Society generally thinks of mourning as a process that occurs after loved ones pass away. However, the mourning process can start when loved ones initially become sick. It may begin while they are struggling through medical appointments, hospital trips and therapies, or it could start when curative care is not successful anymore. Hospice caregivers can also feel anticipatory grief, which can be as incapacitating as the mourning that follows death. However, this state of grief occurs when people are also managing feelings and events that they have never experienced. It is no surprise that these individuals are also dealing with anxiety.
Understanding Anxiety While Mourning
Anxiety is a mode of being uneasy or distressed about uncertainties in the future. Anxious people could be jittery, numb, restless, short of breath, tense and unable to focus or sleep. The physical symptoms could conceal the psychological signs such as apprehension, fear and worry. To determine whether you have anxiety, look for signs of
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty solving problems
- Feeling of losing control
- Muscle tension
- Tight feeling in the stomach
The first thing that you can do if you think you could be getting anxious is get the facts. You can do this by talking with your doctor or someone who has gone through similar events in life. There are also some measures that you can take to prevent yourself from becoming anxious:
- Do more distracting but pleasant activities.
- Learn techniques that help you relax.
- Spend more time with family and friends.
There are some factors that you should consider about anxiety as well:
- You might have to find other coping strategies if you can no longer do the activities that you used to do to manage anxiety.
- People who are anxious are often demanding.
- You and your caregiver could both experience sleep deprivation because of anxiety.
Steps to Improve Anxiety
You can take several steps to improve your anxious state:
- Determine which thoughts trigger your anxious feelings.
- Remember how you previously managed similar feelings.
- Recognize that it is normal to feel afraid and sad.
- Talk with someone about your fears and worries.
- Look for help from counselors, religious leaders or support groups.
- Write down your thoughts and moods during the day.
- Use relaxation and visualization techniques.
- Take the medications that your doctor prescribes for anxiety.
Harbor Light Is Here to Help
Families dealing with loss or patients facing a life-limiting illness need support should enlist the caring support of a trusted hospice services provider. Harbor light hospice is able to support patients and families with the support they need. Contact Harbor Light Hospice by phone or send us a message online to learn more about how we can help you.