feeling unable
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  1. Not anticipated: We experienced some unanticipated problems.
  2. Usage Problem. Not having been expected; unexpected: unanticipated guests. See Usage Note at anticipate.

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unanticipated? Can you always be prepared?

Grieving Unanticipated Losses

Author Unknown


The sudden death of a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker can trigger physical, mental and emotional reactions beyond normal grief. Even after an anticipated death, survivors might feel “in shock” and be quite unprepared for the intensity of their grief.


When a death is sudden and especially if it's violent, your sense of order and safety / security can be disrupted - even if you didn't have a close personal relationship with the deceased.


Physical reactions might include:

  • Sleep disturbances such as insomnia
  • Restlessness or nightmares
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Appetite changes
  • Hyperactivity” 
  • Feelings of agitation
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Heart palpitations or chest pains (should be checked out medically)
  • Possibly muscle soreness

Mental or cognitive reactions might include:

  • A sense of unreality or disbelief about the death
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulties with decision-making
  • Lapses of memory
  • A tendency to make mindless errors

Emotional reactions might include:

Factors that help determine the intensity and duration of one’s grief reaction might include:

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Coping Options


Signs of Unhealthy Coping

(might indicate a need for counseling &/or medical consultation)

Healthy Coping

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an excerpt: from:Loss, Grief & Bereavement - Anticipatory Grief


Several studies [4][5] have provided clinical data documenting that grief following an unanticipated death differs from anticipatory grief.


Unanticipated loss overwhelms the adaptive capacities of the individual, seriously compromising his or her functioning to the point that uncomplicated recovery can't be expected.


Because the adaptive capacities are severely assaulted in unanticipated grief, mourners are often unable to grasp the full implications of their loss.


Despite intellectual recognition of the death, there's difficulty in the psychological and emotional acceptance of the loss which may continue to seem inexplicable. The world seems to be without order and like the loss, doesn't make sense.

an excerpt: from: Emotional Recovery After Cesarean: A Variety of Responses



This is a particularly difficult emotional transition.  A woman may be 'fine' with her cesarean at first because she saw it as a rescue from a difficult situation or a lifesaving measure for herself or her baby. 


If she finds out later that the doctor actually caused or greatly added to the problem that she had to be rescued from (or even worse, put her baby's life in danger through his actions), that transition from loving the cesarean to feeling betrayed by it can be particularly bumpy. 


If she idolized her doctor/hero only to have him fall from the pedestal in a big way later on, then all of her beliefs about medicine and childbirth get shaken to their core. 


These women often start out 'fine' with their cesarean but have a very difficult time healing emotionally once they truly understand their prior labor and birth.  


Women who are induced, have a long and painful labor and end in an unanticipated cesarean can also have a particularly hard emotional recovery


A cesarean after a long difficult induction can be particularly challenging physically and induction drugs often have long-term physical effects too. 


Pitocin, i.e., can cause significant swelling and edema in the mother, which may impact breastfeeding supply, make it difficult and painful to walk and be very uncomfortable to deal with. 


Women who've been induced with Cytotec (misoprostol) often report that their labors were extremely painful and difficult to deal with. 


Babies who've experienced labors with lots of drugs and pain medications often are jaundiced, drowsy and 'out of it' at first, then fussy later on. 


All of these physical factors tend to make emotional recovery much more difficult as well.  


Adding to the difficulty of physical and emotional recovery after a difficult induction is the fear factor. Some inductions are so difficult that women develop a tremendous fear about labor. 


They can feel traumatized by how hard it was and how much pain they went through. Many have great anxiety about going through labor again because their only experience of labor was such an unnaturally strong and painful one. 

As a result, many choose an elective cesarean for their next birth in order to avoid a recurrence of such a difficult labor, not knowing (or not being able to trust) that labor doesn't have to be that painful and hard. 

Being home for 2 weeks brings bevvy of emotions

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I’ve just experienced one of the most interesting personal events that soldiers participating in the War on Terror can have. I’ve returned back to Iraq after spending 15 days on what’s called “Environmental Leave.”


Environmental Leave is an Army term for what all of you in the “real world” would know as vacation. Whatever it’s called, it’s a time to get away from the daily grind of hot, dusty, windy, long hours, with nothing much to do but work, conditions that a soldier experiences in Iraq or Afghanistan.


Vacation is supposed to be a chance to rest, recuperate, recharge and generally do something different than your job. In this situation, all of those things are accomplished, except there's an unanticipated amount of emotional baggage that each soldier must deal with as they return back to their Army job.


One of the provisions of leave is that we can go practically anywhere we want. The Army asks us where we want to go when we arrive in Kuwait to start processing for leave and then hands us a ticket for our destination. Most of us go home.


Home is where some soldiers can visit that child that was born while they were gone or right before they left to be deployed. Home is where they can visit with friends that haven’t seen them for up to 10 or so months and catch up on what has been going on.


Home is where Mom and Dad, who've had their eyes and ears glued to radios and televisions since their soldier left, are waiting to see that their son or daughter is safe and sound. Home is where that boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancĂ© or spouse is waiting. Home is where some soldiers can’t wait to see their kids, see how much they’ve grown and just sit down on the floor or go in the yard and play with them.


For me leave meant spending time with the woman that I'd marry while I was home and spending time with her 3 wonderful boys. I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with my dog, introduce him to one of my stepsons and to see the look in the wagging canine’s eyes that he remembered me and wanted me there.


Leave was also a time to reconnect with friends and colleagues that I miss spending time with, working with and generally advancing life with.


Finally, leave meant gladly working on a few honey-do projects that had been lingering.


Just like vacation, leave is a short experience. When vacation is over, most of us usually return to work and sometimes are even glad that a trip is over so that we can return to our normal routine hoping that not too much has piled up on our desk.


Returning from leave is nothing like returning from a vacation.


Just as we did the first time we left for war, returning from leave means saying a tearful and too short goodbye to the spouse that only wants us to be home. It's knowing that our parents will start their vigil again of making sure the news out of the area that we're soldiering isn't terrible.


Returning from leave brings the realization that the kids we so enjoyed playing with while we were home will be so many inches taller and so many months more mature when we return. We know that we’ll miss another ski season, the family trip to Disneyworld, birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.


I'd expect some to read all of the above and think that it couldn’t possibly be worth the pain of leaving again to spend 2 weeks on leave just to go back half-way around the world to continue your military service.


It couldn’t be worth putting our family and friends through the emotional roller coaster of having us around for a few days just to have us gone for another long period of time. It couldn’t be worth putting ourselves through having the closeness of loved ones and all that makes us long for home for such a short time, only to have to tear ourselves away, knowing that we’ll miss so much more.

The simple truth is that the opportunity to have the ultimate joy of being in your own real world for just 2 weeks is worth the pain of being away from it again. In the final analysis, these 2 weeks of leave have allowed me to rest, recuperate, recharge and reconnect. They've allowed me to refocus myself on being productive to this cause for another length of time so that I can return again to my real world and feel the joy of being home again.

The American Red Cross