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hikermom

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  • Date Widowed
    August 2012
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  1. hikermom

    Teen daughter struggling

    Hi Julester Thanks for your reply. I have not had a full neuropsych eval done. I think we initially thought it was a fairly straightforward case of depression/anxiety combined with a difficult transition to a new school district. I'm honestly not sure it isn't just that but it feels so out of control to me that I may request it. Your description of your daughter sounds similar to mine: skipped classes, dropped grades, sleep disturbances, moodiness in an extreme. She is cutting and risk taking in very scary ways. She is also very resistant to therapy and really doesn't give much away in counseling. She is firmly convinced that medication doesn't work. Having managed my own depression/anxiety for most of my life, I can understand those feelings. I know if the grip of it it feels never-ending. I so appreciate your common-sense and reassuring post. Thank you.
  2. Hi all, I'm not even sure what to post so this is likely to be a bit rambling. A few of you know that my daughter was adopted at a young age. So even before her dad died, she'd experienced great loss. With the death of her dad when she was 8, she was hit again. We managed for a while - with help from teachers, coaches, friends, therapists. And then the teen years hit, I needed to sell our house and move (another loss for her). She is changing in front of me with self-harm, smoking, lying and sneaking around, skipping class. Sure, some of this is teen behavior but some of it is diagnosed depression and anxiety. She talks of suicide but does not have a plan and her therapist believes she is not a danger at this point. We are working with her doctor on medication (which so far isn't helping) and she has had a therapist for many years (also not helping as she refuses to actually address her underlying issues). We've recently started family therapy with a therapist who is less willing to let her get away with stuff. In a way, the behavior has escalated but I feel that may in part be due to having stuff brought up that she has been suppressing. I'm doing my best - I've taken FMLA at work to be home with her while she is adjusting to the meds. I'm setting limits and consequences for behavior that is not acceptable and carrying through on those consequences - hard as it is. But this is exhausting and scary and overwhelming to manage on my own. I guess I just need to hear from others that you've gotten through the other side of this with your teens. With her being adopted, we don't know family history. With all the loss she's experienced, there is sure to be some compounding of emotions. Sorting through what is grief, what is teen-ness, what is mental health issue is all overwhelming. And I worry so much for her future. I know many kids go through this stuff and come out fine. I know many don't. Thanks for listening.
  3. I'm so sorry. I know that words aren't going to help but that is all I can give right now. I have not had anywhere near your experience in the 6+ years since my husband's death. I've had some good periods and some horrible ones. Too many losses to list and they have just compounded the original loss of my husband and increased the isolation that came with his death. I just want to say that I appreciate your honesty. Too often we feel like we have to put a good face on - whether it is to fool ourselves or to fool others. But that face can end up feeling more isolating. I'm so overwhelmed right now dealing with significant behavioral and mental health issues with my teen daughter and feel like I'm drowning. You're right - for me right now it feels worse than when my husband died. I know for you that has been a steady 7 years of pain and loss and, perhaps worse of all, a feeling of betrayal by those who should be supporting and helping you. This doesn't help ease your pain but know that I am thinking of you and hoping that you can find someplace that gives you some space to heal. Wish we could all rally around you physically but will just have to do so virtually. And I'm so sorry about your dog now. Hugs.
  4. hikermom

    Newly Widowed Again

    I am so sorry Bluebird. I haven't been on here lately and just saw this. You and Wifeless both were such a huge support to so many, myself included. My heart is breaking for you. Wishing you space, breath, peace.
  5. Mc5, First, I'm so sorry for the death of your wife. My daughter was 8 when her dad died and that was about the hardest aspect of grieving for me - managing the twin griefs of my own loss of my husband and best friend, and trying to support my daughter through her grief. You are right, kids follow a different path and their grief looks very different from adult grief. My daughter had lots of anger and took to punching pillows when she felt really angry. We tried to find ways for her to focus on breathing and using music to calm herself to get to sleep. The biggest thing is just to listen, to be honest with them about your emotions, and to be okay with making mistakes. You're not going to get through this without screwing up some - that is okay. Be gentle with yourself. There are no guidebooks for this, just instinct and communication. My daughter is now almost 15. We've had a rollercoaster and are dealing with some very difficult teen issues now. The challenge for me, and it may be for you, is what is due to the grief and what is normal teen/tween behavior. In the end, I think it doesn't matter that much. The same principles apply: consistency, empathy and compassion, clarity of expectations, love, communication. Build support around your family to the best of your ability and lean on family friends, coaches, etc. And this group can be a huge help - if for no other reason than you know you aren't the only one who has gone through it, who is going through it, and you aren't alone. HM.
  6. hikermom

    Having trouble functioning

    I can so relate to this. I still struggle with it to be honest but that may just be that I'm generally an introvert anyway and in my job, I have to be out in front so by the end of the day or weekend, I'm toast. But the 2nd year was so much harder in so many respects. You are likely exhausted from everything you had to do following your partner's death and emotional exhaustion is just as debilitating. i agree with Trying. Small goals are important. Asking for help can be hard but is also important. If it is too much to get out, can you have a good friend come by to spend time with you? How about some activities that limit social interactions naturally, such as going to a movie or taking a walk with someone. Both of those can allow for some quiet time. It can be far too easy to just withdraw from the world but ultimately much of our isolation ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is hard and you are still so early. you don't have to run a whole marathon (metaphor here!), just take a few baby steps to start. Glad you posted. This group means the world to me and is the one place I feel truly understood and at the same time, feel I can offer something in return.
  7. Steph, I'm so sorry that you had reason to find us but so glad that this resource can be here for you. It's been almost 6 years for me but I can still remember those early days. It felt like I was submerged under water - everything was muffled and it felt hard to breathe. Everything was muted except for the overwhelming sense of despair and grief. I think the brain cocoons us from too much reality so that we can slowly start to find our way through the fog. Some critical thinks for those early days, weeks and months: just as you would give your body time to recover from a horrible trauma, you need to give your soul and psyche time to recover from this trauma. Be gentle with yourself. Drink lots of water. Breathe, breathe, and breathe some more - I always felt like I wasn't breathing those early months and in truth, I think I was breathing so shallowly it was almost as if I wasn't. If it is helpful to you, spend time in nature. That soothed me and walking meant I was forced to breathe more deeply. Post here and read old posts. Just knowing that I wasn't alone was so critical. finally, we can all assure you that those early emotions to level off. You can find peace and happiness even though that feels like an impossibility. It's not a straight road and it certainly isn't flat. But it also isn't always uphill. Sometimes it levels off and you can catch your breathe and gain a sense of perspective for how far you have come. I'm sorry you have to move so quickly. I'm going through a move right now and am finding it so hard. A part of me almost wishes I had done it earlier. Keep posting and know that you aren't alone. hm
  8. hikermom

    Need bucking up following sale of house

    Thanks all. I had just a horrible day when I posted this. Crying frequently, feeling overwhelmed and so lost. I kept thinking this couldn't just be the house (although clearly that was a massive trigger) and that it had to be some anniversary of something: our daughter's adoption day? No. A half-year anniversary of his death? No. What the hell was it. I then realized it was the day my mom died, 14 years ago. I should have realized this earlier because my parents had been on my mind a lot - realizing so many of the plants around my house are from my parents' home; that this was where I was living when they died, too. Just more layers of grief and loss that my body was telling me I needed to recognize so that I could move along. I appreciate the posts and PMs. I may not post as much on here as the old board but I still need this as a touchpoint. One place where I'm understood and not judged for where in this journey I may be.
  9. hikermom

    Are you still stunned?

    So often, particularly early on, I would feel like I just needed the world to stop for a moment. It felt like I was frozen in a moment of time and the rest of the world was moving ahead full steam. I was stunned like a bird that had flown into a window and wasn't dead but wasn't fully present either. I needed the world to stop so that I could catch my breath. Almost as if I had been thrown overboard along with him. Now it feels more like this quote - so many big and little things have occurred in the past 5+ years that I wish my husband could know. Life changes for me and our daughter; simple things like songs on the radio that were released after his death. The rules of the deck games have changed but at least I'm back onboard. I'm not stunned any more. There are moments that I'm struck by the incredulity that the world is now missing this man and all he had to offer, that I'm a widow (I still can't use that word most of the time). Stunned, no, as that word conjures for me a sense of stillness and being frozen, like that bird. I'm moving - forward, backward, sideways - but still have moments where I am surprised.
  10. hikermom

    New and unexpected

    Jessm1 - Firstly, I'm so sorry you have cause to be here but glad you found this site. I can only assume that people feel afraid of the manner of your husband's death. Overdose freaks many people out (hell, death freaks people out!) and that can cause a pulling away. You may know there is a section here for folks whose partners died from overdose or by suicide. It can help to have others who know the unique experience more individually as they can help you process the complex world of your own grief as the challenges of dealing with unknowing family and friends. It isn't fair that you have to figure it out on your own. This is the time you should have understanding and love and compassion to help buoy you through. Are there local support groups? Places where you can find emotional support locally as well as on here? Having that connection with people here was critical for me early on. I needed to know that what I was feeling and experiencing wasn't crazy. When you are younger, you likely don't know any widow/ers in real life who are younger and can understand. It feels so isolating. Losing a spouse to overdose, unfortunately, only adds to that sense of isolation. Keep posting here and asking for support. We do understand. HM
  11. I finally sold my house. I'd hoped to stick it out until DD graduated from high school but the commute, the maintenance, and the worry just got to be too much. Rationally I know it was a good decision but now I feel like I made a huge mistake. I feel horrible that I'm taking DD away from the one home she can remember; that I'm leaving a setting and a place that I love for living in a townhouse; that I made this decision far too emotionally. Deep down I know it was necessary. I'd been worrying about a lot of different things going on the house. Perhaps they would have come to be, perhaps not but just the worry about it was exhausting. Living so far from work and in such a rural location, I've had zero social life and am isolated and lonely. My life has consisted of work, carting DD around to sports and music lessons, and maintenance on the house. My health has declined because I'm not exercising or cooking healthy meals. But now that it is sold and I'm just renting back until the end of the school year, I'm assailed by doubt. Doesn't hurt that it is now spring and the river sounds glorious. The peepers are incredible. The flowers are starting to emerge. I walked by the bulbs we planted when he died; the stone wall that the two of us built; the tree trunk where he cut down a black cherry and I yelled at him to not kill himself or crush the house. So many memories were born here and many have died here. I guess I just need others who have moved to tell me that the intensity of this emotion will wane. That I'll not lose more memories but in fact will create new one. I need to have people remind me of all the hard parts of living where I do and that I'm opening up to a new chapter. I just feel like I'm closing a chapter that I didn't want to end.
  12. KyrpticKat - i can only imagine that your own car accident brought back all of your feelings and fears. That is a completely understandable and rational response, albeit an involuntary one, I am sure. Although my husband did not die in an accident, he did die suddenly. For the past 5+ years, I've definitely struggled with anxiety mainly focused on my daughter as Captains wife also expressed. I think we've walked closer to the veil than a lot of people and know how fast life can change. Life as we know it can alter dramatically in a split second. I still can't seem to fully manage it when I can't locate my daughter and people do not understand why I want and need to know if they are going to be late bringing her home from a soccer practice or some such thing. My imagination goes to worst possible scenario. Sometimes I think it is a defense mechanism - that if I can imagine and prepare for the worst, then it won't happen. It makes no sense but then again, I'm coming to terms with my irrationality! You aren't alone. It is understandable, particularly with your accident. And I wish for you a release from that fear.
  13. hikermom

    Purging

    This nails it. I was having a hard time putting it into words, even in my own head. But you stated it so well here. Today I've got a bit of flashback hangover - and am back to leaking like I haven't done for a long time. Not really crying, just those slow, quiet tears that fall of their own volition without warning. Some days I feel so alone. Thank you all for reminding me there is a whole tribe out there!
  14. hikermom

    Purging

    I am hoping to sell my house and move this spring/summer. That means finally tackling all the boxes of stuff throughout the house. DH was a bit of a hoarder so I've spent the past few days packing up his old medical books (that were probably out of date when he was alive, let along 5.5 years later), going through old cassette tapes (yes, cassette tapes!), photos, books, DDs old toys and school papers from kindergarten and the early school years. This walk down memory lane has been so mixed. Some things feel really good to just get rid of. But the cassettes were harder - found some of his old mix tapes (god, am I really that old??) and his Santana, Crowded House, Bruce Cockburn. So many thoughts just running around in my head. The photos are harder still. We both look so young in them. Photos of us with our first apartment, our first puppy together, our first house that we bought, our first ski trip. Photos of us camping, hiking, canoeing and kayaking. All the things we loved to do. So many smiles and memories that come flooding back in. Of course my mom is in there, my dad too. Sometimes I feel like I've lived a thousand lifetimes with the number of people I've lost. But the hardest thing of all were the travel books. Isn't that weird? So many places we dreamed of going - Nepal, Norway, China, Barbados, New Zealand. Some we made it to, others we didn't. But the lost dreams were pretty much summed up in those travel books.
  15. hikermom

    Selling the house.

    You may know I'm selling my house. Right now I'm doing it on my own. Crazy - perhaps - but I needed control over the process. What I did: I contacted a trusted local appraiser to have a good idea of what is a reasonable asking price. I created my own website with photos and lots of information that a realtor wouldn't have and am essentially selling a way of life. I put it out to friends, through Facebook and through a Vermont specific list-serve called Front Porch Forum. Within the first 48 hours, I had 5 people contact me to see it. I have two of the five coming back for second looks. Within one week. I just had an inspector walk through today to tell me what issues might come up. He did the full inspection but didn't write a formal report - I took notes as he talked. This set my mind at ease and gave me a list of small issues to address and the comfort of mind that nothing of significance showed up. I haven't even put it on Zillow yet but will if need be. I am waiting to use a realtor unless I really need to. If there is nothing structurally wrong, just old outdated stuff, you may be under estimating what you could get for it. Happy to talk further. If you haven't seen my website, let me know and I'll send you the link. I put it on Facebook a little over a week ago. This is big stuff, TS - good for you! Good for us!

Personal Information

  • Date Widowed
    August 2012
  • Spouse's Age
    0


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