Not coping

My husband died last December. I can’t stay in my present home, finances won’t allow it. I had to opt for a simple cremation for him with no attendees.
Last Wednesday I buried his ashes at the local church, a couple of friends came with me. My only family, my son and Grandson live in the USA and when my house is sold I’m going to join them.
I thought I was coping, although it’s been difficult on my own. Since last week though I seem to be back to when my husband died. I’m having bad anxiety attacks and really panicking about what the future holds. I feel like my life is spiralling out of my control.
I cared for my husband for 18 months before he died, he had liver failure from years of alcohol abuse. I didn’t know just how ill he was, he wouldn’t discuss it with me and neither would the Doctors, which in hindsight I think he told them not too. Only on the morning he died did the consultant explain everything to me and told me he had only days left. I was trying to get my head round what she told me - thinking what am I going to say to my son, I can’t phone him just now, its the middle of the night where he is, I’ve got to get to the hospital etc etc etc But I never got the chance, the phone rang again and he’d died.
I’ve been angry for months, at my husband for not telling me, for leaving me on my own and never telling me and saying I was worrying and being anxious over nothing.
But now I’m just so sad and anxious and frightened that I’m not going to be able to move forward.
I feel very lonely as well, apart from a couple of people, the friends I’ve had for years and have supported through thick and thin haven’t even contacted me over the last couple of months.
Thank you for listening, I know we are all struggling to find a way through our grief. x

Hi im so sorry for your loss it’s utterly heartbreaking that you have to leave your home with beautiful memories they will always be in your heart I lost my soulmate October gone and it doesn’t seem real or right we had seventeen years together I was looking forward to getting old with my soulmate so cruelly and brutally taken away from me I too don’t have many friends we had eachother that was enough now I’m all alone too and really struggling it’s not hour by hour second by second can’t really sleep or settle feeling kind of numb to it miss him so much my heart is pining kerp thinking it can’t be real the panic attacks are horrific causing pain in my chest it’s awful wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy just want my soulmate back in my arms your in my thoughts take care of yourself as much as possible x

Thank you Ade. The panic attacks are so scary, we were together for 43 years, I’d taken retirement to look after him, never dreamt I’d be spending my retirement alone.
I guess we are all looking for the light at the end of this long dark tunnel, right now just a flicker would do.
I hope we’ll all find a way of coping. Take care x

Thankyou for your reply I’m so sorry to hear that i can’t see there being a light we were such a self sufficient couple did everything together from shopping and gardening to walks holidays dictors appointments dentists we were joined at the hip om utterly truamatised witnesing the whole events panic attacks are horrific heart won’t stop racing my body us actually shaking with fear in my thoughts seems wash to say take care hos can we when our one true love isn’t sitting on the chair and later discussing what’s for tea watching the television a kiss before bed it’s unimaginable the fear if waking up alone again x

As an ex counsellor I helped many through anxiety and panic. The secret lies in not fighting or struggling with ‘IT’. We try to ‘get rid of it’ by various distractions and looking constantly for ways out of our problem, but all that struggling does is increase the anxiety. Now I suggest something that is difficult, but does help in the long term. Let it come! When you feel a panic attack coming don’t add ‘second fear’. That’s the OMG’s and the ‘what ifs’. It adds fuel to anxiety’s fire. If you allow the feelings to come and let them pass over you, gradually you will get to the point where it won’t matter if you panic. You will have learned to disregard it. It’s not easy at all, and I’m not for one moment minimising how anyone with panic feels. I do know because I have been there! But giving it attention and focussing on it in fear is not good. What has this to do with bereavement? A lot. I have found that in almost every case of loss anxiety rears its head. But what else could cause it other than such a traumatic event in life. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) often occurs to anyone suffering a life threatening situation, and bereavement must be life threatening. Our normal lives are under threat because of the loneliness we suffer. We may feel we are threatened by the future and what will happen to us. We may even feel threatened by people around us. Well meaning people but misguided. So try and accept anxiety as being a normal reaction to loss. Having said all that I too suffer with anxiety. Not panic thank God, but anxiety nevertheless.
This is a wonderful site because it’s part of the journey we are all on. When you climb a mountain you need guides, and that’s what this site is about. We can help and guide each other through this awful time. The mountain of loss is climbable, but we need guides, good ropes and support. When we reach the peak we will know what it’s about. Blessings

Thank you Jonathan. What you say does make sense, sometimes the anxiety is so overwhelming its very hard to think of anything else but the fear that comes with it.

Having suffered with the anxiety and panic all the time I was caring for my husband I felt I was getting to a better level just lately. Burying his ashes last week seems to have sent me spiralling down again.
I do appreciate your response, it reminds me I’m not alone.

Hi Mos your post really interested me. When my husband died in November, I knew it would happen. I nursed him at home, single handed until the end and have no regrets although I realise now it was exhausting me both mentally and physically. I then went a bit mad in sorting everything. It seemed endless. All the paperwork, sorting Bank, pensions and investments endless phone calls and on top of that sorting out his loads of stuff from his hobbies and past. He had so much it took months. I am keeping our allotments and working there, I then decided to decorate the house and went from room to room. Anyway I burnt myself out and when I thought I had come to the end. I went downhill at a great speed. Panic attacks, depression, feeling unwell (never been really ill in my life). I didn’t care if the men in the white coats came and took me away and threw away the key. I think it must be some sort of delayed shock. I only kept going because I have two lovely dogs that have pulled me through with their unconditional love. The months are moving forward but I don’t go with them. Like you I found out my husband hadn’t been entirely been honest with me. For ten years we had known about his illness and decided on a holistic therapy way of handling it. It gave him the extra ten years but I found out that in the last months he had been taking medication. His moods changed, he became demanding and in other words behaved out of character. I only found out after his death and was so upset that he had not told me. I found medication boxes hidden all over the house. His doctor would only say (after his death) that he wanted to go his own way in the end and he was at home with the woman that he loved very much, but I wondered did he. However I found text after his death thanking me for my help and how much he loved me, so this helped. Focus on joining your son and grandson and your new life and the best of luck

Pattidot, I’ve done exactly the same, rushed sorting everything out, getting rid of clutter and putting my house on the market. I ve been lucky in it selling quickly but this happened much quicker than I expected it to. I think with being so busy it really hit me after I’d buried my Husbands ashes last week. I’d been so angry up until that point.
Like you, taking my dog out has been my reason for leaving the house each day since he died, I’m certain I’d have just ended up sitting in the house all day if I’d not got to take her out.
Anxiety and panic is so frightening and debilitating, it certainly makes you feel so ill with aches and pains and sapping any energy you have left. Such a struggle but the thought of seeing my son after so long and finally meeting my Grandson has to keep me going.
I wish you all the best x

To all who have posted about anxiety attacks. Your post have been very helpful. Thought I was going crazy. My husband died in January after a stroke, I have anxiety attacks when I wake in the morning. I know now I am not alone with this. It started about three weeks ago.

I’m so sorry to hear that it varies from person to person they can last most of the day over night there’s nothing anyone can say at all times its unbearable im happly for all of those people who move in in small ways but I know for me the trauma of losing my soulmate in the way it happened in front of my eyes I’ll never move past the tears are a little slower but the inner pain is more extreme day by day take care speak soon x

Christina, I’m sorry to hear you are suffering from these as well. So overwhelming and seem to set the pattern for the day.
I’ve read all the advice on these, know what I should be doing to overcome them but finding the strength to do it is equally hard.
I know that when Im really down emotionally it’s worse, it’s causes so many physical symptoms as well.
I’ve starting trying Headspace, following the anxiety meditations each day, only 10 minutes each day and also lots of other ones for panic attacks etc on there. Lovely soothing music as well for when you go to bed. It’s worth a try. x

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No Christina, you are NOT going crazy. That is a typical response to anxiety and what we are all going through at the moment. We are bewildered and everything has become out of focus. Things we saw as beautiful may now take on a feeling of despair because we are reminded of what’s happened. Our whole perspective changes. Memory can play strange tricks on us, and just when we think we feel better anything, a sound, a view, any event that can occur will ‘trigger’ a memory and we often sink back into despair. Will it never end? The memory may never end, but the pain it brings can.
Waking in the morning with anxiety is typical of that condition. Our metabolic rate, that’s the way we use energy, is at its lowest then. I too have this problem and I find getting up and moving around helps. Laying in bed and pondering is not good. If you are alone as I am then it seems to make it worse. Also, it’s important to get out if you can. I went out this morning for a coffee to a place we used to go to. It did hurt, but when I got there a birthday party was in progress and it lifted me up that little bit to see the kids and their parents enjoying themselves. Yes, it did bring back memories, but to my surprise it was not bad. Keeping in touch with the world is so important, and even talking to strangers can bring some comfort. Blessings to all.

Hi Jonathan, once again thank you, I find you so helpful. It would be so easy to lie in bed but my two dogs let me know it’s time to get up and walk so I will never have that chance to ponder. Those memory ‘triggers’ are attacking thick and fast though. In the house, the garden, at the allotment. I don’t want to forget Brian but I can’t seem to get any peace from memories.

Your do right not that we want to but there’s memories everywhere even when we close out eyes my eyes shudder open I can bear to think of my partner lag in the coffin haunts me as I was on my knees begging him to wake up willing he’d grab me and bring me home its awful good bad bittersweet memories every where that won’t ever go away how can we forget or Wang to the love of our life im so sad I’ve struggled to make it out of bed the last three days can’t settle keel looking over to see his head and then I get that unbearable feeling of sorrow another long lonely silent night full of sorrow ahead when we should be having conversations with our partners what to have for supper who’s walking around outside the television plans for tomorrow all gone take care your in my thoughts x

Sorry for the spelling mistakes my eyes are stinging with no sleep or rest you’d and turn all night the night terrors are so intense you are in my thoughts take care of yourself as much as possible x

It’s not just the loss of our loved one’s, it’s our life as we know it that has gone also.
We must accept our grief, we have no choice and hopefully come through it in time. It’s a constant struggle I know. Dig deep, thinking of you. Pat xxx

Thankyou so much I appreciate your kind words means alot dreading going to bed to try and sleep another long night of tossing and turning feeling sad tske care thanks pat and please do contact cruse bereavement again that’s disgusting xx

Hi. Ade. Never apologise for spelling or any other mistakes. We all do it and in the circumstances it’s to be expected. Hands often tremble over the keyboard when we talk about our loss. Mine do! But I try to accept it because it’s all part of the process we are all going through. Yes, nights and morning can be the most difficult times. When we turn off the TV and it’s all silent then it can hit us hard. Someone here said they were adverse to taking medication and would not touch pills. But my view is that would you not use a crutch if you had a broken leg? You would throw the crutch away once the leg was healed. Short term medication, in my view, can be essential to take the edge off the pain and allow us to stop those racing thoughts. Tranquilisers can help as can anti depressants, but only if prescribed by your doctor. Always check with your GP if you are taking over the counter medication. Some herbal remedies can be dangerous if taken with prescribed medicines.
Ade, I feel so sorry for how you feel, but although it’s and old cliché it’s true. ‘Everything passes’. Now I am aware that’s not a lot of comfort to you at the moment. The feelings you have now are indescribable. All the platitudes in the world won’t help. BUT!! we are all here together in this bad time, and with support and love we will get through it, believe me. Blessings.

Thankyou Jonathan for your kind words I am at the Gps on Wednesday initially I said no to any medication and have been on a waiting list for cruse bereavement since November I called yesterday they said another eight to ten weeks less or more as there is a waiting list im a trembling continuesly I haven’t been able to even turn the television on since October just can’t sit in silence in bed or at the kitchen table looking at the photos of us and a empty dining room chair tears come then I stop this is the most mentally and physically destroyed I have ever been and I’ve been through alot as a child im 40 in two weeks we had our future mapped out dreams and hopes to grow old together looking back to thus time last year we had a great bank holiday weekend together having fun im soo heartbreakon I cant describe we did everything together he was my crutch visa versa see what the doctors recommend wednesday maybe some short term medication may help just want to be aware of what I’m doing not spaced out we never had no life insurance just being young so I had to get the funeral service flowers everything arranged I did my best I really did I used all I had the pain if just wanting to go back to the day we met and fall in love again and live each day what I’d give for that thanks for your kind words I’ll talk to the doctors definitely take care speak later x

I’m so glad you are going to your GP. Now please don’t get the idea you will be spaced out on medication. Your doctor will know how much you need and the last thing they will do is over prescribe. My doctor is very sensible and won’t increase a dosage unless it’s absolutely necessary. I’m on antidepressants, a low dose, and it does help. If only a bit it helps. You would have to take a lot to get spaced out. 10 weeks waiting list!!! Well it goes to show how much others are suffering; we are not alone, although knowing that does not help a lot, but it does a bit. When I say ‘a bit’ we have to remember that all the ‘bits’ can add up and amount to some relief. Please try and not sit around in introspection. I know! difficult. Looking inward in bereavement can only make it worse. Looking outward, while not having any immediate effect, can help ’ a bit’!! Very best wishes.