Not so Good Friday

My uncle passed away this morning. We’d been expecting the call for days now. Whenever the phone rang at unusual hours our hearts would skip a beat. And it finally came. I don’t know the details, but apparently he died in his sleep, his heart just gave out. My mother, together with my remaining aunts and uncles left around noon to be there for the wake and burial and are coming back tomorrow afternoon. A couple of my cousins left a bit later and got there by the evening, they’ll probably be coming back at down tomorrow. Irapuato is a 4-hour-long-drive away, give or take. And still, despite all these facilities and opportunities, I stayed behind. That’s how much of a chicken I am.

I chose not to go to the wake for a number of reasons. The good thing about driving my mom to see my uncle for the last time a couple of weeks ago, is that I myself got to say goodbye and see him while he was still conscious and express my aunt (his wife) and one of their daughters (the one I’ve been closest to), how sorry I am for all of this. Having said my goodbyes and having seen the two women I wanted to see, I couldn’t really find a point in meeting up with the rest of his children and grandchildren, whom I’ve never been close to. Also, there’s the fact of how horribly triggered I was the last time I was there, just by the mere idea of seeing this particular cousin of mine whose memories I’ve been having to deal with ever since that night I stayed there, and all of the terrible dreams I dreamt that caused a week-long anxiety attack.

I feel like shit about staying behind, and still I think it was what was best for me. Amongst other things, I would’ve been forced to see my cousin, and I don’t know how triggering that might have been. A couple of weeks back I suffered like hell, and I think now it would’ve been worse. However, even staying here in Mexico City didn’t entirely keep me out of harm. I’ve been having these palpitations and anxiety pains that got so bad I actually needed to resort to my anxiolytic today.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been having a different kind of chest pains. The experience is similar to what you feel when you just heard incredibly bad news, something you just couldn’t believe possible or something that goes terribly wrong and there is way too much at stake, do you know the feeling? I can kind of describe it like my heart flipping over… it’s weird and it feels horrible. The thing is, I’ve had this sensation while doing the most ordinary things, it’s happened while driving, teaching a class, working, playing with the kitties, anything really, and since I felt it related to my heart, when I shared it with BF he obviously got worried.  The first thing he wondered is if this was an anxiety-related issue, like the regular palpitations I get on Sundays and I said no way, because this time it wasn’t happening while I was experiencing anxiety or angst in any way. So, when I continued to feel this way, he suggested I met with a cardiologist or something like that. I of course didn’t like the idea so I was trying to ignore the sensation.

Today, however, the sensation happened so many times I lost the count, and by the evening I was also experiencing my regular angst chest pains. That’s when I decided to hit the med cabinet and grab the anxiolytic. I don’t like taking it, it makes me feel like I’m weak and a loser, but today I really needed it. It was also sort of an experiment, if the heart-flipping-over-thing didn’t stop with the med, then I would be sure it wasn’t anxiety-driven. But it did, both to my relief and sorrow. Relief, because it means I won’t have to go on a heart-doctor-quest that would most certainly imply uncomfortable and expensive tests. Sorrow, because it means I’ve developed yet another cuckoo symptom. Now I’m getting anxiety related “heart flips” or whatever you want to call them, and I get them even when I’m not particularly stressed! Granted, today has been a stressful day with all the family issues, but this thing started before today.

And now I’m gonna have to mention this to the shrink board. Because yeah, I really haven’t brought it up before since I had convinced myself this was entirely physical. So, I’ve been dealing with a new and quite discomforting symptom, and haven’t said a word to the actual people who might help me deal with it, way to go! I was probably just waiting for it to go away and leave me alone, but by this point I’m beginning to realize it’s not going to go away by itself, damn it!

About my uncle, I can only say I’m relieved he’s resting now. Of course it’s terrible to have someone in the family die, but what he was going through was way worse. I only worry about my aunt now, she had been taking care of him for so long she practically gave up her life for him. I just hope sadness recedes just enough to let her see he’s now in a better place, whatever it may be.

I’m still going to see her and her daughter next week though. As I mentioned before, I’m going on a small trip with BF to this village called San Miguel de Allende, which is actually just an hour away from their city, so when we head back, we’re going to stop there for me to give my condolences to them, and hopefully by then the family huddle will have dissolved.

Downtown San Miguel de Allende
Image credit: Sandy Baum Photography

26 thoughts on “Not so Good Friday

  1. um, ya. both those feelings are anxiety. anxiety can be triggered by underlying thoughts, emotions, etc. that have nothing to do with what you are actively doing at the moment. so, take the anxiolytic when it is more than you can take. and Yay–no cardiologist! (I actually did that when I first developed severe anxiety. I couldn’t breathe when I sat up, after 4 days of lying down, I finally went to the doc and the cardiologist–ended up being severe anxiety which xanax helped a lot).

    Sorry to hear of your uncle’s passing, but as you say, he is at peace now. Hope you have fun on the trip with BF.

  2. I’m sorry for your families loss, expected or not the feeling if loss is so often great and “unexpected” I think you made the right choice about not going, that’s the nice thing about the dead they don’t really mind your absence. It’s the living that get grumpy about it.
    The heart thing I’m very familiar with as when I suffer from panic attacks related to PTSD they are very physical, heart flips, faint feeling, I did go see a heart doc as bad tickers run in my family. Trust me with the right training if you choose you can work your way through these physical issues related to you panic attacks.
    Have a lovely weekend and take care.

    • Thanks Ben, I too think I made the right choice, though it was a tough one to make. I am going to find out more about controlling this anxiety issues ’cause I can’t let them control me. I did have a lovely weekend, thanks! I’ll write about it later, hope you’re doing ok, (((hugs)))

  3. I’m sorry for your loss. I used to feel like my heart was skipping a beat when I got really nervous. I take anti anxiety meds every day. I have read some posts from people on here, but I don’t think meds make you weak, or a loser. They help you get through the tough parts so you can heal. Medicine is a tool. Don’t be so hard on yourself! 🙂

  4. I’m very sorry for your loss, good for you for taking care of your needs!! it may be what’s causing you anxiety, but like you, you went and said your goodbyes already and you shouldn’t under any circumstances have to put yourself in a situation where you’re in the presence of your abuser. I hope you can get some rest and the anxiety will lessen. You are important too and taking care of your needs in this is a good thing! xo

    • Thanks Zoe. I too think it was better to keep myself away from the situation. Your comment was a tough one to read, I’d never thought of *him* as “my abuser”. I mean, I’ve never thought of that particular word to describe him, and since I can’t really remember what happened, I guess I feel sort of unentitled to call him that. I have to say I also feel guilty for not remembering, what if nothing else went on and I’m making this big whole thing out of a small childhood incident? I guess I still have a lot of work to do on this subject 😦
      I hope you’re doing well! xoxo

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