When we lose someone that we are close to, it of course leaves us grieving. It can also remind us of our own health and mortality. This can turn into health anxiety, which is worrying too much about whether you are seriously ill or are going to become seriously ill. It can affect your day-to-day life.
I don't have health anxiety for myself, but I do worry about other people. I've always catastrophised when someone doesn't answer the phone, or is late, or has a symptom, but it's got worse since Tim's sudden death.
Early one morning my current partner fell down the stairs. I got her to her feet, and she fainted, slithered through my arms and slumped against the wall. She started making guttural noises, much like Tim did just as his heart stopped. I was shouting at her but couldn't rouse her. I was convinced that she was going to die, and I was mentally rehearsing the 999 call and CPR. Before I could get to my phone, she came round with no awareness that she had passed out, and no aftereffects other than a painful ankle. Once I knew that she was okay, I did the only rational thing and burst into tears. The incident left me with flashbacks for a couple of days.
Dealing with health anxiety
Look after yourself
Bereavement can also make us care less about our own health, and stop looking after ourselves. This is your reminder that you matter, you are important, and that you need to be kind to yourself and take care of yourself. If you are worried that you are ill, call 111 or talk to your doctor.
I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.