I would welcome any thoughts on whether medication is of help. It’s coming up to six weeks since June my wife passed away suddenly in front of me. I have been prescribed a sleeping tablet, diazepam and now a course of anti depressants. I’m in a mess…


Hello @Shiney999. I am truly sorry for your loss. Of course you’re in a mess; you are in the throes of early raw grief. I remember it well. It’s absolute agony.

Medication - to do or not to do, can be controversial. Personally, I wouldn’t go near any of what you mention. Why would any doctor prescribe you with so much medication when what you really need is a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. Medication will only numb the pain but you will still need to grieve for your beloved wife eventually. I think you may get more benefit from posting on this forum and reading others posts.

I apologise if I’m coming across rather blunt but I feel rather strongly about pills being given to the bereaved. I’m sure doctors do this because they don’t know what else to do. However, there are exceptions. I can remember sitting in the doctor’s surgery after my husband had passed, sobbing uncontrollably, a blubbering wreck of a woman; I’d only gone in for a sick note for work. The GP, on this occasion, was so very understanding. He listened and told me to call him anytime if I needed him. I think GPs like this are rare.

In my opinion, it’s better to find other coping strategies. This is only my opinion. Others may think differently and it’s good to get a balanced view.

Take care. x


Hello Shiney999.

Just in case our paths haven’t previously crossed please can I just say I’m sorry for your loss and what you are going through. I lost my Husband 5 years ago and my Mum in December.

It is a very difficult situation to know what to do for the best isn’t it. In my case I had been given boxes of different anti depressants over several months and they remained unused. That’s not because I was against them, just scared of them. If I was taking a mind-altering drug I’d be forever fearful I wouldn’t know my “true” self. Diazepam didn’t really appeal as it’s only a stop-gap drug and I was never offered a sleeping tablet - that’s quite a cocktail you’ve been prescribed there. Of course there is also Propanalol which as you’ll know is the 1st line of defence for controiiing physical anxiety symptoms only, without having any effect on the mind. Unfortunately it can’t be prescribed to those with an Asthma history, and that is me, which is a great shame as I would have been in favour of this option.

Everyone has their breaking point, and knows their own limitations of endurance, there is no right nor wrong. It’s whatever helps. It maybe that you feel just one of the three might just bridge a gap for you. It would be a kind and worthwhile gesture if GP’s made a courtesy phonecall to the carer or family member once a loss has occurred to offer support etc, but that’s a different issue I guess, but it would help us feel we weren’t feeling cut adrift at our most vulnerable.

Whatever you decide, I do hope you find a little respite. You are probably feeling emotionally shattered.


Thank you to both respondents. I was present throughout the sudden unexpected death of June from initial collapse to being pronounced by the paramedics. Every time I look at her chair I see her in distress. Every time I look at the floor I see her lifeless clothing cut to facilitate treatment. All to no avail. I never slept for 72 hours straight. My elderly Mother (92) was asleep in her bedroom (she has since returned to her own home). I was so low and desperate I called 111 at 04.00. After a very long wait it was answered by someone I immediately bonded with an ex serviceman who knew I was in deep trouble. He told it as it was and said he would contact my GP for help. Just after 09.00 that morning a GP was on the phone to me. I was prescribed a sleeping tablet together with diazepam and also propranolol (as mentioned). The beta blocker propranolol had little apparent effect and I have taken very few of them. I have taken half the suggested dose of diazepam and not every day. I have regularly taken the sleeping tablet with varying success sometimes waking in the very early hours not being able to get back to sleep once awake.
As for the antidepressant Sertraline I have yet to start taking them. If I do then I will stop the diazepam use. The GP assures me the tablet is not as addictive as the older antidepressants were but that it will be necessary to wean myself off them. It will take 14 days to get them into my system and only a 50:50 chance they will help.
I know June would be dead set against using this medication but feel I need some help. We had no children so my only source of help is my elderly Mother and younger brother as well as some friends and neighbours. I’m not without help by any means but yesterday in particular was very bad and I felt totally lost and abandoned. I cry when I walk. I cry when I drive. I sob like a baby in the house. I carry a lot of guilt which is eating me up. I cannot see any life without my June.


Honestly @Shiney999, all of us here will understand what you’re going through; the sobbing, the insomnia. Some four and a half years later and sleep is still hit and miss for me. I can still have a bad day and I still cry occasionally. I always will. However, I am living my life again now. I can laugh, dance and sing. I look for my husband in everything I do and he is still very much a part of my world.

Six weeks is no time at all Shiney. Give yourself a break. You’re expecting too much of yourself. You’ve just lost the one person who meant everything to you so of course, it’s going to hurt. There is no pain like it. Cry if you want, whenever, wherever. Shout too. I used to scream at the top of my voice when I was in the car. Not sure it helped much but I did it anyway.

I found keeping myself busy was helpful, a distraction. I was told early on in my grief, by a vicar, to try do simple, normal things. Things like making a cup of tea - gosh I drank so much tea in those early days, so much. I kept busy to the point of mania.

Honestly Shiney, you’re probably doing as well as you can in this horrid situation. Please keep posting. This forum and the people on it, has helped me more than it/they can ever know.

Sending hugs. x


Hi shiney I agree with crazyKate, after all the worst thing ever to have happened in your life is losing your beloved June and in such a terrible way, it’s so early for you and grief is relentless and cruel, we have all had dark thoughts but I wonder if it’s more that we want to be with our loved one rather than to hurt ourselves, it’s all part of grief and there’s no escaping it, it’s because you loved and were loved so very dearly we have to pay the price when one of us passes, I was offered antidepressants but felt how I was feeling was quite normal for what had happened to me, I’m at five months now and still heartbroken but it has become easier in some ways but harder in others, please be kind to yourself, gather some support and take any help that’s offered, please also know you’re not alone we’re with you on this horrific road, take care xx


Thank you Kate and Mab,
I feel as though I’m going out of my mind sometimes. Showering or putting the washing machine on is a major effort for me. I went to what June called the pantry at lunchtime to get a couple of cheese rolls I bought last week. They were mouldy. I sobbed uncontrollably for ten minutes.
I know it’s early days but the pain of losing June and being alone is too much. I took my first antidepressant this morning. I have been told it’s 50:50 whether they will do anything for me and it will be 14 days before they help anyway. I don’t want to take them but I have to have some help. I cannot make the simplest of decisions. I check myself over and over in case I have made a mistake. I have made plenty of those in my time and could not take making another.
Thank you for your support and understanding. Tony


Hi Tony , it’s been 6 months since my loss. I have sleeping tablets and absolutely need them, don’t take them every night because they are addictive but some nights i just need to turn my brain off and it helps for that . My doctor gave me diazepam the first two weeks but would not give any more. I was given sertraline and have been on it before which has helped for depression but does not help me for anxiety, actually made me feel worse so gave up after 4 weeks. Grief is a different thing to depression and like you I find the guilt and anxiety the worst thing of all. The guilt and anxiety I am really struggling with and don’t know how to deal with it, its so overwhelming. I might have counselling at some stage but can’t even get my head around sorting that out at the moment . All this Covid situation , phone consultations , zoom, internet stuff can’t deal with it just makes things more complicated. Like you everything seems too much to deal with and I would just not even get out of bed if I did not have to.
I have tried self help books as I can’t seem to get into watching things on tv I used to like for distraction, but they have not really made any difference. It’s very early days for you , you will find lots of help I am sure on this site, as I have . I think we Just have to give it time I suppose. Jss


Thank you JSS. I don’t normally take prescribed meds if any kind so this is a first. I queried the sleeping tablets as there was a direction not to take more than 4 in 7 days. I was struggling do much they told me just to keep taking them. They knock me out until about 4am them it’s wake up time. The Diazapam I have used most days but only one 2 mg tablet rather than the 2 tablet max. I have just started today with the Sertraline and as you know it takes 14 days to get into the system. I’m very wary of becoming addicted to these things but just want to feel better and not be so emotional. I have had three sobbing sessions today and have not been outside the door. When June was here I was around most of the time due to her MS and the risk of her falling. Her passing however was completely unexpected from a non diagnosed reason at only 66 years of age. I’m still in severe shock and sit and shake at times uncontrollably. Even telephone conversations are very difficult.


Hi shiney I’ve always slept like a log but since my hubby passed I’m either awake about three or can’t get to sleep till about three either way I’ve accepted that maybe I’ll never sleep well again, this is one of the reasons I finished work so I can rest in the day if I want, the social anxiety is difficult to manage and I mostly text now very rarely talk on the phone it’s too stressful and I’m just starting to meet with close friends for coffee but I remember the first time I went out a friend approached me and said how sorry she was and I was in pieces and I felt so vulnerable so I pick where I go very carefully and who I go with, mainly friends and family who make me feel safe, I hope you have family and friends doing the same for you and it’s good to read the posts to know you’re not going crazy it’s all just part of our sad road we have to follow xx


Thank you MAB. I went out yesterday travelled about 50 miles to see my elderly Mother in the car a large part of which were in tears. I stopped in the town on the way back. It was horrible I felt so alone which is strange because I was never accompanied by June my wife as she had Multiple Sclerosis and could only walk short distances holding my hand. June steadfastly refused a chair or a stick or anything else other than my hand or arm. I used to wake up multiple times during the night if I heard her get out of bed in case June fell. Now I sleep (with a pill) until the early hours maybe 3-4 am then that’s it. I usually get up make the bed and sit in the recliner until it’s light. I hope it will change. Today has been another bad day - never been out the door. Had some phone calls. I have no family of my own but do have an elderly Mother (92) who does not need what I’m going through and a ten year younger Brother still at work.


Thank you Bristles,

I am very sorry to hear your story. Your lifestyle sounds remarkably like our life used to be although a lot of our lifestyle was forced upon us by ill health of June my wife. June never complained about her situation just got on with it and her passing was unconnected to known disease.
I thank you for your take on medication however I need help at this point and I am desperate to see if anything will work for me. The GP has told me that the drug is not as addictive as what went before but that I would be weaned off them over time.
I cannot imagine this going on the length of time you describe. We are all different and at the moment I will go with anything to ease the mental pain. If there are side effects which I cannot cope with I will contact the GP but at this present time I need something to help. I respect your response and thank you for providing it. I do hope that your loss will further diminish. Thank you again.


Hi, I’m quite new here
Shiney999, I completely get were you’re coming from. I was with my husband when he passed. He actually told me he was dying, he said he could feel it, earlier in the evening he’d not been feeling too well, but he was often like that, he had COPD and cancer, the cancer was incurable but it was stable. Anyway, I kept asking him time and time again if he wanted an ambulance to go to hospital and time and time again, he refused. He knew what was happening and he was determined to be at home with me by his side, he got his wish. But, now I’m going through the last hours and minutes and seconds leadtuo to his passing. I already had depression, diagnosed but not treated, I refused to take the pills, now though, I’ve listened to my GP and I’m taking the pills, there is no shame or harm in it. I’m grieving but I’m also depressed, I don’t think the pills take away the grief, you still feel all of that. I’m on Mirtazapine daily and I have Zopiclone every now and then when I really need sleep.
You do whatever it is you need to do to get through it. Sorry for the long post, I’m not very good at this


Thank you Granny-Smith,
It seems like we have experienced very similar experience although I had no warning whatsoever. June was on the phone one minute and in deep trouble the next. I attempted cpr - not good enough and she passed despite the efforts of the paramedics. I see images of June and the aftermath. I’m still living here just. Is it PTSD? I don’t know I’m not medically qualified. I have been taking the sleeping tablet yo referred to every night as directed by the GP. I am now trying to get off them as they knock me out but I wake very early. I started on the antidepressants today as I just cannot go on feeling this way day in day out. I know June wouldn’t like it as she was dead set against this type of medication. June was a qualified Nurse. While recovering from Cancer surgery she refused Morphine. I hope you soon feel better and the meds are short term.


I’m learning how to use this site
My husband was on morphine at times too, to help with his pain, he was really brave
My GP said that what I’m/we’re going through has all the hallmarks of PTSD, the flash backs, sleeplessness, bad dreams when I do manage to sleep. The Zopiclone make me sleep but not very long and they leave me tired the next day or I’m just tired anyway.
Everything is a chore, I w not even cooked as such since my husband passed, not got the energy, I’ve been living in microwave meals, which isn’t great of course.
Please, keep on with the antidepressants, I’ve been taking mine for 3 weeks now, I’ve not noticed anything different yet, but my GP said around 6 weeks to work, but we shall see
I hope you can find some inner peace at some point, it’s an awful journey we are on, one that I guess, will never actually end.
I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I’m sure that your June would have known you’d tried your best and really, that’s all you could have done
I’m so sorry for your loss and I hope in time you’ll feel somewhat better in yourself. I know it hits you hard mentally


Granny -Smith,

Thank you so much for your kind comments towards the end of your post. I hope June will know I did my best in the circumstances. I did panic but it’s different when working on your loved one.
Thank you for passing on your experience with the meds which is really useful. I only hope it does us both good and helps us from a really dark frightening place. We will never forget just manage our feelings and control them hopefully.
I am existing on microwave meals mostly and sandwiches which is not good as you say. I have lost over two stones in six weeks.
Take care of yourself and stay safe.


I’m sorry to hear of your loss and the trauma of having to see your wife pass. My husband died March 2021 of a heart attack at home. It was so unexpected and sudden.

Just going back a few years, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Treatment went well but when I was due to go back to work I had a major anxiety issue. Couldn’t be in the house on my own, couldn’t go out on my own. The doctor put me on sertraline and I have to say it helped me get through this period. It takes a few weeks to work and it has to be every day. I wouldn’t have been able to move on without it. Towards the end of 2020 I was slowly taking myself off the tablets as advised. All was going well, then I lost Martin. I coped for so long but then decided to go back in the sertraline. Again I felt they did the job and helped me to get back on track enough to cope with every day.
They do not make you spaced out or void of all senses.
I would never say no to anyone regarding anti depressants as they have helped me.

Take care
Dee xx


Dear @Shiney999/Tony,
Tomorrow will be 1 year and 27 weeks since my wife passed suddenly. Your description of your feelings and distress reminded me of my own situation. I can still vividly remember finding her in bed, the shock and total disbelief of what had happened and the intense despair of realising that my own life had just ended that day too. Parts of the ensuing days and weeks are now a blur, and I am convinced that but for the help of two very good friends the week after the event that I wouldn’t be here today. I was in a total daze, totally distraught and devastated and desperately wondering how on earth I was going to survive without my wife. I didn’t sleep for about 3 or 4 days, lost 1½ stones in weight over about 4 weeks, couldn’t sleep at night, my mind was racing as I lay in bed thinking about a thousand things. It was all I could do to drag myself out of bed by 11:30am after getting that kick in my gut each morning when I realised my wife was no longer with me. Does it get any easier? I don’t think “easier” is the word, but with time the intense pain does diminish, imperceptibly, although it may take a long, long time and life will never be the same again. I still have days each week where I feel totally unable to cope. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.

Does medication help? I’ve been on Sertraline and Propanalol for about 10 years now, originally due to other circumstances. Do they help? To be honest, I no longer know if they do or not. There are arguments for and against, and I don’t know the answer. I did eventually have to ask my GP for something to help me to sleep and she prescribed Trazedone and that did actually help, though even now I wake 2, 3, maybe 4, times a night. I probably average about 4 hours sleep each night, though I do doze on and off most afternoons - it helps me get throught the day.

All I can do is reiterate @Crazy_Kate’s words to keep posting here. One of my friends guided me to the Sue Ryder site and it was a godsend for me. I needed to say things, talk about my wife and how I was feeling, and to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling as I did. The site definitely helped with that.

Take care,


Dear Dee
Thank you for your response and apologies for the late response. I very much appreciate your reassurance about the medication in question and how it has helped you through.
Your story is very similar to my experience in that our loss was so sudden. Having dealt with June’s Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and later Cancer then her sudden death in front of me I think everything has just built up and I just cannot cope without help. I didn’t take a sleeping tablet last night so didn’t sleep well. I got up at 5 am and sat in the chair downstairs until it got light. Thank you for your reassurance that the meds will not leave me zombie like. I don’t want that obviously all I want is some mental peace. Thank you again for your help and concern.


Dear Alston,
Thank you for your response which sounds very like the feelings I have. The thought of having to go through what I am feeling for years is not something I believe I can do. The shock of what happened to June is still affecting me greatly. I physically shake sometimes. I break down frequently. I didn’t take a sleeping tablet last night so had a poor sleep. Up at 5 am and sat in the chair.
I really don’t want to do medication but I feel I have no other option. I too have had help from a couple of special friends which has been my lifeline. One has told me to call him 24/7 if need be. I don’t want to do that and understand there will be times when he just is not available. I’m going out as little as possible. I have no family of my own. I’m not eating well - forcing myself to have the minimum. The days are endless. The only respite I get is when I am asleep.
Thank you for recommending this site. I have had one session of telephone counselling but don’t know whether it will help. One organisation I went to said it was too early to start and to go back after 3 months. That is too long for me. Take care and thank you.