worry about losing loved ones
Parenting, Relationships

Do you stress about losing loved ones?

Hayley Pearson by Hayley Pearson
June 15th, 2017
worry about losing loved ones

Am I crazy or is this normal-ish?

I know there’s something wrong with me and I’d do anything to fix it. No, it’s not tinea or an STD. It’s much worse! I’m just hoping that I’m not the only one going through this. Here goes…

When I say goodbye to my husband as he goes off for a surf, still half asleep and with one eye open, I smile, give him a kiss and say, “have fun, I love you”, like I don’t have a care in the world. Inside, however, I’m yelling and screaming, slamming my fist down saying “don’t go – please don’t die”. I know this must sound like I’m a crazy over protective wife, maybe I am, but it’s an actual problem I have.

Hayley Worthington

Hayley Pearson

It started about 12 years ago when I was living in Queensland and my Dad called to tell me that my uncle had died in a car accident. From that moment, I’ve been crippled with worry about my loved ones and losing them, realising how precious life is and how everything can change in a split second. After giving birth to my second baby boy, Alfie, so my worry has just gone to the next level.
Sometimes I get horrible thoughts that I am too scared to tell other mums in case they report me or judge me with their judgy mum eyes. You know the judgy-mum-eye look, we’ve all experienced it at some stage. You see, I have clear visions of my worst fears coming true. Sometimes when I’m walking down the hallway at home, holding my delicious baby, I’ll actually hear the sound of his head cracking on the wooden floor boards as he slips out of my arms and falls head first onto the hard floor. Obviously, this never happens and I cling onto him so tight just to make sure of that. But I see and hear the vision so clearly.

The worst is when my husband Jimmy goes somewhere with the two boys in the car and shortly after they leave I imagine receiving a call telling me there was an accident. I even go so far as to think, how will I live without them? I couldn’t go on, how would I end it all? It’s so morbid I know, and I’m actually a really happy and easy going person, this makes me sound dark and depressing. I promise I’m not.

The problem becomes obsessive when my parents go overseas as they do every year. While they’re away, I’m on 24 hour social media watch, scanning the news for a plane crash or bombing where Aussies are killed, expecting to see my parents’ names. It’s terrible.

scI realised the severity of my problem over a year ago when my husband Jimmy was surfing and had taken much longer to get home than usual. I was lying with my 4 year old on my bed when there was a knock at the front door. I looked out my window and saw two men in blue shirts at my door. Instantly I thought it was the police, here to tell me that my husband had been involved in a head on car crash on his way to the surf and had not survived. (My thoughts are rather specific). My knees weakened as I walked towards the front door and as I opened it, I crumpled to the ground. I started to get hot and clammy and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was going through the real emotions of “shock” as I  anticipated that my worst nightmare had come true . As I looked up to hear the devastating news that I’d lost my husband, the two men held out a pamphlet titled “In God’s Hands”. They were bloody Mormons! I’ve never been so happy to see Mormons at my door than I was that day.

Thank God, Jimmy arrived home shortly after. I was so ashamed that I never told him what happened.
I call my problem the worrying-about-losing-my-loved-ones-syndrome. I find that the more I love, the more I have to lose. Sometimes I ask myself why do I keep having children? It’s just another person to worry about! I wonder, does anyone else suffer from this, and if so, how the hell do I fix it?

Do you suffer from ‘worrying about losing your loved ones’ syndrome?

  • Elle

    Oh Hayley. Thanks for being so brave and opening up about this! You’re definitely not alone and it’s understandable you’d feel this way following the sudden death of your uncle. I experience this fear too and it can be so awful and debilitating! For me I try to practice bringing myself back to the present and saying ‘right now everyone is well and safe.’ If I have these thoughts (I get them when someone I love is overseas too) I try to ask myself ‘Is this thought helpful?’ and if it’s not (almost always) then I try to not engage with it and focus on doing something else. If I am sitting there thinking/worrying I will get up and go do a load of washing or cook something etc to distract. I realise that sometimes the fear and thoughts are so intense that this doesn’t work but often it does. I would also encourage you to seek help if it continues as maybe a psychologist could give you some great suggestions.

  • Millian

    OMG I do exactly the same!! It gets worse when watch TV and there’s a car crash news report I immediately think it could be him!

  • Scott Pearson

    Hayley.. your other uncle here..
    What you have talked about here has been my life for the last 35 years.. as you know my job involved dealing with many of the situations you described everyday so I have the real vision, sound and smell of death and destruction as well I’ve had that knock on the door from the police haunting me all the time.. so what do we do about it? I’ve had critical incident debriefing and got absolutely no help at all.. the only real comfort has been talking to people who have experienced these situations for real.. they truely understand and can help to carry on and put these thoughts in a place where they can be bypassed.
    Comedy, and a sense of humor has been my savior as many firefighters, police, paramedics will tell you is a big part of their copping mechanism.
    Call me anytime if you need to talk to someone.
    Crazy Uncle Scott xxx.

  • Old Grumpy

    Calculate the probability, it’s very very low. How many unexpected deaths in your family compared to the total number of relatives. What are the odds? The thought that bends my mind is, where does space end? Freaks me out. So I don’t dwell on it.

  • Alisa B

    I get very worried too. Whenever the phone goes I get really worried that someone is ringing to tell me bad news.

  • Crazy Lady

    Thank you for writing this story. It’s so real to me I feel like I could have written those exact words. I can’t offer any advice, but I can tell you that you are not alone. Thank you for showing me that even though I may be a little crazy I’m not alone either.

  • Hannah

    Thanks for opening up about this issue ~ you are totally not alone! I thought I was!! I lost someone close to me very suddenly when I was young, since having a family the fear of sudden loss of my family members or even myself and how they would cope is something that creeps into my mind all too often! It definitely stems from fear, and fear can consume you if you let it! I always try to distract my mind, bring myself back to the present, and also realising I can’t control everything and being ok with that! It’s so tough, I’m pretty sure the worry won’t go away but you are not alone and I hope that brings you some comfort!!

  • Show+Tell

    Thanks for sharing soft_starlight. It is always good to know we are not alone and other people are going through the same thing. This is WAY more common than we realised. x

  • Show+Tell

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts – you are not alone and now none of us are either. We created this site so we all had support in unlikely places so thanks for sharing. x

  • Show+Tell

    You’re spot on Hannah. Fear can be completely debilitating. Your tips are awesome. Thanks so much for sharing. x

  • Show+Tell

    SAME!!!!! My gosh – so many people feel the same. x