Should I take pills?

My husband died eight months ago. I miss him so much the moment I am not busy. When I am out with other people I feel quite normal but as soon as I am on my own I feel as though I am drifting through space. I often wake up shaking in the morning with my heart thumping. It is a horrible feeling. Evenings and weekends are the worst. I ended up in A&E last Saturday as I couldn’t stop shaking. Usually it goes off. I think it was the prospect of the weekend. I can’t be with people all the time. I have issues other than bereavement that go back to childhood and are making things worse. After 48 years of security with my husband I thought I had grown up but I am still not very independent. My GP gave me antidepressants (Citalopram) 6 months ago. I haven’t taken them as they can affect your driving and my car is my lifeline. They can also make you feel worse/suicidal in the first three weeks. I can’t afford to feel much lower than I feel at my worst. I am not a pill taker and quite proud of coping generally. At the A&E the mental health worker tried to persuade me to take the medication. I thought it was irresponsible of him to suggest it. My GP also said why not give it a try. She is young and doesn’t really understand that the pills might leave me suicidal.I am waiting for further counselling. I have had some but need specialist help.Has anyone any experience of these pills or is anyone out there in the same predicament?

I am sorry for your loss. I lost my husband 3 months ago we had been together for 40yrs from the age of 17. I have been taking pills for depression and sleeping tablets.
I don’t think I’d get through the days without medication. Life for both of us will never be the same and like you I dread the weekends. I wake up on a Friday and start to feel anxious about the weekends. Just give yourself chance to heal, and if that means taking medication to help the process it’s worth trying. Take care and don’t be so harsh on yourself.

I was so sorry to read your post and for the sad loss of your husband. I really connected with what you said, as my mum died in August and we were very close. I was very traumatised to start with, she was diagnosed with leukaemia and died just 5-6 weeks later. I had terrible anxiety, shaking, I rang an ambulance one night because I was so scared and couldn’t stop shaking or breathe properly. So I really understand your situation. My gp also offered me anti depressants but I too was not at all keen, I was terrified of the possible side effects. I took the prescription But have not taken the pills. I too was worried about potentially feeling even worse. I have a real phobia of taking pills, especially if I think they could make my anxiety worse. Infact justvthe thought of it can bring in feelings of severe anxiety and panic!! I have been having regular counselling, and also regular acupuncture, I know it might sound odd but this is the second time I’ve suffered with severe anxiety/shaking and all I Can tell you is the acupuncture has worked wonders for calming my anxiety/fears etc I have been sleeping better, eating better etc. Obviously time is a great healer but it is still very early days for me. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone with your feelings, and tell you what has helped me as I really feel taking pills would have to be an absolute last resort for me. I hope this reply is of sone help to you. Take care. Kind regards Bex

Hi Pattoa I’m feeling for you as I have similar. I’m a bit further on on this terrible journey (16 months since my tradegy). I was also married 48yrs and met my husband when I was 14 yrs it’s like losing a limb. We/I have relied on someone most of our lives suddenly (and mine was so sudden) there is nothing there and we are set adrift ??? I don’t have any answers this is all so unfair as far as I can see but to help you thru’ (and this is not an answer just what I’ve done this far) fill your days if you can. I joined a gym and it was so hard but there are ladies (mostly) who sit around to have coffee so that can fill the morning. Maybe go for a walk or see a friend/family in the afternoon it’s not what you want. I KNOW believe me but just try to fill bits of time phone people/text people but fill it! It may help I’m
Not through the bad things but don’t have medication just fill my time with trivia. I’m not happy don’t think I’ll ever feel better just hope to manage this. If I’m in this life my husband would not want me to waste it so trying hard and I’m sure yours would too ! Be what you think he would want for you. Best wishes. xxxxx

Hi again Patton, I just wanted to say I also have some issues going back to childhood! So I too struggle with being independent and being alone, this has gotten much worse since my mum died. It’s not quite the same for me, as I struggle more with the days during the week, when my husband has to go to work and leaves very early in the mornings. That’s when my shaking has been at its worst. I have to try and pull myself together because I have a 9 year old son who needs me. Once again I have to say the counselling is really helping with the bereavement and the old issues. You are not alone in how you are feeling. It’s normal to feel anxious and to struggle with being alone at times. It’s been helpful for me to have someone explain that everything I have been feeling is normal and part of the grief process. I know we have different loses, but as i mentioned before your post really resonated with me, and I really felt for you and what you are going through. I feel embarrassed sometimes that at the age of 42 I have to rely so heavily on my husband and have sometimes felt so anxious I have begged him not to leave me alone and go to work! (Though I also work part time, getting to work sone days has been such a struggle, tho once I am there the distraction is usually really helpful). I really hope knowing that you are not alone with your feelings brings you some comfort. I’d be happy to chat with you on here if it helps. Wishing you peace. Bex

Hi everyone i live in Glasgow southside does anyone know if there are any groups or meetings I could go to meet friends I’m not into dancing as such,after losing my husband of 55yrs it’s hard to meet new friends at my age (ladies) to maybe go out to socialise theatre or a few drinks dinner etc Patricia

hi Pattoa,
how are you feeling now?
have you decided to take the antidepressants now?
i hope you will do some reading/research before you do - looks like you already know of one of the side effects.
these pills CAN help some people with symptoms of depression/anxiety however it should not be treated as a “cure all” or for long term solution. nor will it take away the grief.
what can help with grief is surrounding ourselves with good supportive people, looking after ourselves so we are healthy and get enough sleep/rest, keep to a routine so we are not left listless, do some exercise to get the blood pumping and go out socializing so we are distracted and be amongst people who care.
i practice mindfulness and gratitude which really does help with my grief most days. it keeps me grounded in the here and now, and gratitude reminds me that there’s still so much wonderful things in my life despite my loss.
i hope you will find your own coping mechanisms that suits you, hang in there…you are not alone in this.


Another one saying about going for walks. I know it is miserable and cold weather but you warm up quite quickly I find. I lost my Mum last year and was lucky enough to have a big park nearby I walked in all the time. Also walking into town rather than catching the bus or driving though I appreciate this may not be practical for you. Another advantage of this being it takes longer so fills the time!

I did not take anything after the loss of Mum and though it was hard, and still is at times, I am glad to have come to that decision. I have found I eat an awful lot of sweets though.

I took antidepressants years ago for an anxiety related issue and hated the way I felt, Mum said I was like a zombie! I had not wanted to take them but was told the alternative of cognitive therapy had a long waiting list. My doctor was very sympathetic towards me and agreed that getting the dose as low as I could was the best way forward. What really helped most was being given a prescription for some other ‘emergency’ tablets which I kept in my bag for if I got a panic attack. I only ever took two of them but knowing I had them as a security blanket was enough. I was off the weaker pills within three months and have never taken them since.

Good luck anyhow. You have lots of people on here to support you.


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Hi Mel and everybody who took the trouble to reply. I still haven’t taken the pills. I do a lot of the things that you have all recommended. I am ok when I am out. I go to a lot of activities in the day but as soon as I am alone I feel deserted by the world! It is only 5 o’clock and I am so tired. I tried to play the piano but after 10 minutes I was exhausted. I can usually do my Italian homework (I go to lessons) and my music theory but I can’t read much and I don’t really enjoy eating any more. I could just go to bed now. I feel as though I just want to die tonight but not really. I want to learn to cope but I’m not sure how. My piano teacher said I need to build a new life but I haven’t got the energy or concentration to start,even if I knew where to start. I’m sorry to sound so negative but tonight I just can’t help it and typing on this site might help me a bit. Good wishes to you all. You all have your own crosses to bear, I know. Pattoa.

hi Pattoa,
i’m so glad to hear that you are already filling your days with activities and doing new things e.g playing the piano and Italian…like omg! that’s so WOW !! i’d love to learn another language and still haven’t got round to doing it apart from ordering drink/food in spanish or asking where the toilet is haha ! so well done you… !

the thing about grief and depression is…it WILL drain you hence the exhaustion, the fatigue and the loss of interest/drive/motivation. this IS normal and it is shared by all of us who goes through it. but trust me, it does wear off as time goes by however there are many things you can do to feel better - good news is, you’ve already made a head start.

what i’d like to say to you is… BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF.
you are going through a very traumatic period in your life, it has knocked the wind out of your sail…so go easy on yourself.

my therapist told me to practice self-compassion…treat ourselves as though we are treating a good friend in need, with a lot of love, care, tenderness and compassion.

there’s no rush to “get over the grief” and we each go through it in our own time zone.

have a look at this link if you’re interested

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Hi Jude, Thank you for your kind words. Other people have said similar things ( not that that takes away from what you said) but perhaps I have finally listened. I am not very good at being kind to myself. I always expect a lot from myself. I have tried to be kinder and not expect too much since reading your post. I can do that but it worries me that being alone is so difficult. My husband was always there in the background and that gave me confidence. I am 73 and don’t know how easy it will be to make a new life and be independent. Don’t be too impressed by my piano playing. I just work hard at it but will never be a concert pianist! I learnt Italian in the 60s so it is a question of just picking it up again. I really enjoy all my activities but when I stop the trouble starts. People keep saying it will get better but I am not sure. Thank you again. Pattoa.

hi Pattoa,

i’m glad you are considering being kinder to yourself - it IS not something most of us know how to do, we find it a lot easier and natural to be kinder to other people. it takes some getting used to, as with being on our own and adapting to new situations.

this is when we need to be kindest to ourselves the most and tap into all that love and care we’ve learnt to give out to other people - if we can give it out, it only means we have a huge reserve of it within us !

if you can pick up italian in your 60s and coordinate BOTH your hands and feet and eyes to play the piano, then you can do anything haha !

a lot of the advise we hear would come across as cliche and naff, but they do come from centuries of wisdom but it’s human nature to reject things which seem almost miraculous. this is due to our own stubborness to hold on to pain. why we do this? i have no idea…perhaps it’s part of the grieving process. and that’s fine too.

don’t ever fight the pain, let it come and go, like the tide. don’t deny it as it’s part of the healing process.

just say hi to it…make friends with it , if you can…and as with anything, this too shall pass xxx

Hi, we have many similarities including I lost my partner 7 months ago. I am an only child and also have childhood issues. My partner used to say I was fragile. In some ways he was right. I have depression anyway and have taken many anti depressants in my time. It is difficult to advise. I wonder what strength citalopram you were given? I found them quite mild compared to some. Pm anytime. Thinking of you.

Dear Pattoa,

I thought you might be interested in my experience of Citalopram.

I have been on Citalopram (20 mg per day) for just over a year. My GP started me on them in November 2016 as I was struggling with the demands of being a full-time carer for my 92 year old mother. In particular the stress in my life was causing me to be very bad-tempered and irritable with my poor mum. The Citalopram took a couple of weeks to work but it calmed me down and gave me the patience of a saint. It turned me into a nice person. I am so grateful because my mum was in the last few months of her life - she died in February - and my grief would be a million times worse if I had been short-tempered and frustrated with her towards the end. The Citalopram helped me cope with her death (which wasn’t an easy one) and is still helping me cope now.

I still drive and think I am a calmer, less anxious driver. I think the only downside of the Citalopram is that - in my case - it seems to cause a certain amount of emotional numbness and indifference. Sometimes I worry that I’m not grieving enough for mum and this must make me a bad daughter and I hate this feeling because I loved my mum to bits. I just hope I can attribute this to the Citalopram and it isn’t genuine indifference.

I am so sorry that you are missing your husband so acutely. There’s nothing I can say that will help.