Did you know anxiety is commonly experienced in grief? I think Author C.S Lewis described this well when he said “no one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing”.
Life isn’t the same after we have experienced a loss, life has changed, things don’t feel quite as certain as they once did. This can cause some anxiety symptoms, such as breathlessness, shakiness, sweating, hot/cold sensations, feeling faint, tightness in chest, palpitations, stomach issues and more. Yes grief is all encompassing.
Symptoms of anxiety can be unpleasant, and scary. But there are things we can do to ease/manage angst when we are in the midst: –
– Give voice to your emotions;
– Do some diaphragmatic breathing;
– Cry to release adrenaline;
– Turn to religious/spiritual beliefs/values to comfort and guide you;
– Exercise to release feel-good chemicals;
– Remember sometimes getting through the day is enough;
– Connect with others – they can make the difference in coping with grief and anxiety;
– Call upon strengths and how you coped in the past. What were your needs? What helped?
Be willing to try some of these things also, and be mindful/focused in the moment…
Have coffee with a friend/family member;
Take up a hobby e.g. photography;
Knit, sew, crochet;
Learn a new subject;
Hike, walk, run;
Go to a movie, concert, or play;
Do some scrap booking.
It is important to accept our needs regardless of what we were like before we lost our beloved pet. You may need to be more active or more quiet than usual, talk or contemplate more; whatever you need is OK. Your loss is legitimate and painful so do what is right for you at this time. If you can only do the above suggestions in small doses, there will still be a benefit, getting a reprieve from anxiety is good even if for a few minutes. Finding ways to manage anxiety is personal so finding what is right for you can take some time and work but it’s worth it.
If anything in this article has triggered you, or you know someone who is struggling with grief and loss, please seek support. You can contact me via my website www.bymyside.net.au, via phone 0401 809 666 or via www.facebook.com/Bymysideau