Mental health issues that prevent grieving

My husband died nearly 7 months ago. He died by suicide so it was traumatic. Since he passed it’s just heightened all my prexisting mental health issues.

My ocd has been wild since he’s gone. I will start to ruminate continuously about something stupid that happened years ago, unrelated to my husband. The amount of time this takes up leaves no time for grieving. It’s almost like I’ve forgot about my husband. The guilt I feel is awful as I keep thinking “why are you focusing on stupid stuff that’s not important, when your husband is dead?” I know OCD is powerful and it’s not that simple but I hate what it’s doing.

Maybe the grief was getting too much so it triggered my OCD. I feel that the void my husband has left has contributed to my OCD being worse. I keep thinking if he was alive I’d be doing stuff with him etc. I’d have another focus. His death has left a big hole that is being filled negatively.

Has anyone found that their mental health has worsened from grief?

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Hello @Kat1984, I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband. I’m just giving this a gentle bump for you :blue_heart:

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Hello kat1984 so sorry for your loss, I’ve had ocd since I was a teenager and did start getting intrusive thoughts about 4 weeks after my husband’s death, castastrophizing over stupid paperwork stuff that unfortunately has to be dealt with, meds haven’t helped me this time and I’m suffering anxiety and panic attacks, but you should reach out to your gp or mental health services, I’m under crisis care now, so slowly getting there, but reading about anxiety posts on this forum has really helped knowing we’re not alone with all the horrible surprises grief throws at us, physical and mentally

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Thanks. It’s hard as most people just expect you to be suffering from grief.

When my husband first died I was in fight or flight for nearly 3 months straight. I was waking with 6 panic attacks per night. I literally never thought I’d come out of it. My medication that worked in the past actually made me worse, I felt like I was dying.

I’m now on citalopram and it did settle the main panic and anxiety symptoms.

The OCD is the killer though, I wouldn’t mind if mine was about stuff relating to my life now but it’s thoughts about daft stuff that’s not important right now. I guess it just makes me feel guilty that I don’t grieve whilst I’m focusing on something so silly.

Your meds experience exactly mirrors mine! 2 weeks into taking fluoxetine ( which had worked in past years) I actually started massive panic attacks and debilitating anxiety, it took a month of me begging gps it was meds making me ill! after 2nd panic attack trip to a+e their mental consultant said stop fluoxetine, just because it worked a while back, your brain chemistry can change to meds, and grief is so massively painful, I got through 5 weeks in house alone over Christmas,managed to get back to work, before I had breakdown, the anxiety has robbed me of my job, ability to live alone and independence, I’m under crisis team now on mirtazapine and diazepam ( which is short term) , I feel a burden on my family and keep telling myself to toughen up, the panic hits you like a truck in the mornings and like you say it puts grief on the back burner with the overwhelming thoughts and feelings! Crisis say it’s debatable whether it was fluoxetine pushed me over edge or grief, read all the posts on here on anxiety, it will help you not feel alone, it’s a horrible complicated journey, i think I’m sensitive now to antidepressants and stay on the lower dose of mirtazapine 15mg to make me sleep and eat more, I couldn’t tolerate it when they upped to 30mg, so be clear with whoever prescribes you meds if you think it doesn’t work for you, we are already suffering enough

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Can I recommend a book. It’s called “A life at last by Paul David” that’s how I eventually got my anxiety to go away. Not sure if you’ve ever had depersonalisation, but I had it so badly that’s all I kept thinking about was how odd/ill I felt.

Sounds simple but it basically teaches you to not pay any attention to your anxiety and just get on with your day. Obviously it gives you tips.

I was getting worried as everyday started with me waking to constantly check in with how I was feeling, it was like I was stuck in my brain. All my thoughts were internal. Apparently it’s just a habit that’s been caused by the anxious state of mind. It tells you to not fight it, but just allow it to be.

I didn’t think I was worrying about anything but then I listed stuff I’d been worrying about since my husband died and it filled a page.

I kept worrying about being alone forever, if I get sick who will look after me, who would look after my kids, money, everything in the house, the afterlife… and so on. It was no wonder I was having crazy anxiety.

I’ll get that off Amazon, I’ve had my dr Claire weeks self help for your nerves book for 30 years now, it got me through post natal depression explaining every trick your mind plays on you, I go back to it time to time, I realise I’ve had ocd since a teenager (I’m 54 now) I suppose it’s only since we had access to the internet people have realised it wasn’t just them and understood more about mental illness, the depersonalisation, is it where you feel so disconnected from the world and feel awful seeing other couples happy going about their life? I’ve been warned about going too far down the internet rabbit hole as I can spend all day looking for bad stuff about my meds, everyone says take each day as it comes, but that’s easier said than done when I’m a worrier, I’m scared of being alone too, like having a panic attack, I ran out the house with last one, I’m being encouraged to join some groups so I’ll give it a try, but it’s so hard to see a future when your other half had gone,

Well the last episode of bad anxiety I had, I had this awful almost eerie feeling that followed me round. It was like a crushing darkness at times like everything in the world had changed and I was just aware how odd I felt. The world just felt off and that was a terrifying feeling so I didn’t want to be alone then

I had to just learn to go with it, ride it out, even if at times I thought I could die.

Dr Claire weeks book it good, I think she was actually the first to deal with nervous illness in such a way, however her wording is quite old fashioned and I found some of it tough to read.

It’s awful. It’s nice to know you’re not alone though.

Yes she was the pioneer of anxiety treatment which a lot of anxiety coaches like dare app uses now, I agree talking about electric shock treatment was old fashioned, she looked like a sweet old grandma didn’t she! My daughters counsellor recommended dr Tracey marks videos on YouTube, I’ve watched her videos and she’s very good and covers every mental health topic

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Ohh I’ll have to look out for her videos, not heard of her.

Yes concurrent mental health conditions can be exacerbated when you throw in grief to the mix unfortunately. Especially as you’re going through the initial stages of shock. OCD symptoms shouldn’t make you feel guilty, likewise if you experienced increased sleep issues or physical symptoms during grief. Good thing is you’ve recognised it.

So sorry for your loss

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Thank you. It does all make sense, to be hit with something other than grief is cruel and exhausting. Grief is enough to contend with, let alone OCD on top.

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