Widows – Having Anxiety Attacks

As widows we become anxious when our brain responds to our fears by telling our body to prepare to “fight or flight”.

Symptoms are: sweating, heart palpitations, tremors, crying, feeling like we are having a heart attack or not being able to breathe.

This is common initially as we grieve because we feel that our lives are spinning out of control. We feel unsafe and sometimes fear the loss of others that we love. We read obituaries wondering who else we know that has died and a significant date always produces anxiety.

Their birthdays, anniversaries and holidays are especially difficult but anticipation of the day is often worse than the day itself.
We can ease our anxiety by making special plans for ourselves: get a massage, go to a movie or visit an old friend. The waves of pain will slow down and not last as long as we travel our journey and start to heal.

The closer we are to our loved ones the longer and more painful our grief is. But know that grief is not an event – it is a journey. We don’t “move on” and shouldn’t try to grieve on someone else’s schedule.

There are no rules, no time frame, patterns or schedules to follow while grieving. We all need to “move forward” over time, addressing our grief along the way.

  1. D
    | Reply

    I am no stranger to anxiety attacks. I’ve had them since the 1980’s. They usually “come out of the blue”. I can be driving a car, watching tv or just trying to fall asleep. I have medication, which helps. I do not take it when I drive.

    Since my husband passed 6 years ago, I get them more frequently. I have high blood pressure and have talked to my doctor about it.(Taking meds for that.)I have been to a mental health counselor. I really believe that this condition was inherited from my dear Mom.

    My husband used to say that I was a “professional worrier”. Quite funny actually.

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