dracarey wrote:I have always been an anxious person, but I never realized I had a true problem with it until I experienced pre-eclampsia. Much of my anxiety is health related, as well. Like you, pre-eclampsia struck me at 30 weeks. It was extremely difficult to face the fact that I was seriously ill. There were a lot of ups and downs both during the immediate birth experience as well as during my recovery - I'm sure you have experienced these as well. I had HELLP syndrome, pulmonary edema, post-partum pre-eclampsia, etc. etc. Combined with this, we were dealing with having a baby in the NICU, and the emotional roller coasters that accompany that. In short, life became really serious, really fast. My husband and I were talking the other day about how we never appreciated how free and easy life was before all of this!
I'm now about 14 weeks out from this experience. There were points when my anxiety was so bad that I wanted to scream at my doctor - "MEDICATE ME!!!" I do wish I had used some anti-anxiety meds as I think it was unnecessary to experience these feelings to this degree. But, nobody ever offered me anything, and I guess I didn't know how to advocate for my mental health. However, I did seek counselling, and I found this to be a tremendous help. We did a lot of cognitive behavioural therapy, including things like - learning to put the blood pressure monitor away after 5 measurements; and addressing how my "beliefs" (which may or may not be real) affect my emotional state. Let me give you an example of this. The catastrophic thought "my life is never going to be normal again, and I am going to die young" would pop into my head, and I would be unable to get rid of it. So, I would force myself to examine this thought. Is this a reasonable thought? No. Life can be normal, because I can make it that way. Am I going to die young? Maybe! But anyone could. Certainly I will be able to move beyond the health effects of pre-eclampsia. Then I would make myself come up with a positive belief - "My life is what I make it, and it will be normal again. I am not going to think about dying, because then I will forget to live." I would actually write these down to cement my thought process. You know, the best part about the post-traumatic stress of this situation is that it forced me to acknowledge issues I already had, and it better prepared me to deal with the challenges of motherhood (particularly with a preemie). I will always deal with these elements of my personality, but I just accept who I am!
I can promise you that not only can you move beyond this anxiety, but you WILL come out of this even stronger. That doesn't mean it's an easy or a quick process, and it does take a lot of work. Just remember that everything you're feeling is normal, normal, normal, and that anxiety can actually make you feel physically ill. But certainly consider some counselling. Getting to voice your problems and worries to someone who doesn't know you personally is worth every penny.
Take care. I wish you all the best.
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