Bereaved spouses and partners

A place for widows and widowers to share their feelings and support one another.

Feeling Run Down

Posted by

Hi everyone.

I just want to find out if any of you are feeling like this or in a similar way.

I feel quite run down. I don't sleep too well. I have no problem getting to sleep but wake during the night and wake up early and am quite unsettled. It is not that I am lying awake for long stretches of time, but I wake up frequently. When I get up in the morning I know that even if I was in bed long enough I didn't get a restful sleep. I feel a little bit weak most days, just not in my full strength, and yet when I go for a walk or carry my shopping home or whatever I feel fit enough to do so, so it doesn't seem to be too bad, but it just strikes me that I haven't felt bright and awake and physically strong for a long time. This week I have been having toothache and I am going to see my dentist tomorrow. I also have lower back pain - a bit as if I had UTI but I know it is just tension in my back. My shoulders and neck are quite tense. And I often feel very dry even though I am having a lot of fluids I think. My iron level was low a couple of weeks ago and my doctor put me on Galfer and I have also started taking Floridex.

I guess what I am saying is that I just don't feel one hundred percent. And I am guessing that this is just part of the grief. But, partly because I want to reassure myself, I wanted to bring it up here.

Love to all, Mel.

Posted by

Yes I feel very similar to what you have described. Since my husband died until very recently my body ached, particularly my back. I am only in my early forties but felt like an old lady. I also still feel totally exhausted and lack motivation. I went to the doctor and had blood tests that were clear. I work full time and it really takes it toll and I have little energy to do anything else. The aches felt like flu symptoms but for months, this has recently subsided.

I have no trouble getting to sleep and manage to sleep for a few hours and then I wake up and am very restless for the rest of the night. When I say how tired and exhausted I feel people don't seem to understand that it's a physical symptom of the grief. I would say grief has really affected my physically and reading your post has helped me realise it's not just me. I also wonder if I will ever feel motivated and energetic again as I have felt lethargic for so long!

Like you I go to bed at a reasonable time but don't feel like I have had a good nights sleep with keep waking up in the night. I also can identify with the aching body, particularly in the lower back. I think you are right that it is all tension. Thank you so much for your post, unfortunately I don't have any suggestions to make it better. I'm just hoping time will help.

Posted by

Hello Mel,

Just wanted to say that you have described exactly how I have been feeling. I am permanently exhausted from night after night of disturbed sleep - like you, I manage to fall asleep quite easily but then wake up several times a night. I often wake up about 4 am and then don't get back to sleep as my mind starts churning everything over.  I have tried to build in a bit more exercise to my week, I go swimming, do a lot more walking and am trying a couple of exercise classes at the local gym. It hasn't really helped my sleep problems but I don't feel quite so wracked with tension in my muscles. I find a neck and shoulder massage is helpful too but it is quite expensive to have on a regular basis.

I had hoped after 9 months some of these physical problems would start to lessen but I guess I am being too optimistic. Grief has so many sides to it and it certainly takes its toll.

Ann x

Posted by

Hi everyone,

It sounds like we're all going through similar things!

My husband died 11 months ago, and all in all, I don't think I'm doing too badly, but like you're all saying, don't feel up to full strength.

I've lost nearly a stone and despite eating well, can't put the weight back on. I've had blood tests and they've all come back fine. I have high cholesterol, genetic not really diet related, but that's improved and my blood pressure is better than it's ever been! I should feel so healthy!

I regularly feel as though I'm getting a cold, and have often had toothache, but no problems when I've been to the dentist!

I think that what we don't take into consideration is that we all have far more to do now, so it's no wonder we're tired. People think you'll have time on your hands if you're retired/not working and widowed, but actually I have less time now as everything's down to me now. And also, I think it tires you just realising that this will always be the case. It is quite overwhelming at times.

Perhaps we're all expecting too much of ourselves?

Posted by

Hi everyone

12 months since my husband Paul died & I too feel quite run down, like most of you I haven't had a full night's sleep, sometimes it takes me a while to drift off, other times I fall asleep ok but wake about 3am & then can't get back to sleep for all the thoughts going round in my head.

I feel weary all the time, keep feeling like I'm coming down with something & just generally not feeling 100%. I've recently started with a 'discomfort' just under my left rib through to my back, can't decide if it's my back hurting or pain in my left kidney, I saw my gp on Tuesday & ended up breaking down explaining about my husband dying 12 months ago just 2 weeks after being diagnosed with secondary liver cancer, I told her how worried I was for my own health & even asked her if she thought maybe my feeling poorly was related, she was lovely & took the time to listen to me, she examined me & couldn't find anything to 'red flag' my symptoms, she referred me for an ultrasound scan & blood tests which I had yesterday, I should have the results back in a week, my gp has told me to go back & see her even if the tests come back negative, I'm so glad I went as she put my mind at rest, I very nearly cancelled my appt. but as my daughter pointed out we keep saying how we wished that Paul had gone to the doctor's much sooner & maybe he would have had a better chance at surviving.

I'm now reading all the other posts and now wondering if it is the grief.

I agree with Northernlass about the fact that we're doing double the amount of things, looking after the house, garden, bills etc. I hadn't thought about that before, some days I don't even know where the time goes.

I've even started taking myself off for a walk every day to try and help with the sleep & attend a yoga class weekly to help with my mental health.

Posted by

Hi everyone.

Thank you all so much for your replies. It is so good to know that others are feeling the same way. I am somebody who can get quite worried about physical symptoms, immediately thinking there may be something wrong, so it is good to know that everything I have been experiencing for the past while is being experienced by others who are in the same situation.

It certainly gets worse with me at the moment. Sometimes my back is so sore when I go to bed at night that I think I could have a UTI. I am becoming more and more aware of how tense my whole body is, even my legs, and even when I am in bed at night. Like this morning I woke up at 6.00 and couldn't go back to sleep and I felt like my whole body was tensing up for no reason. The thing is: I am not even thinking of Paul much in those situations, I am far too busy coping with my discomfort.

When Paul was still here and I felt discomfort in any way or was ill, I always took so much comfort from his presence, it was so good not to be on my own, and he would sometimes remind me that maybe >I should just not take it too seriously for a little while, which, in most cases, was true because whatever symptoms I had would subside after a while. But now I have noone to talk to about this. I am alone with my feelings.

Sleeping tablets are a problem too. I am taking 1 tablet of Zimovane per night. But recently and with all my discomfort and particularly the tootache I had to go up to one and a half tablets. That of course will leave me with no tablets for the end of the month and I will be in Malaisia to visit my brother at the time. All I am hoping now is that I can get sleeping tablets there either from a doctor or over the counter if they do that there. I am not going to try and sleep without the tablets. The experience of that is too horrible.

Sorry for the long message.

Love, Mel.

Posted by

Although I don't like to think of others going through the same as me it is comforting to know I am not awake on my own in the middle of the night.

I sometimes struggle getting to sleep too and frequently have vivid dreams that I remember in detail because I wake so much in the night.  I feel like I have been tortured by the time the morning arrives!!

Some tips I have been given that I want to share in case any of them help you.  The ones I have found helpful are:

  • Joining a yoga and relaxation class - this has helped me relax so much and I actually find myself looking forward to something instead of dreading each day.
  • Sleeping on the opposite side of the bed to the side you used to sleep on when your partner was with you.
  • Putting a pillow lengthways beside you - believe it or not this one really has helped me - just having something there raises the pressure of the duvet and you can snuggle up to the pillow and you feel less alone. 
  • Lavender sprayed on your own pillow (you can buy ready made sprays just for this purpose.

Love Jane xx


Posted by

I am feeling same antibiotics today for uti low back pain tension in neck and jaw.i have got rhematoid arthritis but since husband died 8 months ago feel 58 but feel 98 at the moment.i think it.s anxiety and tension,I have been getting dizzy spells also.which make me feel more anxious.i am going to try some breathing exercises see if that helps.could do with a few days at a spa.(if only)

Posted by

Hi Jane.

Thank you for sharing your tips.

As for Lavender, yes, I put doTERRA Lavender essential oil on the soles of my feet and back every evening before going to bed. It used to help me very well when Paul was still here. But now it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. I haven't tried putting it on the pillow yet, though.

As for the pillow beside me, I am not doing that but I put the duvet so close to my back that it feels like Paul is lying there and keeping me warm. Again, I haven't found that very helpful, just comforting.

As for yoga and relaxation, yes, I must find and join a group. I haven't been feeling up to it until now but I can see now that I really need to do something. Why not start with that?

There was one more thing you said I think and I can't remember it now... That's another thing: I keep forgetting things.

Last night I took two Nurofen Plus tablets for the toothache and did a sleep meditation from Youtube and I slept for 9 hours. When I woke up I knew it had been a very deep sleep. Even the tension in my muscles was gone. However, this evening I started to feel it again along with the weakness. I am so fed up feeling like this.

Love, Mel.

Posted by

Just like you SunnySky - 58 feeling more like 98! I have osteoarthritis. Before my husband got ill I had a determined drive to lose weight and exercise and did both, getting rid of 4.5 stone and going to the gym regularly. It made a difference for sure, I could walk much further and climb the stairs without effort - he was so proud of me. I've kept the weight off but my hip hurts at night and my knee is stiff. Or is it just because I feel the slightest pain more acutely now because of grief? I suspect I do. Best wishes to you. 

Posted by

Well done for weight loss.I think we do feel more pain with grief.tense muscles etc.and different pains come along and I think what have I got now and end up googling symptoms.I Don.t know about you but I worry more about my health now after what my husband went through.when he was back and forth to docs for nearly 3 years with pains in back and legs and they couldn.t find anything wrong.until psa test.and when you are on your own you have more time to think.anyway take care. 

Posted by

Yes, I do worry more about my health now than when Paul was alive, but not because I think that I may have an illness and what that may mean, but because I am so so afraid of being sick when I am on my own. I cannot imagine being sick when Paul isn't around to help me through it.