Let’s talk about it…
Let’s talk about the giant elephant that usually ends up in the room after child loss or any kind of loss for that matter.
It can separate people.
It can isolate people.
It can make a person feel lonely in a crowded room.
It can make them feel as though nothing they ever do will be good enough.
It can make them feel as though there is something wrong with them.
That Elephant’s name?
There are many things that exist in the loss community that are considered taboo by society. I’m not going to just talk about society though. Another place these things are considered taboo or downright demonic is in the Christian community. Now please do not mistake me. I am a Christian. I love Christ with all of my heart and I know that he does not desire for anyone to live in anxiety or depression. His desire is to help us OUT of it.
Anxiety is not demonic though as I have heard it described. I know that there are instances where Satan can use that anxiety and depression against us if we let him. He takes it and beats it into our heads until we feel as though we are drowning in a sea of overthinking and worrying. When I talk about anxiety, I am speaking of more than worrying. The anxiety I am talking about is the kind that grips at your heart and never let’s go. It has you pacing the floors, never able to finish anything, snapping at people you love, etc. It’s the kind that keeps you up at night and sits like a heavy brick on your chest. It’s a real thing. It’s not as some describe “not letting God take control”. No that’s not it. Because I have let God take control. I have trusted God in all circumstances, despite not wanting to. No that is not it. It is not a demonic thing. It is a flesh thing. It comes when you have experienced an event so traumatic that it over takes most of every area of your life.
So that you understand what I am trying to say I will give you some examples.
My daughters are healthy, happy, and vibrant. They has the same bedtime routine they have had since they were infants. I do too. After they are fast asleep I go into their rooms to see if they are ok. Are they breathing? This may be normal however I stay for several minutes. I first look at her. I can see her physically breathing. This isn’t enough though. I have to touch her to feel her breath. I feel it. This still isn’t enough. I know that she’s alive. She’s breathing. The evidence is right there. I tell myself “Jenna, just go back downstairs, its ok. She’s ok.” But I wait. Wait for her to move. Wait for her to make a loud noise. Anything to ease the constant thought in the back of my mind that I am going to wake up and find my daughter is no longer breathing. Then I go back to my room. After a while, I do it again. Some nights are worse than others. But the nagging to go check is ever present. While this anxiety has eased over the years and my daughters have gotten older and I don’t typically check on them to this degree every night anymore, some nights I do. It’s is then that I feel anxiety trying to ease its way back into my mind.
When B was an infant I remember several times where I would be driving with her by myself. She would be in her rear facing car seat and I couldn’t see her. There would be several minutes where she was quiet. I couldn’t hear her. Then all of a sudden a horrible image of B being dead in her car seat would flicker in my mind and I would have to pull over. Get out and check to make sure she was ok. She was always OK. She would either be sleeping peacefully or smiling up at me. I felt as though I was losing my mind.
These are just two examples of how anxiety has gripped my life and nestled itself right in. I know I am not the only one who has experienced anxiety to this extreme. However, it’s not something that is EVER talked about. I know because I don’t talk about it. Either we feel ashamed that something is wrong with us. Or we feel as though no one would understand.
But I am here to say let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about all the taboo things that come with child loss. Let’s break the silence. This is the only way we will heal.
As a Christian and a bereaved mother I can understand why both these things are thought by so many people. Whenever I hear someone say that anxiety is just not trusting the Lord or that it is demonic I think “has this person ever experienced true anxiety? Because they are sorely mistaken.” It grips at my heart and makes me grimace. If we are going to reach people who are hurting, we need to reach them at their lowest points. The point where they are hurting the most. Not make them feel that they are alone. Reach them like Jesus did.
There are many examples of people in the bible who suffered anxiety. King David being just one. Don’t believe me, read some Psalms.
God desires for us to be free from anxiety. He is not up in heaven condemning us. He is saying here let me comfort you. Let me in.
It’s important to not only cry out to God when anxiety is overtaking us but also turn to someone who understands. And if need be seek help from a trained professional. I am not going to lie. I have been to my doctor several times for anxiety. Therapists are there for a reason as well. To help.
You, me, us, none of us are alone in our fight. None of us are alone after a traumatic loss unless we chose to be.
Please do not chose to be.