Panic and anxiety - is this normal?


This is my first time here.

My partner died very suddenly and unexpectedly (and publicly!) last October. He was in his mid-50s and seemingly very fit and well.

I seemed to manage OK immediately following his death - surprisingly so. But things started to go very wrong a few months’ later when I tried to get back to ‘normal’ life. I’ve been struggling with my mental health and have been unable to work since then.

The main and debilitating feelings are extreme anxiety (like a permanent panic attack), terror and dread, and of feeling unsafe and untethered - like there’s no firm ground underneath me.

People talk about waves of grief (which I interpret as intense sadness and loss) hitting them but I don’t get this - it’s the panic and terror instead.

It would be helpful to know if anyone else has experienced this? Is it normal?

Thank you


Hi .im so sorry for you’re loss.i can understand the painc and anxiety. I lost my dad in February…ive been having increased anxiety and having panic attacks also.i had one a day ago… this has become regular since my dad died …i have a few things that help to calm me …i read that its common to experience these feelings…sending love to you

Thanks so much for sharing that xbabbear19x.

I’m so sorry for your loss, too. Can I ask what helps to calm you?

Hi Goldgknch.
It is 4 yrs in Sept since my precious husband died. I was a retail Manager and extremely creative and confident. Since Ron died I feel as though all my coping skills have been thrown out of the window. Even things like mowing the lawn or renewing my car insurance have become massive issues. I wake up in a panic thinking about the strangest things and I can’t seem to motivate myself anymore to do anything. It is as though everything is in slow motion
Things do not not seem as important once I am up and about and Ihave to tackle one thing at a time which takes three times longer than it used to.
But I am still here and nothing has been repossessed yet so I must be doing something right.
Please take it easy and just try to do one job a day. You have grief fog and are only just starting on your journey.
I find it all overwhelming sometimes but you will cope and the more you do the easier it becomes.
My love and thoughts to you. Xx


My husband died in sept and like you I seemed to be doing relatively ok but did have anxiety when I went out anywhere. It got worse over a few months and eventually had to go to the doctors who put me on medication. It has helped a lot the anxiety is still there at times but is manageable. It took me by surprise as I hadn’t suffered with anything like that before but after reading on here I realised it is very common with grief.
Not surprising really as our lives have totally changed.
Maybe worth a visit to your doctor if things don’t improve.
Take care xx


Sorry I spelt your name incorrectly.

Yes, this anxiety is totally normal.

You have gone from everything being fine, to it absolutely not being fine in a very short period of time.

I lost my beautiful husband very suddenly also.

It is THE WORST thing we have to ever cope with.

Sending much love and always here for you along with all the other lovely friends on this site xx

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While I don’t have panic attacks as such, I very much do have those feelings of feeling “unsafe and untethered” which you describe @Goldfinch.

I think, for me, it’s to do with feeling alone/on my own - not loneliness, but just that feeling that everything to do with my home and my life is now all down to me.

The burden of responsibility is now a one woman show where previously it was a tag team.

I’m living on my own for the first time in my life.

That very strong presence of the man that always had my back no matter what, has suddenly been whipped away and there’s nothing in it’s place.

(My lovely husband died suddenly and completely unexpectedly too though, I suspect a lot of these feelings are common amongst the bereaved regardless of the circumstances of the death).

I do think with sudden, unexpected deaths, there is a huge amount of shock initially which can make us feel numb ,then, as that gradually wears off, reality sets in and that feeling of fear/terror/anxiety takes over where the numbness left off.

Again, for me, the untethering is compounded by all the admin things we have to do as we sort our loved ones’ affairs.
What used to be “our” bank account and cheque book, is now mine.
Similarly, the house, the car, savings etc etc.

It feels to me as if I am sitting in a tent and one by one the guy ropes holding my shelter are being severed and my lovely husband is gradually being erased and at the same time, I am becoming increasingly exposed in some way.

I manage my fear by concentrating on what I have to do rather than focusing on the fear itself.

I don’t always get things right - I frequently get things wrong but I just tell myself it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things because the worst thing in my world which could happen, already has and I find that the more I do, the more I’m able to do.

Maybe some professional help would be beneficial for you @Goldfinch, if your fear has you trapped?


I’m so sorry for your loss, it’s an incredibly hard thing to deal with .

Like you I thought I was ok at first , getting on with sorting her affairs out etc then this week has hit me like a train , literally. I can’t function .
I’ve a great job I used to be tremendous at , now I can’t seem to do it , I try then the mist comes over me and I have zero motivation to do it .I’m worried about my future employment as this is bad for me if I blow my job I’ve done for 32 years . Yet I can’t seem to do it, I run back home, my safe place .

This journey is a long one I’m told , hard to contemplate me going on forever like this .

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@Wingingit - you sum up exactly how I feel. I couldn’t have expressed it better.
@Goldfinch - I also felt I was doing ok but now, 7 months on, I’m finding life more difficult. I do think when the death was sudden it perhaps hits later as we have had no time to contemplate this life we’re left with. It creeps up on you and you realise the enormity of what has happened and if I’m honest I feel angry and sorry for myself. I couldn’t admit that I feel sorry for myself to others but I hope you understand.

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@Angiejo2 Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts. My love to you, too x

@Barbara61 thank you so much for sharing. Yes, I’m also on medication for the anxiety. The anxiety isn’t talked about enough, I don’t think xx


Thank you for sharing your experience @Wingingit. The tent analogy is exactly how I feel - thank you. I lost my home at the same time which has obviously compounded the feeling of being so untethered. And you’re right about the anxiety and fear kicking in after the shock starts to recede.

It must be so hard to find yourself living alone for the first time in your life - I’m sorry. May I ask how old your husband was? X

Thank you for sharing @Northumbrian54 And I empathize with the work situation - I worry I won’t be able to work again and what that will mean. I hope your employer is empathetic - I’m sure you’ll get there

Thank you, @Flossy3 Yes, it’s too big to get our heads around. I keep thinking that it’s bigger than me. There’s the loss of the person and the loss of the future you thought you had. Of course you feel angry and sorry for yourself. Totally understandable. I do, too

Thank you so much @LoveForever xx

You mirror my experience, my Chris was a sudden death also! Xx

Hi goldfinch
My anxiety is at top level I worry everyday about things that never mattered before. House needs painting bills need paying. Silly thing today started my anxiety off today birds on the roof sounded like the tiles where coming off what would I do. My partner always you to say I will see to that do not worry. I hate being here on my own everyone who used to come I see no more. I am retired so no need to go out and if I am true full do not want to face the outside world. I wish something would change for me but at the moment just want to be with my partner of 44 years.


I’ve just joined this forum because I have been experiencing anxiety, so I’d say others have experienced it too. I was expecting sadness, frustration, anger, loss, etc, but I was not prepared for the anxiety that has hit me 5 months on from my wife’s death. I don’t want to hijack your thread with my own experiences, but you are not alone.


Not hijacking at all @AdamS - it’s helpful to hear others’ experiences, thank you. That’s why I posted. Was there a trigger for the anxiety do you know? Hope you don’t mind me asking