Anxiety and Widowhood





Since George died, I’m much more anxious than I used to be. I’ve probably always had an anxiety disorder which, in the past, I’ve called “being anal retentive.”

When I was married, George took care of everything. And I liked it. Looking back, I‘d have liked to have had more friends and outside interests, but overall I was happy with our lives, from spending almost every evening together to the law degree I didn’t have to use because he supported me.

He was the one who calmed me down and told me things were going to be fine. And he was right, up until he started wasting away from cancer.

I’ve gotten better at a lot of stuff. I can do more things on my own and panic less when things go wrong. And yet…it doesn’t fix the anxiety (or loneliness) about the more solitary life I’ve landed in.

I’ve tried to work on gratitude. And the gratitude meter can be pretty high on a fresh new morning, but it swings to empty on evenings when I’m alone and anxious, wondering “is this my life now, how should I change it, what should I do?”

And maybe part of it is legitimate in that when we’re on our own, we have to do everything. So if the husband did home maintenance, now you get to do it all!  I’ve had days where I’ve dealt with house stuff and administrative stuff (Hello, Covered California!) and…now I’m tired…and anxious because I’m not getting much done… and I don’t like being alone at night and…etc.

But I’m also kind of ashamed of my anxiety.

I’m a privileged, middle-aged white chick living in suburbia. My late husband left me a house plus some financial resources. I should be fine and becoming more productive instead of becoming even more batshit crazy.

So, my fellow widows and divorced folk are you dealing with heightened anxiety on your own? How do you manage it?