The Tight Grip

I can feel it creeping up. Lurking in the shadows waiting to take hold.

It comes. Every month. Taunting me. Threatening me. Bullying me.

I feel my heart start to race. Beating so fast I can’t breath.

My mouth goes dry. The panic sets in. It’s got me.

There is no turning back. The thoughts are flooding. The fear sets in.

I pace the room. I look over my shoulder. I break down and cry.

I know what is happening. I know I am not in danger. My head knows this. My heart knows this.

My body does not. It’s playing tricks on me. The helpless feelings all over again.

The fear I caused *this*. That I did *this*.

Only now *this* is normal. That was not.

This is not grief. This intense fear. This body reaction that I can not stop is another monster.

A couple  months ago I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Something I have been battling with since early June. Most of the month I am *ok* but  the triggers flood me every month with the return of my cycle. It is draining for a lack of a better word. I am in good care — have the great support of my doctor and partner. I have things in place to help brace myself as much as I can for this time and things set for when I am in the throws of it. I acknowledge that it just wont go away. It wants a fight so I will give it one.

For about 10 days out of the month I am “held hostage”. I am haunted with nightmares that terrify me, flustered with a heart that beats 2 times the normal speed and almost unbearable anxiety.  I am afraid of seeing the red. I am afraid of sleeping. I am terrified of letting my husband down. It’s all PTSD.

I don’t feel like myself — mainly because I am not myself.  I am a rational person and this is not rational — at least I can not rationalize myself out of it. In my life before children I worked with some people struggling with PTSD. I know it’s not simple. I know it is complicated. Now I know first hand just how hard a grip it can hold. It can feel like it fights just as hard to stay as I fight to push it away.

I will get through this though. With time. With support. With work.

Devan McGuinness

is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief , which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss.

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