Anxiety - too scared to sleep for fear of dieing after losing loved one

Hey. This is my first time posting on here & I apologise that this post is quite long, I also apologise for any spelling mistakes it's 5.23am and I have had no sleep, hopefully I'm with it enough to make sense 😉

Obviously this is an anxiety forum, and this post is about what I'm experiencing at the moment so I'm going to start right at the beginning so you can get the bigger picture. Bear with me ☺

I have always had anxiety, it started when I was a child, nothing major, but I had the occasional panic attack. The fear of losing a loved one has always been my main trigger when it comes to anxiety. My mum used to work nights a few days a week when I was younger and we had a babysitter, on them nights I always had the same dream that my mum had a car crash and been killed. I always woke up and had a panic attack.

As I got older, secondary school sort of age. my anxiety got worse, I started having more panic attacks. They started coming out of nowhere even when I didn't feel anxious. My mum and dad split up when I was younger and I lived with my mum but spent weekends and holidays at my dad's, he had social anxiety as a teenager & he understood me, if I had a panic attack the first thing I would do was ring my dad and he would talk me through it and calm me down. He was the one person I could really talk to about it and I wouldn't feel like he was thinking i was a freak because that's what I felt like and I was sure other people thought it but not dad. Anxiety aside me and my dad were extremely close, I was a daddy's girl and he was a family man, he would do anything for his family and he supported me through all of life's ups and downs he looked after Me when I was diagnosed with crohns disease and arthritis in my knees. He was my best friend!

When I'd grown up and moved into my own place with my partner of 8 years and had children of my own my dad adored them. He used to pop round most evenings too see us he couldnt drive so he cycled 9 miles too see us, he always bought a little treat for the kids they adored him. I spoke to him numerous times a day on the phone as well. We shared everything .

On February 8th 2016 my dad popped round in the evening, he didn't stop long he had a chest infection and wasn't feeling too good. I told him off and said he shouldn't be out if he was ill he shrugged it off and said he was fine. Before I went to bed I rang him to say night we had a little chat and then he said "night night sweet dreams God bless love you" as he did every night and that was it I went to bed.

Next day I tried to contact my dad about lunch time but I didn't get an answer, it wasn't unusual he was not a morning person and often slept in til past midday. I tried again several times through out the day, his house phone and mobile were just ringing and ringing I started getting concerned about 6 o'clock and got hold of one of his neighbours and asked if they could give him a knock, which they did but there no answer they said maybe he had gone out? But I had already rang round the whole family and no one had seen him. My partner decided to pick up one of my dad's mate's and go to his flat we were very concerned by that time. I thought he might have been really poorly from his chest infection and in need of a doctor. I stayed at home with the kids whilst he went and the last thing I said to him was I no how stubborn he is if he needs a doctor take him to hospital even if you have to bloody carry him.

I rang my partner about half an hour later too see if my dad was at home and if he was OK. I did not expect what came next. My partner said he and my dad's mate had got to his flat and all the lights were off and there was no answer, my partner said he stepped backed and noticed through the key hole that the key was in the door on the inside, the door was locked from the inside the flat was on the top floor there was no back way out he had to be in there. My partner didn't hesitate and kicked his door through.

After they got into the flat they found that my dad was still in bed but he wasn't sleeping he was gone. He was only 46 and he was dead I was devastated absolutely traumatised to be honest I can't remember much about the days after I can't really remember his funeral either mum said I didn't cry I didn't eat I didn't sleep i was just a mess. I cried at the funeral and I didn't think I was ever going to be able to stop.he had died from a blocked artery which stopped his heart.

Ever since that night I have not had a full nights sleep I am petrefied of not waking up. I'm having a couple of hours of sleep a night some nights I don't sleep at all I will wait until it starts getting light and then i will fall asleep i don't know why but I just feel safer. by the time it gets light it's 5.30 I have to get kids up for school at 7 so I'm literally like a zombie. Because I don't sleep much at night I tend to lie down when the kids are at school trying to summon up some energy for when the kids gets home (I don't let them see there's anything wrong) but I panic about lying down cos I think Im not getting enough exercise and that I will have a heart attack because of it. I also panic about the pain killers I'm on because it's not good to be on painkillers long term and I worry they are doing me bad damage.I've got to take them for the arthritis in my knees without them I can only walk a few steps before the pain gets to much. Occasionally I will have an energy drink or 2 because coffee doesn't really give me a boost the same as energy drink then I panic that I will have a heart attack from drinking them. It's never ending I'm living in a circle of fear. Ive been to the hospital and had ecgs and blood tests etc a few times and all results came back OK... was told it's anxiety causing the physical symptoms ..chest pain dizziness etc not my heart and it's all in my head. I know that I just want it to stop! I went to the doctor and he prescribed me sertraline unfortunately they made my anxiety worse which is apparently normal when you first start taking them so he gave me some diazepam to control the anxiety until the other tablets take effect and it seems to be sort of working during the day but not at night time. As soon as my head touches that pillow it starts and as soon as I drift off I jolt awake in panic! I don't know what I can do. I'm at my wits end I'm 24 and I seriously feel like I might be losing my mind. Is there any body else who has experienced this ?? Or am I going mad ..

I'm sorry for the long post. I just wanted to get it all in there. I hope you don't mind. Bxxx

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7 Replies

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  • I think when we loose someone so dearly close to us that happens because it happen so sudden then the focus is will it happen to me we start obssesing with docs checking everything on us doing things that can accelerate the heart...or even if we have family friends with certain sickness we can even think we might get something like that ...Thats how we build health anxiety

  • After my son very premature and passed away and went to the lord I always had all kinds of thinking like that i still have lots of trigger am just praying for healing in that set of my mind cuz in the end I want to have peace in those thoughts.

  • Thank you for yr reply! I think you are right , sometimes I feel like I'm going mad with all the worry. Hopefully the medication I've been given will kick in soon and do its job then onwards and upwards I hope! I am so very sorry too hear about yr son. I can't imagine how you must feel, losing my dad broke me but if I lost a child I don't know what I'd do, you are a strong lady and I hope you find peace in yr thoughts you definitely deserve it! Take care xxx

  • It's hard but prayer has help me threw all the pains and anxiety issues....

  • Hi Beth, first of all I'm so sorry about what happened to your dad it sounded like it was truly a traumatising event and I can't imagine going through something like this it was so nice you had a really nice chat before hand though. No words can make something so heartbreaking better but you're in my thoughts and I'm sure your dad is SO proud of you.

    With your anxiety it sounds like you're developing health anxiety which a lot of us have, yours was brought out by your fathers death, but the good thing is you've had all the tests done which is the key too all of this. It's definitely not easy but it's about retraining your brain. Whenever you get a scary symptom with your heart you have to tell yourself "I'm fine I've had all the tests to confirm this I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine" and you said your medicine is working in the day time which is a good indication that it must be anxiety. I also get the jolt awake in panic feeling too, I think it's because even at rest our body is still in panic mode.. as I said this will take a while for your body to calm down but you have to let it calm down. I would advise to stay away from energy drinks and caffeine because it does not help at all. Good luck and I wish you all the best

  • Also I would suggest to ask your doctor in referring to a therapist rather than just numbing the feeling I think you should deal with the root of your anxiety

  • hi I'm kinda like that since my son died in 2000.i stayed single till 2010 as I never thought I could be a parent again.ive now got two other sons and my anxiety is always off the scale.someone told me it was the worst they had seen.so much so I couldn't bring myself to do school runs or go to the park.my sons teacher actually thought I was my sons granddad and that made me feel terrible.every time I heard an ambulance I thought my sons had an accident and even when I was volunteering I kept thinking if they were ok.everynight when I try to sleep I envisage accidents happening and I have to stay awake and just gradually dose off.

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