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Anyone else lost a spouse (death)? Grief symptoms similar to CFS

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by hollie9, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. hollie9

    hollie9

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    My husband died unexpectedly 6 months ago. I did not expect grief to be so complex and debilitating. I'm finding cognitive difficulties, inability to focus, fatigue...besides sadness and crying to be typical grief symptoms according to my widow support group. Plus there are no more routines and I find myself unable to pace like I could before my husband passed.

    Has anyone else here lost a spouse? My widow support group doesn't understand my ME/CFIDS/CFS, and would love to find someone here who can relate. There seems to be so many crossover symptoms and what the heck is the stress doing to me?

    Hollie
     
  2. camas

    camas Senior Member

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    Hollie,

    I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I suddenly lost my husband four years ago to an aggressive lymphoma. I experienced all the symptoms you mentioned and also felt there was a lot of overlap between grief and CFS. The emotional pain was so overwhelming and my heart hurt so bad that at times I really questioned whether I would survive it all.

    I'm here if you want to talk, or feel free to PM me if you'd like.
     
  3. Nielk

    Nielk

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    hi Hollie,

    I'm so sorry for the grief you are going through!
    It's debilitating to lose a spouse but, being ill yourself is doubly hard.

    it's hard to re-organize your life especially when you are suffering so much.

    Even though I did not experience losing a spouse (thank God), I do ave experience with grief.
    Losing parents at a young age and losing two children.
    It's devastating and I know that people will tell you that time heals all wounds.
    It's true that time heals but you have to accept a new reality.

    I wish you strength from the bottom of my heart.:hug:
     
  4. LaurelW

    LaurelW Senior Member

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    Hollie,

    I'm so sorry. I lost my husband five years ago to kidney cancer. It definitely exacerbated my symptoms for quite a while. And he was the one who took care of me, so that made it even worse. My heart goes out to you.
    :hug::hug:
     
  5. caledonia

    caledonia

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    Hi, I'm very sorry to hear you have lost your husband. I've lost both my parents over the past few years. My shrink says losing a spouse is like having an arm cut off.

    The grief/stress/depression will impact your adrenals, which could already be wiped out due to the CFS. So you can try adrenal support/supplementation. I started adrenal cortex extract right after my dad's funeral and it had significant de-stressing benefits within 15 minutes! My naturopath said I wouldn't be able to notice anything for a month.

    EFT (emotional freedom technique) is an excellent energy technique which will help process grief, trauma, etc. quickly. It's free to learn eftuniverse.com. I was able to process the worst of my mom's death in about 6 months as opposed to the expected year. (It doesn't mean I don't love her any less). Everyone is on their own schedule.

    In general, you should be very gentle and nurturing with yourself during this time. Don't expect too much out of yourself, don't make any major decisions if you can help it. I hereby give you permission to be foggy, have trouble with pacing, (which is an art anyway, not a science), etc. etc. etc.
     
  6. hollie9

    hollie9

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    Thanks for your replies, it's comforting to know I'm not alone and that others have noticed the similarity of symptoms from grief and CFS.

    I guess I just muddle through, although the people in my widow support group muddle through this grief for years and years.

    Yes, my heart hurts. I'm definitely much worse fatigue, cognitively and focus and motivation wise. I wish there was something I could do to fix this, but apparently not.

    I also need to move before long and getting that organized is really tough...organizing and purging my "stuff" seems nearly impossible.

    Thanks again for your empathy and good wishes...this is really tough.

    Hollie
     
  7. camas

    camas Senior Member

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    It is tough Hollie. I'm so sorry you are going through this.

    For me the first year was definitely the hardest, but the grief did ease over time. I think in some odd way the shock and numbness of it were somewhat protective and saved me from experiencing a complete relapse. I hope it will be the same for you.
     
  8. KC22

    KC22 Senior Member

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    Hollie,

    I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. I just lost my husband this July. He drowned while night fishing. We believe his heart was involved in the accident.

    It is overwhelming at times. Fatigue and sadness are all part of it. It is hard for me to tell if my extreme symptoms are due to the grief or the normal cfs symptoms. I just got my labs back from Dr. Lerner and EBV, CMV and mycoplasma were all much higher so I took a hit physically as well.

    I try to live one day at a time. Some days are filled with a lot of crying and other days not. As someone above stated, we have to accept our new norm. I was married 34 years and never lived alone, so there is a lot of adjustment.

    Do you have friends and family around? That does help some for me. What is hard is the alone time. I can't handle a lot of visitors, but then I don't want to be alone all of the time. It is a balancing act.

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers as I do know how you are feeling at this moment.

    Everyone tells me time heals and I believe it will lessen the pain. I am going on 4 months and I keep thinking it will be better in a year. Dr. Lerner says 1-2 years and that my health may go down, too
     
  9. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    I just have to say that I am so very sorry.
     
  10. hollie9

    hollie9

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    KC...Hearing about your husband made me cry. I am 3 months ahead of you since my husband died unexpectedly in May, one minute sitting on the sofa talking to me, I go to change my clothes and when I came out he was dead, either heart attack or stroke, massive. He wasn't sick or anything.

    The first few months shock helped protect me from too much pain. Now, at 6 months I'm doing worse than I was at the beginning, crying more, spending days in bed. I thought I would gradually be getting over this, but not so. This is so disappointing.

    And the mind games trying to figure out what symptoms are from CFS and which are from grief, has got me very disoriented. I was doing regular exercise and spending lots of time with friends, was OK being alone too...all of a sudden that has become too hard. And I'm taking anti-depressants!

    There is a much greater balancing act when one is a widow with CFIDS, I agree. I am past the point of initial visits by concerned people, I have friends I do quite a bit with, but can only do so much with CFIDS.

    Interesting what Dr. Lerner said about 1-2 years and health going down. No wonder I'm like this.

    And Camas, I'm sorry about your loss too. The shock and numbness got me through the first 6 months doing pretty well, but all of a sudden the blinders have fallen off.

    Anyway, my initial intention in this post was to see if anyone else here had discovered that grief symptoms and CFIDS symptoms are quite similar. I guess this intensifies the shared fatigue and congnitive problems.

    I feel so bad for not comforting widows more in the past, I had no idea what this process entailed.

    Hollie
     
  11. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    So sorry for your lose Hollie.

    I lose my brother almost 4 years ago now, he was 39, I passed that age this year. He was a quadraplegic and he was in a lot of pain, unfortunately I learned what this is really like last fall when I had a Major flare up of my Fibromyalgia. He OD, I believe, I do not blame him for potentially living recklessly, not much of a life, and unless you have lived with major pain and chronic pain, you have no idea what it is like! I had seen him a short time before he died, and I thought he looked really bad, and I told one of my siblings that I doubted he would make it to 40! He had been in this situation for nearly 20 years, he did not get much in Social Security, he was very poor but always trying to make an extra buck. He was very Entrepreneurial and my inspiration when I went to college, I thought if he could deal with his life, then I could push myself thru school!

    I was a mess at his funeral and my GF grandmother had passed away around the same time, so I was very emotional at her services also.

    Also, my condolences to everyone else who has lost someone they love.
     
  12. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    So many people here can empathize with loss. I too have gone through it with loss of very important people in my life...and there have been many. Last time it was several losses back to back starting with my kids car wreck...my 14 year old son died immediately and my daughter sustained a severe traumatic brain injury. This alone was too much....but there were more soon after. It was 6 months before it all began to hit me too.

    To me grief is very different than other emotions....it would come up in waves and many times out of the blue and just floor me. That still happens, just less often now. It is so very traumatic because it's connected to the deepest and most important aspect of life....Love. And that is part of how I accept the pain.

    Hollie, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I'm really glad your involved in a loss support group and that your concerned about how the grief is affecting your illness. I believe that level of grief will affect our illness and that our best chances of minimizing that is to get all the help we can. Lean on your support and be good to you. I'm here too if you ever want to chat, public or private.
     
  13. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Hi Hollie,

    I am so sorry. I too know grief and how the symptoms can cross over with CFS. I have had two major and long term flare ups over many years of CFS and both followed several deaths in the family. The latest was the loss of first my sister-in-law and 6 months later, her husband, my brother. He was the last of my family. I can trace the beginning of the last 6 year relapse to the stress and grief of their deaths and the pushing, pushing, pushing to get through all the legal work, sorting, packing moving etc.

    Please don't move soon if you can avoid it. And as others have said just do things that are kind and comforting for yourself. You not only have this devastating grief but a major chronic illness that is worsened by stress and overwork.

    I just managed to move out of the home I inherited from my brother and even this many years later, it was extremely hard physically and mentally and a health setback both for myself and the other CFS patient who helped me. If you can, sit tight for a while and do whatever you can to relax and have understanding fellowship.

    Very, very best wishes...and yes, this is a very large and compassionate community who does understand.

    Sushi
     
  14. KC22

    KC22 Senior Member

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    Hollie,

    My heart goes out to you. I can't imagine finding my husband. This was pretty shocking, but in a way I am glad I didn't find him in the garage working or something.

    I had read somewhere where they say at the 6-8 month range, it gets worse. I don't know because I am not there yet. Maybe others can offer some insight into that.

    I feel connected to you even though I don't know you, as we know each others pain, as the many others who have shared their stories. I agree, we will have more compassion to the widows in the world, as we now know what they have gone through.

    I hope you have a peaceful day today.
     
  15. camas

    camas Senior Member

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    KC22 and Hollie,

    My heart goes out to both of you since your losses were so sudden and are still so recent. I did find the six month to one year range to be the hardest. Trying to get through the holidays and losing my father-in-law at nine months out put me underwater again.

    Since I couldn't get out of the house to attend a support group, I used to read a lot at ywbb.org and found it helpful to see what others were experiencing at the different stages of grief. It helped me prepare a bit for what was to come.

    I also had absolutely no idea of what widows went through either, so I'm trying to be there for my elderly aunts who are now losing their husbands one by one. (Darned men)

    Hugs to everyone on this thread...
     
  16. hollie9

    hollie9

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    Thanks for all the kind thoughts and good information. I'm glad to hear there is a timeline...6-12 months being the hardest. I was hoping I would bounce back to my more optimistic self today, but I just don't feel like doing anything or seeing anybody, not even talking on the phone. Not because of a relapse but mental sadness and hopefully working through grief.

    And Sushi, I take your point on not moving but I may be forced to do it before long. I will hang on here as long as I can. I do have a tendency to push, push, push and I should tamp that down.

    Your comments have driven home that I do have an illness that can be way worsened by this so I'll have to be careful. I don't have a CFS doctor, so it's helpful to hear what good docs have to say and how your illness has fared with grief in the mix.

    I've been so moved by all of your stories of loss, please know I feel your pain and am so very empathetic.

    Hollie
     
  17. hollie9

    hollie9

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    I'm feeling quite a bit better today. I guess you just have to let the waves of grief (like Cloud said) wash over you and eventually they let up for awhile. My grief rest seemed to be good for my CFS, I have more energy today.

    Hollie
     

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