Terrible anxiety

I was wondering if anyone else has dealt with terrible anxiety and panic attacks after the loss of a loved one?
My mum died around 6 weeks ago now, she was diagnosed with leukaemia and 6-7 weeks later she died. It was all so fast and furious. I spent most days with her at the hospital and it left me feeling very traumatised. Although I am glad I was there for her, of course. Some days I have been ok, but recently the anxiety and panic attacks are getting worse, I can’t sleep, I’m eating but loosing weight, I feel so sad all of the time and I know it’s early days but I’m so scared of how I’m feeling. I went to see my gp who suggested anti anxiety/depressant meds. But I have SUCH a phobia of taking meds. I’m scared of the side effects and of getting stuck on meds for the rest of my life. Surely it’s a little early to be jumping on medication. Although the panic attacks are becoming unbearable, I’m stuck … catch 22. I have support from my husband and siblings, they all seem to be coping so much better than me! My husband and I have asked my mother in law to move in for a while to give us all some support and to help out with my son, who is also struggling to come to terms with loosing his grandma. My mother in law is a lovely woman whom I am also very close too, so I’m really hoping it helps to have the support. I am struggling to cope with my sons grief as well as my own. If anyone had any advice on any of these matters I’d be so grateful. Bex

Dear Bexa
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My son died in an accident just over 5 months ago and at the beginning I suffered with anxiety and was very nervous to be with other people in places such as shops, I could only managed a few minutes and would then get quite panicky, this has got easier as time has gone on but I do think that anxiety is all part of the grieving process especially for you as the time span of your mums passing was very quick.
My other som has been suffering with a lot of anxiety and panic attacks over the past few weeks, this was brought on by his returning to uni and having to face his fellow students and tell them about his brother (he had already broken up from uni when his brother died) I took my son to the doctors and even though he had already had counselling the doctor has told us about a local place where you can refer yourself for cbt (cognitive behavioural therapy) He will go for 8 week, as long as he likes it, and hopefully they will help him find his own coping technics and only if this does not work at all will the doctor consider meds for him. Are you getting any counselling, maybe ask you doctor if they know of any berevment services in your area that could help you.
Do take care

Hi Bex

So sorry to read your message. I was in the same situation as you last year. My Mum was discovered to be terminally ill and just over six weeks later she passed away. Having only just come to terms with her being ill losing her so soon after was devastating. Like you I couldn’t sleep, still can’t annoyingly, and lost a great deal of weight.

Jan has mentioned cognitive therapy. It is worth going to see your Doctor, telling them how you are feeling and saying you are not keen on taking pills but could they refer you to a cognitive therapist. I have not used this myself but know others find it very good.

Having the support of your Mother in law is great and lovely if she can move in and help. Take the opportunity to have time for yourself. Even ten minutes a day just doing something you like, relaxing, listening to music or just thinking and helping yourself adjust to what has happened.

I found when I got really upset and weepy sucking a sweet helped. Not very healthy but the sweetness seemed to take my mind off things. Very useful in particular when I was travelling to or from work and felt overwhelmed.

Take care of yourself

Hello Bex A,
So sorry to hear about your loss, I personally have not experienced that,but remember each one of us grieve differently,Looking after your mum in the hospital and watch her go helpless is the hardest thing,so expect all kinds of grief and dont feel guilty because you were there when she needed you and that is the best thing you gave her,
My mum also looked after my sister till the end and has days when anything negative gets her anxious and she gets really angry,restless and can be like that all day, but i noticed when we talk about my sister we both cry and she lets it all out and then calms down, she did not have to sit and cry /grieve the first few days so i guess that could be one of the reasons.
Try canselling,sharing how you feel to your friends,try doing what you love (that helps because I did) and its theraputical.I love flowers so i started planting flowers,i always wanted to do sewing ,doing that now.it will help.
Keep strong your mum will be proud of you.Hugs to you.

Thank you for your lovely message, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Yes I am having counselling, which does really help. It’s just hard as it’s only once a week. I am
Starting to realise that the anxiety is very much part of my grief process and I’m working really hard not to be afraid of it. I do hope your son begins to heal too and can find some peace. My heart goes out to you both. Thank u again. X

Thank you Mel. I am seeing a counsellor, once a week. It does really help but I wish it could be a little more often. I go privately so it’s quite expensive. I’ve been looking into mindfulness courses though to maybe add to things. I am so sorry to hear about your loss, it’s so difficult when things happen so quickly and there isn’t any time to adjust to getting bad news before they are just gone. I lost my dad to cancer many years ago but we knew for 6 months, as awful as it was I think it somehow made things a little easier. I think now loosing both parents is also having a huge effect on me. Thank you so much for your words of comfort and for replying. X

Thank you so much for your reply, I am sorry for your loss. It’s just so hard isn’t it. I am having counselling it does seem to help, butcwaiting a whole week between each session is tough at times. I have been trying to focus on doing the things I love, which is good advice thank you. Sometimes we just need to reminders. These replies have been so lovely and helpful. Although it’s awful to hear other people are suffering it’s a comfort to know I am not alone or going insane with the feelings I am experiencing. Thank u again. X

Hi BexA

I am very sorry for your loss and I understand your situation as I am also feeling that way since my mum passed in January. I have been struggling since, feeling quite low and depressed, but since the end of August I am also experiencing quite a lot of anxiety and panick atatcks. At the beginning I thought that a bad experience at work triggered it but I am starting to realise that it is another symptom of my grief process. It is getting quite difficult to cope with and I feel it has started taking over my life, which is adding to the anxiety… as you said, catch 22.
I raised the issue with my gp and she also prescribed some antidepressants, which as you I was quite reluctant to take at the beginning. I tried SSRIs but they have so many side effects that I thought I was going crazy! so I stopped taking those.
I am now having some other different ones, mirtazapine, and the side effects are much more manageable and althought it is still early days (they take between 1 and 2 weeks to start having an effect on your mood) I hope that they will help to improve my modd and that will have a positive effect on my anxiety too.
I can only say that you should do whatever it feels good to you, whether it is therapy, counselling or taking meds, and just take one day at a time. That’s what I keep telling myself.
I hope you feel better soon and remember you are not alone in this
Maria X

Hi Bex.
Im so sorry for your loss. I lost my dad 5 months ago, and I too feel extreme anxiety on a daily basis. Little things set me off. Im in a vicious circle, where I have no motivation/energy to do anything, for instance cleaning my house, has become such a long winded difficult task, one I often start and then give up on, and then become anxious and suffer anxiety attacks because of the state my house is in. I have a mountain of washing - all clean, I just can’t even bring myself to put it away. Its crazy how much it can be affected. I also suffer from anxiety attacks when going to work. I took about 2 months off work when my dad passed away, and now I have returned, but getting myself ready and driving to work is such a difficult task.
I don’t know how it ever gets easier, people say it does… but I just can’t see it. Its literally liked my whole world has been turned upside down x

Hi Bex

So sorry to hear about the loss of your mum. I lost my mum in March she had been ill for a while so not such a shock as you had but still unexpected. I suffer from anxiety and I panic about being too far from home if I am alone. I think I find the grief of missing my mum so hard to bear I don’t like being alone away from home in case I feel too overwhelmed if that makes sense? I have suffered with anxiety most of my life but had been a lot better in the last 15 years or so but it all came flooding back when I lost my mum. Its good that your mother-in-law is helping and that you get on with her, and that your husband and family are supportive.
I find when I’m really struggling that reading books helps, there are lots on anxiety if you have a look on amazon. Ive also just read a very good book on grief I found that helped me abit its called “How to survive your grief when someone you love has died” by Susan.L.Fuller.

Take care and remember you are not alone.


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