January and February have never been easy months and I know for many of us it’s a difficult time of year, but for me it’s also the time my father was taken away from me.
On the 1st February 1991 28 years have past since that traumatic event in my life, which turned my world upside down and my life in turmoil. A month later I suffered a nervous breakdown that took 6 months of recovery. In my head I was convinced it was the end of the world and believed it so wouldn’t talk to anyone.
We all need the support of friends and family, but quite often they are also grieving and so it can be an isolating experience.
So how do you get over a traumatic event in your life, they say time is a healer and 28 years on you would expect I’ve had that time. I’ve worked through my loss, but It’s a trauma that is deep rooted and I’ll never forget it.
My thought processes these days are that I could of helped him, through all my work now for mental health awareness I could of recognised the signs and been there to support him, but we lived in a time where we kept everything inside, so it was hard to express emotional feelings.
During this time I’ve been feeling unwell, suffering with migraines and more recently anxiety.
I put it down to lots of reasons and then I heard about “The Anniversary Effect” I didn’t think about this but as I read more about it, it all became clearer and I was recognising the symptoms.
My anxiety levels have been really high and I have been struggling to understand why. I know we often put it all down to stress, but this has now all started to make more sense.
This year’s anniversary of my father’s death has had a much bigger impact on my emotional state than I imagined.
For this year I turn 48 years old, exactly the same age that my father died and it’s really having an effect on how I’ve been feeling.
It all started in January and I was recognising the signs, weakness, anxiety pains and breathlessness,
Anxiety is an awful experience, of which many of us suffering with can empathise, and when your in the grips of it and it takes hold it’s hard to take back control.
We all get told about lifestyle changes, reduced stress, but quite often there are underlying factors and triggers that account for mood swings and your emotional state of mind. Recognising that, it will all become much clearer.
I am convinced this year the anniversary of my father’s death is the trigger to how I’ve been feeling and that’s because I’ve always been a sociable person, but lately I’ve introverted in to myself, not interacted as much as I do and cancelled social events. I’ve even fallen out of love with my running, which is why Im convinced this is more than stress, and it’s something I don’t really have control of and I have to let it pass.
The fact I’ve recognised the signs is a good place to be and I’m now putting things in place to make myself better.
For many of us who have lost loved ones, and for those of us who have friends and family that are grieving every year on those anniversaries give yourself time and thinking space to understand your emotions and the effects anniversary’s have on your mental health.
Its a normal part of the grieving process. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed it still hurts, but you’ll get through it, talk about it and remember all the special times and memories you shared with your loved ones that’s very important.
I continue to campaign for mental health awareness and during these months it’s a difficult time of year for me I’ll never forget.
In memory of my Father, Roger Frank Parkinson, 08/02/42 – 01/02/91
Please read this blog about the anniversary effect:-