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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I calm myself down?

    I have just lost my baby, I am now neurotic with my other children that something will happen to them. How do I calm myself down?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2

    Agrees

    Dr Toni Metelerkamp

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Toni works with adults and couples, and specialises in diagnosing and treating anxiety (panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder), phobias, substance and gambling, addictions, suicide and … View Profile

    As humans, we learn by our experiences and you have had an intense experience that will shape your behaviour. Losing a baby will almost inevitably change the way you respond to your other children, at least in the short-term.
     
    Wanting to protect your other children is both a reaction to the loss and an effort to avoid further loss. Once you start having panicky thoughts about their safety, and you act on those thoughts, you can begin a pattern of over protective behaviours. Initially, the over protective behaviours might feel like they relieve some of your anxiety, but it soon becomes apparent that no amount of safety seeking behaviour is enough, and you are constantly worrying about them, in spite of having more and more safety plans in place. To change this you will need to recognise overly protective behaviours and curb them. Although not doing the safety behaviours is anxiety provoking at first, not doing the safety behaviours results in less anxiety in the longer term.
     
    You may find that you have an extraordinary mix of emotions from denial, confusion, anxiety, bargaining, depression, pre-occupation, guilt and anger to despair, helplessness and sadness. Your grief may be a mix of those and any other emotions. Being able to identify your emotions, explore them and understand them is a core part of recovery. It is often easier to do this exploration with someone who can guide the exploration. Otherwise, it is easy to fall into habitual ways of thinking that fuel the panic and keep you trapped in the safety seeking behaviours.
     
    Some parents in your position have found that support groups can be useful. There are online support groups (e.g. http://www.healingheart.net and http://www.thecompassionatefriends.org.au/ ) and support groups that meet in areas across Australia.
     
    You might need to seek professional help if you remain preoccupied with the safety of your children after trying to change your safety seeking behaviours and after exploring your emotions. Talk to your GP if you need advise about who best to seek support from. I wish you well. 

  • 1

    Agree

    Ralph Graham

    Counsellor

    Ralph Graham, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, helping those who are affected by:grief, loss, anxiety, phobias, panic attack.And those who have been traumatised by:crime, assault, sexual abuse and … View Profile

    Toni's answer is very good don't you think?

    What stands out to me is the effect on you that the loss of your baby would understandably have had. I would consider counselling for the trauma you have been through. This can cause lots of problems that you might carry with you without you realising it.   A talk with a suitable professional who works with trauma might help more than you know.
    Does that feel right to you?

    Take good care.

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