figured coming back in here would be a good idea. I haven't freaked out like this in a long time. My husband is supposed to call, but he hasnt yet. I also didnt think I could cry anymore.......wrong. Our doc says that now we will grieve since we weren't able to do it before with everything that happened. I just want it to stop, I need it to stop. The pictures are unbearable. I know tomorrow will be better, but tonite sucks.
 

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