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Severe and constant anxiety after pet loss?

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Old 01-14-2012, 03:38 PM   #1
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Red face Severe and constant anxiety after pet loss?

Hi everyone and thank you for giving me the opportunity to share.

I recently went through the very traumatic loss of a pet which had been my loving and loyal companion for a long time. I have frequent flashbacks of my having to have her put down, those eyes staring up at me and later, my having to bury her. Not only was the loss itself tragic but the many long and stressful months of watching her suffer and go downhill as I tried everything under the sun to try to treat her. This was a nightmare for us both as well.

I'll spare everyone the whole story as it is too upsetting to talk about right now and I don't want to have any "triggers" or flashbacks but the day after I lost my beloved pet is when the shock and reality of it really started to hit me hard.

I already suffer from anxiety, panic disorder and OCD and this whole thing really sent me over the top and I have been in a constant state of anxiety from almost the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. Some of the symptoms are familar but stil frightening...

1) Severe anxiety (almost non-stop).
2) Frequent panic attacks.
3) Feeling off-balance or like my head (or body) suddenly falls to one side.
4) Muscle twitches.
4) Tingling or numbness in my face or arms.
5) Tightness or lump feeling in my throat.
6) Emotional numbness.
8) Adrenilin "rushes" that seem to hit me in the pit of my stomach.
9) Dizzy spells and periods of lightheadedness/vertigo.
10) Heart palps and skipped beats. Racing heart.
11) Obviously, guilt, grief and sorrow at the loss.
12) A few more that I can't remember at the moment.

Perhaps the most pronounced of these symptoms is the anxiety. It is so intense and so prolonged that sometimes I feel like I'm about to go mad. It's almost like my body is filled with a million volts of this "anxiety current" buzzing through me from head to toe. It's an awful feeling.

Which leads me to my purpose for being here today. Is it normal for a person who has just lost a beloved pet to experience anxiety like this?. I mean really severe anxiety that last practically day and night?. Even with my regular Ativan it seems to rage on. Today I took my Ativan and then followed it up with an Atenolol and even used nasal spray which has an antihistamine and seems to help a little bit but lurking beneath the surface the anxiety is always there on some level and with the loss of my pet recenly, it has been completely out of control.

Thannk you for your thoughts on this, Steve
Every new day is the very first day of the rest of your life. Take nothing for granted.

Last edited by Steven45; 01-14-2012 at 03:50 PM.

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Old 01-14-2012, 03:45 PM   #2
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Re: Severe and constant anxiety after pet loss?

Hey sweetheart.

I am so sorry for your loss. I went through much the same when I lost my pets. Just because they aren't human doesn't take away from the fact that they were a part of your family and your life.
Without going into details as I don't want to cause you further upset, I lost both my boys within a few days of each other and I still feel that pain now although it was 2007 when they went.
Will everyone understand your grief? Sadly, no they won't. It doesn't take away from what you are feeling and make it any less.

I wish you well.

Pixie xx

Old 01-14-2012, 05:11 PM   #3
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Unhappy Re: Severe and constant anxiety after pet loss?

Losing a pet is as as hard as losing a family member. Many people have a hard time getting through the grief. You may want to try a support group or therapy. Sometimes sharing helps the process. Just sharing with someone you are comfortable with helps sometimes. Just know you are not alone.

Old 01-15-2012, 05:15 PM   #4
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Re: Severe and constant anxiety after pet loss?

Steven, So sorry to hear about the loss of your pet. I can totally relate to what you are going through. I had the horrible experience of having to put 3 of my dogs down within a 3 year time period. One in 2007, one in 2008, and one in 2009.

I carried so much guilt with me that it made my anxiety skyrocket for a while afterwards. Always wondering if there was "something else" I could've done. I hated to be the one to make the decision, but I also loved my dogs so much, that it was my final "gift" to them to finally end their suffering.

I am currently dealing with another one of my dogs having Degenerative Myelopathy. I'm not sure if you are aware of what that is, but needless to say, his back end is paralized. He is not in any pain, but it is a progressive disease that there is no cure for. It's kind of like the dog version of MS. So eventually i'll have to make that decision again.

My heart goes out to you, as like I said, i've been there, and will probably be in the same situation again. Sooner than i'd like, but the fact of the matter is, you have to stop feeling guilty! I'm SURE you gave your pet as much love and affection as I have my own dogs. Just know that she is "free" of all the pain and suffering she was experiencing, and that you gave her your own final "gift" by letting her go. She is running free in a green meadow, and feels no pain at all now. She will always be with you in spirit, and in your heart! Many comforting hugs coming your way.....Fox
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Last edited by ms_mod; 01-16-2012 at 05:08 AM.

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Old 01-15-2012, 06:47 PM   #5
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Re: Severe and constant anxiety after pet loss?

Oh Steve, I understand exactly what you are feeling. I had to let my little Katie girl go back on 08-24-11, and I am still having a lot of problems. I am taking Xanax, Abilify, and more. I still cry daily, but it is getting a little better.
I was not prepared for the loss because I thought I was doing the best for her, but have questioned that constantly. I don't think it is possible not to suffer the pain if you love them so much. Some people don't have the anxiety, but for us who already suffered from anxiety and depression, it just seems to up it by a zillion times more.
You will eventually do better I'm sure. It just takes some time. <edit>
Good luck Steve and Godspeed to your babygirl. She is probably running around happy and healthy wondering why you are so sad. That's what I think my Katie(and the others gone through the years) is doing, and sometimes it helps.
Just give it time, and maybe a change in meds for a while.

Last edited by ms_mod; 01-16-2012 at 05:09 AM. Reason: Removed posting rules violation. Ms_Mod

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Old 01-16-2012, 07:56 AM   #6
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Re: Severe and constant anxiety after pet loss?

Steven! I'm so very sorry to read of your loss. I've been there myself. I just said to my mom last night that it's coming to the anniversary of having to put our beloved golden retriever Brandy down. It was a few years ago and it was one of the hardest things I've done. We are dog lovers. We always say any dog that comes into our home has it made. My brother's chocolate lab it getting up there in age and it's so hard to watch. We can all share our stories but the ending is the same, heartbreak. They provide us with such unconditional love. You HAVE to know you did what was best for your pet. You made a selfless decision so she was no longer in pain. Just based on the few people that have responded to you, she is running around with many new friends, as she will always look down on you and love you for the life you gave her. It's such a hard adjustment right after. You expect to walk in your home having them wagging away to greet you. I remember when we put Brandy down that, just like this board, there are many message boards for those grieving the loss of an animal. Some were hard to read but helped at the same time. Only when you feel like you can handle it, I suggest you look up The Rainbow Bridge. My heart goes out to you and your family! PS: Brandy will take good care of your little girl! :-)

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Old 01-16-2012, 08:05 AM   #7
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Re: Severe and constant anxiety after pet loss?

Steven I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my best friend almost 6 years ago and I still think of him every day. I read some really good books that helped me. a couple of the titles are: "for every dog an angel", and "goodbye friend". I also put together a photo album of all my favorite pictures of him, and that helped me with the grieving process.

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