Can't sleep

Hi everyone. I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice please as I’m really struggling. It’s 12 weeks since I lost my partner suddenly to cancer. He was my whole world and I was loved and cherished and he looked after me. I was strong during his short illness but when he died I fell to pieces. I’m not sleeping properly. I can fall asleep when I go to bed but after two and a half hours I am waking up in a cold sweat, shaking and basically in a state of fear. I feel like a frightened child. This does not stop and I cannot go back to sleep. This anxiety stays during the remainder of the night and day and only abates in time for a few hours again the next night. I feel exhausted on top of bereavement, crying, missing my partner etc. Has anyone found any medication that works to stop this anxiety? Sleeping tablets are not the answer as I would still waken after a few hours and I do worry that they would eventually interfere with the few hours sleep I do get. I know doctors don’t like giving them except for short term. I would do more exercise during the day but an existing medical condition prevents this. This just feels like it’s never going to stop! End of my tether.

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I’ve not lost a partner but I lost my younger sister. I too suffered from panic attacks, anxiety, poor sleep ect after she passed from cancer a brain tumour.

I take citrolepam a low dose and it has helped me with the anxiety and stopped the panic attacks it also helps me sleep better.

Its been 12 months since looseing my sister so I’m finding it a little easier.


Dear Paula51, Many thanks for your kind reply. I’m so sorry to hear about your sister. About 8 years ago I began a course of cytalapram and really struggled with the side effects. Funily enough the only reason I continued with them was because my partner took 2 weeks off work to look after me. Unfortunately I feel so low at the moment I don’t think I could survive feeling any worse, I don’t think I have an any worse left in me, especially as this time it would be without Guy’s help and also the need for taking them being his passing and all the issues arising as a result. The doctor gave me something which was supposed to help me sleep, which turned out to be an antidepressant (I didn’t read the leaflet) I reacted badly to just one tablet. I felt weird, no sleep at all and ended up vomiting in a bucket! I am alone in a town where I have no friend or family support and so decided not to take them, was really worried for my safety. I understand grief, I’ve had loss before but I’ve never experienced this panic, anxiety thing before to this extent. It’s there a good 20 out of 24 hours.


When I started eith citrolepam I fealt realy sick but never actually threw up it would take a couple of hours to pass, after around 2 weeks it passed and I’m OK now. I’ve been on them about 10 months I thought I’d give it a go comeing of them but within a month all the horrid fealings, came back.

I’m actually someone who has a diagnosis of bi polar so depression is part of the course for me but after my sister passed she was only just 50 all my depression and panic and other stuff just kicked of due to stress and greif. The pills have made life better they take the edge of.

Why not try them again I found if I took at bedtime the nausea was, easier to cope with.


Sorry for your loss
Its 10 months for me i have been on medication as could not sleep but i am now having bad dreams aboht my partner which are very disturbing ill wake myself crying or shouting out and last night was dripping with sweat i have the drs phoning me tomorow as its just draining me x


Dear FG15,I am so sorry for your loss too. What a nightmare club we find ourselves in. I’m not dreaming, as far as I’m aware (I’m sure I will eventually and I’m dreading that too) I just wake shaking and basically have all the physical symptoms of fear. It’s like my whole body is experiencing an electric shock. I know I’m in shock. It’s so awful experiencing this on top of the sadness, yearning for a lost partner and complete loneliness. I would be grateful if you could let me know what your GP suggests. I don’t know about you but I can’t go on like this.


Hi @Elfy,

I don’t know if this will help at all, but I just woke up at 2am, because I’d been talking to a friend last night and I’d forgotten to take my last dose of a painkilling drug. I have arthritis of the spine and just over a month ago I had surgery to relieve compression of my spinal cord. The pain since has been severe and it feels as if, at times, I am spinning around in circles.

I lost my partner more than 7 months ago and the reality and magnitude of this has only just set in. I too feel like a frightened child at times. I am on a drug to control my anxiety but it is only just starting to work, possibly I have to take a higher dose.

At the moment I’m seeing a GP once a week to try to control both conditions. I also have a support worker who comes once a week to talk to me. Tomorrow I’m seeing a psychologist who hopefully will be able to help me untangle all the feelings I have about my husband’s death and see a clearer path to the future.

Everyone is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. I can only suggest that you call your GP as soon as you can to try to explain your feelings and ask for help. It often helps to write it down beforehand - for example, you could say that you can only get a few hours sleep at a time, and then you wake up panicking. The GP may then ask you some questions, and then prescribe a drug.

GPs really are the only people who can help with drugs, I think. I have heard GPs say that sometimes it can take time to find the right drug. I tried a couple of drugs that didn’t work for me before I found one that was effective. But I am different to you, and I have a pre-existing health condition that complicates the situation.

I hope this helps a little.



I had my phonceall with the dr could be a touch of ptsd which i did wonder he has changed my medication carry on with counselling and he will ring me again in 4 weeks so worth ringing the drs as thats what there for hope you get some help

Take care xx

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So sorry x
Have you thought about a weighted blanket I lost my husband just over a year ago and someone suggested one to me I was unable to sleep and was shaking constantly
I found it helped I still can’t sleep well but get a feeling of comfort from it
Hope this helps I know how you feel and share your pain xx


It’s 11 months for me,and I still struggle to sleep properly maybe 2 hours at a time no matter what time I go to sleep.I also invested in weighted blankets 2 different weights and found them a great help in dropping off.
I still have issues when my granddaughter has a sleepover. I feel for you, I don’t want to have medication so am persevering.

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Thanks, will look into weighted blankets. Have never heard of them. I know I can’t go on much longer with this anxiety and lack of sleep.

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Thanks Lynda C. I am also a Linda C. My partner called me Elfy Shortly as I’m only five foot tall. Will look into a weighted blanket, thank you. Willing to try anything to help me with the anxiety and shaking.

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That’s a coincidence x
It’s worth a try I think anything that might help is a positive
Sleep is so important when you’re battling with loss x


I don’t wear Pyjama’s usually, but I was trying to sort Valerie’s clothes the other day.
I found 3 sets of her pyjama’s.

I have worn her pyjama’s twice now.

Lovely having something of hers in bed with me.

Sleep better in them.


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I cuddle the old tatty jumper that was Guy’s favourite. It should have been thrown away but I’m glad now that he wouldn’t let me. God how I miss him. I can’t believe he’s gone.