When you lose someone that you love, whether it’s sudden or anticipated, fear can creep into your life. You become scared, paranoid, and may potentially worry about the cause at the root of that person’s death. The cause morphs into a trigger and the trigger becomes anxiety inducing.
For me this is the mention of drugs. I’m haunted by the topic and it very well may haunt me for the rest of my life.
I have a very physical reaction whenever the topic of drugs comes up — I immediately feel the world around me spin and start to feel sick to my stomach. I usually have to excuse myself to use the restroom or try to find a quiet, private area to keep other people from seeing me cry.
I start to shake and feel an overwhelming anxiety take over me.
It feels like I’m drowning.
The biggest issue is that I can’t escape this.
It’s impossible for people who have never met me before, or who haven’t been clued into my loss, to know what bringing up this subject does to me. Honestly, people who do know me and my loss tend to sometimes forget.
But regardless of the people around me when the subject is brought up, I feel trapped.
I’m a shy person and in an effort to not seem rude, I decide against cutting off the conversation. Simply put, I’m scared to speak up. I’m afraid of saying, “I don’t feel comfortable having a conversation containing such an anxiety inducing subject for me.”
I don’t want to have to explain myself and why the topic makes me uncomfortable; it’s frustrating and stressful to this day because I still don’t know how to handle it.
If someone close to you, for example, died suddenly and tragically in an elevator accident, you might become scared and paranoid about taking elevators. You’d avoid taking them. You’d probably not want to talk about them either.
In very basic terms, drugs are my elevator.
It’s impossible to control what other people are going to say or what they want to talk about. It’s something that terrorizes me in almost every social situation I encounter because I don’t have guidelines. I don’t know how to deal with it emotionally, mentally or physically. I haven’t found the best way to leave the conversation or change the topic.
Even something like scrolling through my social media can be painful and difficult at times because something about drugs always seems to make it’s way on my Twitter timeline or Facebook newsfeed.
I am thankful for the friends who look out for me and stop conversations or change topics if someone does bring up drugs. They understand how hard it is for me to make my way through the conversation, even on my best days.
I’m lucky that I also found someone who can relate to my situation specifically — it’s a relief to not feel so alone, or like you’re the only one who’s scared. It’s still hard on me though because it’s been almost two years since Matthew passed away and I still don’t know how to maneuver my way through the drug talk.
Maybe as more time passes it will become less of a trigger subject for me or I’ll become better at handling myself in those types of situations.