In honor of my aunt’s impending death, I wanted to share a blog post that is a little more personal than normal. This blog post is about how death impacts people with anxiety disorders.
To give you guys some background, my aunt has quite a few medical issues. I won’t get into detail on those but she ended up with double pneumonia and a urinary tract infection.
This caused her immune system into overdrive and sent her organs into failure mode. She is in full-on lung failure now and is on oxygen until she passes away.
She isn’t on life-support from what I can tell but it looks like they’re close to putting her on it. People may not realize how this looks to someone with an anxiety disorder.
Seeing someone die has quite the negative impact on someone with high levels of anxiety. Let’s take a look at the impact death has on people with anxiety disorders.
“Fear of Their Own Death”
As someone with anxiety, death doesn’t have a hard time sinking its teeth into you. You do think about it from time to time on harder days. You don’t think about it when it comes to a family member.
Sometimes you have to watch someone close to you die a slow, painful death. That is hard for you and it leaves a permanent mark on your psyche.
You begin to wonder how you are going to die in the end. It makes you shudder to think about the many ways it could happen. Death impacts people with anxiety disorders in a horrible way.
At the end of the day, you don’t know how you’re going to die and that is what worries you. Your anxiety shoots through the figurative roof as the many scenarios play out in your head.
You can’t help the thoughts of death as your loved one lies in their hospital bed, dying themselves. You can’t help the fear as it wracks your own mind and begins the trek towards depression.
“Worsening Levels of Depression”
You may have thought this person was all but immortal. The person proved you wrong and it hurts you more than you realized it would.
You can’t help feeling sad but there’s a difference between sadness and depression. What you feel now is depression and you want to curl up in your bed all day.
You don’t want to do anything but have time for grieving for someone you’ve loved your entire life. They’ve been there through everything and now they’re gone.
Death impacts people with anxiety disorders worse because we have depression too. At least…a lot of us do, anyway. We don’t want to do anything but wallow in our grief in private.
We don’t want anyone else to see us fall into a mode of depression since we know how hard it is to see. We know what it looks like to have depression because we have our own experience with it.
“Out of Touch with Reality”
Have you ever had that feeling that you were watching something from the outside, looking in? Have you had this feeling while being a part of whatever it is you’re watching?
For me, this is the third time this is happening. It is a surreal time for the entire family since my father passed away right after Christmas in 2015.
The circumstances were much the same, though I don’t have the pain now that I did with my father. I don’t know my aunt very well but it still feels quite surreal at times when I saw her in the bed.
Death impacts people with anxiety disorders in a different way. We also have the ability to worry about other things as well. I can still remember everything I worried about during my father’s funeral.
There are some things we don’t forget as anxious people and this feeling is one of them for me. Death impacts us anxious minds in this way to protect us from hysteria.
“Not Knowing How to Put Their Thoughts into Words”
I always thought I was this great writer growing up. I always had words to say but I never knew how to say them. I suppose that is one of the reasons I was so quiet for all these years.
There is not a simple way to put into words how this imminent death is going to impact us. We are already anxious about so many things in our lives.
Each person grieves in a different way and silent grief is quite common for people affected by death. Anxious people, like me, are bound to fret over the death and will do it in silence.
The fact is, I don’t know how to put my thoughts into words about my aunt’s death. I’ve known her all my life and it’s going to be an odd thing to not have her at the house during national holidays.
Death impacts people with anxiety disorders very hard. It’s like a punch in the gut or something to that effect. It comes out of the blue and we aren’t prepared for it.
As people with anxiety, we prepare for a lot of things. Sometimes, though, death isn’t one of those things. We have to deal with the curve-balls as they come and ride the figurative ocean wave.
How do you deal with grief over a loved one? How does the death impact you? I want to know in the comments if you feel comfortable sharing!