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Dilemma: I've become too afraid to leave the house since becoming a widow

Jo Brand / 15 February 2017

A widowed reader has become too anxious to leave the house and is worried about spending her life as a prisoner.

Anxious woman
A reader has been too anxious to leave the house since the death of her husband

Dilemma: I'm too anxious to leave the house

I’ve always been quite an anxious person, but since my husband died I’ve felt it escalate and now find it difficult to leave the house, despite my daughter taking me shopping. 

I’m only 58 and don’t want to spend the rest of my life as a prisoner.

Jo Brand's advice

I’m sorry to hear this. It’s a horrible way to feel and affects your life so negatively. You don’t say how long ago your husband died, but I suspect a large part of your anxiety is related to your grief over his death and your fears for the future. 

I wonder if you had any bereavement counselling when your husband died. This is invaluable in allowing us to move on slowly and sanctions what many of us refuse to admit to ourselves, which is the degree of sadness we are trying to manage on our own.

It is estimated that around three million of us in this country suffer from anxiety, so GPs are very familiar with it. I suggest you start there: you will find several types of help available. A relative or friend jollying us along is not terribly effective. Many therapies take a gradual approach, so as not to overwhelm you.

It’s possible, with the grief subsiding a little each day, that your anxiety may diminish, but I would not wait. Seek help now and I think you will find it’s a real relief that someone understands what you are going through.

Good luck.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.