Severe anxiety after loss of mum

Hello. I feel so ashamed of myself. Just seen my GP who tells me I have severe health anxiety. Mum died 14 months ago of dementia I was her Carer until she went into a home. She was my best friend. Her illness crucified me as I couldn’t stop it or make it better. I was with mum daily fighting her corner in the care home and the stress was immense. I now have this severe anxiety about my health and that of my husbands. I’m on “red alert” the whole time and panic grips me over the slightest thing as any symptom ultimately leads to death and suffering in my mind and I’m terrified. It’s our turn next. My GP pointed out mum was a good age as if that somehow is ok? It’s made me angry. I see her point but is no consolation. I want my mum. I’m frightened of life without her and dad. I now feel humiliated and ashamed for these anxiety symptoms. The Gp recommended counselling/CBT and I have agreed to go. I can’t cry when I want to it’s sort of stuck in my throat and chokes me and I’m scared to let it out as it’s so painful when I do I can’t bear it. Just feel like a freak and wondered if anyone else suffers these feelings.
Thanks so much for listening.

You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of Pen. What you’re feeling is normal. The trouble is that we never talk about death and grief until we’re in the middle of it, which isn’t the best time! 6 months after my daughter died I started having physical problems which got magnified out of all proportion, I was convinced I was going to die. If my husband got one of his headaches, which he’s had all his life due to an eye problem, I was convinced he was going to die too. From being a calm, confident, sociable multi tasker I turned into a nervous recluse incapable of doing more than one job at a time. I also started having anxiety attacks. I felt completely out of control. 16 month’s on and I’m turning things around, and at long last have more good days than bad, but just the other week I had a root canal filling which took time to settle, but I was convinced the dentist had done it wrong and there was a bigger issue - so I’ve still got a way to go!

I wish I’d known about this site sooner because I’d have realised that what I was going through was so common, especially the anxiety, so don’t feel you’re a freak, you’re not, you’re grieving and at times it’s scary, and by sharing how you feel you’re helping so many other people on here to know that they’re normal too. I’m sure you’ll get other replies that will reassure you. It’s a horrible journey but we’re all in it together so hold on tight and we’ll get through it. Sending you lots of empathy, Kathy x

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Hi Pen,

I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your Mum and that you’re having such a tough time now with anxiety. I do understand what you’re going through, you’re not alone. Please don’t feel ashamed & you are definitely not a freak.

My Mum died almost 5 years ago & like you, she was my best friend. I was devasted when she died and suddently felt really scared. I went to my doctor & just sobbed for 10 minutes & all I could say was ‘I’m so scared’. I couldn’t explain exactly what I was scared of. My Mum made me feel safe, she was my safety net which had just disappeared.

I did have bereavement counselling which I found incredibly helpful. It was my safe place where I could say anything I wanted. In 2 sessions I think I cried for the whole 45 mins. Gradually I began to realise that I could cope & manage my life without my Mum. I don’t think I would have realised that without the counselling. It’s good that you’ve agreed to go. I had CBT therapy 2 years ago & again found it very helpful.

I’m 47 now & I still have to manage my anxiety - it never completely goes away. I limit caffeine, sugar & alcohol as these make my anxiety worse. Regular exercise is also good.

Different things help different people with the grieving process. You’ll find what help you gain some balance back in your life.

Please keep talking to us & take care. Trudy x

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What you feel is completely normal, I am in a constant state of panic, even visiting close friends I have a panic attack as I approach their house.
Even though you may not feel it but crying is good for the healing process, but it is important to remember everyone deals with grief differently.

Hi Kathy
Oh what a kind thoughtful reply Thankyou so much for taking the time and trouble. I thought nobody would reply at all. So glad I found this website. I have “lost it” today and sat crying at my desk at work all morning and it just wouldn’t stop and I didn’t really care as it was as if I had no control over it. I think my Gp made me feel a hypochondriac and i was humiliated. I have the real problem like you did about me and my husband dying. I’m on red alert constantly and waiting for the next emergency. I cared for mum for around 9 years on my own though she eventually had to go into a home and I have dreaded the day she died. Last year was a numb blur and I switched off emotionally and I think it’s now coming out more and
manifesting itself with extreme anxiety and fear of everything. Mum always made me laugh we laughed til we cried and I never laugh anymore. I look at her photos and cannot believe she has gone it’s unbearable. When friends last year were crying I used to envy them as I was frozen and the shock seemed too bad for tears but I never expected this terror to grip me and consume me. I feel like a little girl lost and read somewhere that losing your mum is the first pain and grief you have to bear without her. I’m so glad you are coping and working through it all and I hope my post helped you too.with my sincere
best wishes, Pen x

Yes, your post did help so thank you for that. It’s so good to know we’re not alone. The numbness protects us for a while, but then people don’t understand why we go to pieces later on because by then they think we should be getting over it when in fact the reality has only just hit us. Hope the CBT helps. I’ve never had it but know people who have and found it very helpful. Best wishes, Kathy x

Hi Pen thankyou for sharing this until I read some of the comments on here I thought it was just me. It is normal as you suddenly are aware of your own mortality. I nursed my Mum through very advanced bowel cancer for 6 months following her diagnosis in March last year. She died in August & I too felt I was on high alert all the time, your body & mind find it hard to re adjust after such an intense period. I went to my Dr in October having convinced myself I too had bowel cancer and sat & cried until he agreed to refer me to a gasteroenterologist who then arranged an invasive colonoscopy just to put my mind at rest everything thankfully was clear but I had comvinced myself the worst was going to happen. The consultant has diagnosed IBS which Iis no surprise given the high state of anxiety I have lived in over the years. I have started to practice yoga & I’m doing my best to try & find some time every day to relax to get back in control of my mind & body but please rest assured you are not alone. I would just love a hug from my Mum I miss her desperately as I can tell all the other people posting on here feel the same. It rea
Lay helps to know people understand. Take care xx

Dear Pen
Please don’t feel ashamed or as if you are a freak. You’re not! You’re perfectly normal. You have been through a very traumatic experience and what you are feeling is a reaction to this. I lost my Dad a year ago and I felt as though my life was over. I thought I would never feel happy again. In fact if I laughed at anything I felt guilty. Then I heard my Dad’s voice telling me to stop beating myself up. I know I did everything I could to make Dad’s last few weeks as bearable as possible. You could do nothing to change what happened. You owe it to your Mum to live your life as best you can. Please go for counselling. I’m sure it will help to put your mind at rest. I send you my best wishes for your recovery.

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Pen,so sorry for your loss. Like you i have lost my Mum,it was 9 months ago. My anxiety especially in the morning is severe,to the point of near enough vomiting,i have had my illness for 6 years now,so losing my Mum,like you i feel frightened of the future without her,(decisions are daunting,to near enough impossible).My Mum was everything to me,and suffered with an illness all her life. My Mum was such a strong person. On top of this i am a lone parent with not much family support. And do not feel able to work because of how i am. Don’t ever feel ashamed,you are such a strong person. I would try to just get threw every few hours,that’s all i can do. If you ever need to talk,just message me. I hope things get better in time. Take Care,Lucy,xxx

Hello Lucy. Thanks so much for replying. I think people under estimate grief until they go through it! Like you I have no family my brother doesn’t have contact and lives a long way away and I’ve no children but I am a stepmum to 3 traumatised kids who are grown up now but this doesn’t help either. I sometimes feel I want to lose it and and scream very loudly “mum” as I can’t believe she’s gone and I am terrified without her. I’m so sorry you feel so awful too. Thank goodness for this website it’s been an amazing support and I am so relieved I’m not the only one with these feelings as my Gp looked at me as if I’m odd to feel like this and made me feel awful. Please message me and we can help each other. Take care xx

" but then people don’t understand why we go to pieces later on because by then they think we should be getting over it when in fact the reality has only just hit us. "
this is how I feel.
I am glad you posted about anxiety. I am an only child and now both parents are gone, my mom in 2016, dad 2013, and I cared for them both. life has been hell since they died. they were my safe place to land … and now it is all gone. I go to bed as soon as possible in the evenings … usually … it is the only safe place. they were married 65 years so we had a close bond. I am so lost without them and felt so panicked for so long … it is better but instead of being panicked, I then am resigned even to my own death. I hate saying things like this … but others seem free to express their darkest thoughts. it is SO hard dealing with other people! because they are not your family.

Hi Berit thank for replying. I am so glad I posted this as so many of us feel this awful anxiety with grief it’s very scary. I think being honest and saying hey I’m terrified of dying and illness has helped me just by admitting it. Other people do seem to judge us harshly and expect us to be over it (I will never get over it as I feel getting over it is moving on leaving them behind which I can’t ever do) I read a book once that said we don’t leave them behind we take their memory with us forever.
Thanks for sharing how you feel as I feel the same. It helps so much to know I am not alone in this. Take care x



I hope your alright. So today is Saturday morning and i have to get some hoovering done around my flat,as i haven’t been well enough,or felt able to on my usual week day. I can’t believe that you felt like your GP looked at you as if your odd? I don’t think that is right at all,what you have been through only you know how you feel,and there is nothing odd about that. There is always the option of seeing another GP. Yesterday morning was very bad for me,i started to cry for my Mum,then struggle to eat breakfast,the mornings are the worst. This morning has been a bit better,so going to get as many chores done as possible. Try to read a book,or just rest to take your mind off things. Also having a few squares of chocolate each day,lessons the affect of the anxiety as well as having tablets,if needed. Heartbroken for you,and heartbroken for anyone who has to experience and feel like this. Remember there are pop stars,celebrities,who are battling anxiety/mental health issues as well. Hope to speak soon,Lucy,xxx

Hi,Pen,i hope your ok,it is Lucy,i sent you a message on here a few weeks ago. I hope your keeping well. Just cam e on here this evening to pass the time xxx

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Hi Lucy thanks for your message it couldn’t have come at a better time. I am feeling so low tonight missing mum so badly as I’m poorly and my husband isn’t being very nice. Unfortunately this makes me miss mum even more. I have a nasty tooth infection after a bad extraction and been poorly a while with this. My anxiety is so bad I’m imagining all sorts and need a lot of reassurance and I’m getting impatience from him! Just sat and had a good cry. Mum would always make it better always comfort me always be there. I feel so alone. I hope you are coping ok today? I find I’m a lot worse when things go wrong and feel the loss of mum so much. It’s an awful feeling. I couldn’t have children either which hasn’t helped as feel I’ve no family. Sorry to sound so negative. Sending a hug to you just for thinking of me. X

Hi,Pen,So sorry to read all this,all i can say is get through each day,i some how have to. Just logged on here for a few minutes before i get washed,start chores etc. I would try to talk to your husband,and explain how you are feeling. Also how about when you feel ready joining a bereavement group in your area. If eventually you would like to meet up with me for a coffee etc. I don’t feel the same person since the loss of my mum,on the 1st of september it will be 1 year. I hope you start to feel better soon,Take Care,hope to speak soon,Lucy xxx

Hi Lucy thanks for your reply. The first year anniversary is hard. I just feel nothing is right since mum died from clothes I buy to try to cheer myself up to things I do places I go. Yes one day at a time is the only way. I find myself looking for the support and love I got from my mum, in other people. But of course it’s never there it can never be the same. That’s the hardest thing. I’m like a ship without an anchor. Yes I would love to meet up for a cuppa if you are in my area? Wiltshire. But soon moving back to Bromley Kent. Take care will be thinking of you sept 1st. X

dear pen: I am now two years and two months since I lost my mother. we were very close. I was her only child, caregiving for her, too. I thought about suicide (daddy dead too - no husband) since she died.

BUT this summer things have eased incredibly! my life got better and I no longer think of wanting to die to be with mom and dad. I just say this as encouragement.

if someone would say this to me, during my grief, I would not care about the support they offered. but time will roll on, and one day you will feel ok, even if you do not want to.

I am helping a friend with his mom, 92. I dread it for him because I know how terribly awful the whole thing is when the day comes she passes away. it just means how much we loved them, when it hurts this bad and that is better than the lesser love that some may have had with mom and dad.

Hi,Pen,I live in Wolverhampton,but i would be prepared to meet you half way to meet up. There are trains,but not too keen. I hope that your alright. speak soon,xxx

Hello Jools,
I have suffered from anxiety for the last few months following the death of my husband in February. Rather than taking up yoga, I have turned to Tai Chi, and have found it has helped me a lot. I
have also experienced obsessive thoughts and compulsive checking behaviour, although these have lessened recently. I am told that it all relates to fear of future loss, and will fade away over time. I have also begun doing a little meditation to aid relaxation, and use the free app Insight Timer, which may be of some use to you. Take care of yourself, Jayne xxx