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Adrenaline Crash

Saturday, April 16, 2011
On February 23, a little over 7 weeks ago, the longest standing adrenaline rush kicked into my body and that of my son's.  With me, it was coupled with anxiety.  Our bodies have been in overdrive for too long.  With him, he dealt with that rush by staying busy with social time and tennis.  He planned lots of social engagements with friends to keep his mind occupied and his emerging teenage body busy.  We always said that he has two gears, parked or full throttle, on or off, awake or asleep.... but it became even stronger during this time.  With me, I have been operating on this adrenaline rush to survive daily.... meeting with the people I need to see, taking care of financial business, wrapping up some things with Michael's business, continuing to take care of things concerning the visitation and the funeral service(thank you notes - which will come close to 600, reading letters & cards, copies of audio and video recordings of the service to those who want it, putting pictures back into frames that were used for picture boards and slide shows), running my household to best of my abilities(which is not up to par yet), keeping up with the schedules of my kids, planning for the future, making necessary decisions, being available to help with our foster child(who is now home with his family),  and grieving through all of it.

In addition to the adrenaline,  I was experiencing anxiety with my heart pounding in my chest, to the point that I thought it would just leap out of my chest.  This is what kept me awake at night. While in bed, it is easy for my mind to drift back to the moment when I heard someone knocking at our door at 3:30 in the morning to inform me of the accident.  I keep hearing the words spoken to me,"We are here to report a fatality."  My heart can suddenly go from normal to pounding.  I  have to force my thoughts in other directions and take deep breaths.  My doctor told me that this was my body in its "fight or flight" mode.  By not having to literally fight or flee, that anxiety is building in me. He told me that allowing myself to cry hard and talk to people through my  tears was crucial for helping my body deal with this response.  I experienced that in his office that day of my appointment.  He asked concerned questions and allowed me to cry many, many tears for at least 45 minutes or more.  I felt the anxiety lift after releasing so many tears and having the freedom to talk about my fears and sadness.  I began to take a beta blocker to help with the heart pounding and coupled it with something to help me sleep.  My days were all energy from adrenaline, then my nights had to be drug induced to allow my body time to shut down for awhile.  The prescription combination worked and I could experience a time to relax at night.

Last week, the day we returned from our beach trip, I decided to stop taking the sleep aid because I did not like the way it was making feel during the day. (I have always been anti-drug and always prefer the natural/homeopathic route... we have not ever even gotten the flu shot.) I slept well that night.  Then, over the next two days, my son and I began to experience our adrenaline crashing.  He and I were both tired all of the time.  He allowed himself to just lay on the couch and do nothing.  One day, he took his time looking through a scrapbook that my aunt had put together with all of the news articles on Michael that I had saved over the years. After looking at it, he went to lay down on the couch and slept for over two hours from 3 to 5 in the afternoon.  He even turned down an invitation to spend the night out and go turkey hunting so that he could rest and spend time with family. This was when I realized that he was seriously tired.  I was walking around feeling like I had just woken up from a long deep nap, but had not.  (The foggy, extremely tired feeling after a Sunday nap.)  My eyes felt tired and burned.  Phone conversations and emails took too much energy.  My body was finally sleeping deeply,naturally,  without anything needed to force it into sleep.

After a week and a half of experiencing this adrenaline crash, I feel that we are just slightly, ever so slightly,  beginning to stand on our feet again.  The tiredness and exhaustion is still there but not in the extreme way that it was even just two days ago.  If I could go to bed when my body felt like it was ready, I would have lights out by 8:00, but having teenagers forces me to stay up a little later to be sure that everyone is back home from dance class, Scouts, work, youth group, etc.  I see this as a good thing.  Our bodies are resting.  It will be awhile, a long while, before we are all fully rested, but having our bodies begin to let down has been like being able to breath without reminding myself to do so.

2 comments:

Anonymous Says:
April 16, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Step by step, moment by moment, everything in its order and in its season. I speak a straight, recognizable course to you in all you do. May ALL you put your hand to prosper and may you be supernaturally guided in all affairs.

Anonymous Says:
April 16, 2011 at 6:13 PM

you are an inspiration to all

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