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Death of loved one, crying and symptoms

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I lost my brother in law of 41 years this week. He had had a heart transplant 9 years ago and was having problems the last couple of years..and especially the last couple of months...He and my sister were divorced but we still saw him on holidays and family get togethers. I have known him since I was 8.

This has hit us all TERRIBLY hard and I am not handling it well...the endless crying jags --in between normalcy and laughter and sharing--has WIPED ME OUT.

i was so bad at last night's visitation, I could NOT do the Catholic Mass this morning which my sister totally understood...I would rather be with the family this afternoon.

But WhAT IS IS about crying that makes us so ill? Is it because crying, sobbing and even wailing and blowing our noses, fighting back the tears and then giving in is like some form of the valsalva maneuver??? This is wiping me out more than the death of my father in 1990 before my POTS got so bad.

Just wondered if any others noticed this when in deep stages of grief...I just wonder what the breathing pattern of despair does to our bodies.

Thanks for any feed back.

P.S. The visitation was beautiful...photos of his life of 64 years everywhere...retired physician/surgeon and his kids played tapes of his Big Band in the background...he was a musician his entire life and wrote arrangements ....so we are celebrating his life but it's STILL HEARTBREAKING and my neice is taking it especially hard the loss of her dad...and her 3 brothers are being WONDERFUL..Tough on my sister even tho they have been divorced..I am stunned by the overwhelmness of it all...once three of the children and their spouses fly back home, it will get even sadder....

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I am so sorry to hear that your brother-in-law has died. I don't know much about the effects of crying and greiving on the autonomic nervous system, but I have cried a lot lately over my husband's cancer. I cry some every day. Big, hard, heart-wrenching crying surely wears me out. It's like first there is this big shuddering, wrenching outpouring of grief and then when it has come out tbere is complete tiredness.

I have had many more arythmias since Jeff's diagnosis.

I think in spite of having POTS, it is best to just let it all come out whenever and however it happens. I think it is healthiest that it come out instead of being held inside--that must surely have a negative effect, too. At least when it comes out, that much of it is out and then take the rest that follows.

Michigan Jan

who is learning more about grief than she ever wanted to know.

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Sophia -

i'm so sorry for your loss. the ANS can definitely be affected by emotions, so try to take care of yourself as best you can during this tough time.

some with NCS/fainting can even faint from crying or other high emotions. for me i tend to feel the strain more in the aftermath...for instance i'm pretty darn good symptom-wise during the really high stress/emotion time, be it an emergency-type crises or extreme tears or grief, but then i tend to "crash" soon after. as i'm sure you know, the ANS is at the crux of "fight or flight" and while the description tends toward an emergency/crisis type of trauma, emotional trauma can wreck the same havoc on one's body & cause the same stressors on the ANS. and yep, depending on what exactly is going on with the emotions, they could easily bring on a type of valsalva response too. it's not the magic answer, but do your best to stay super hydrated & salted too as those tears will add up in terms of hydration. i had a teary day yesterday for various reasons & could feel it big time at the end of the day.

hang in there. my thoughts & prayers are with you & your family.

love & hugs,


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Guest Julia59


Hang in there. I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your brother in law.

Crying a lot will wipe you out a lot. When my Best friend and my Aunt who was like a mother to me died only four months apart it was a hard time for me---especially after just having surgery on my neck just a few months before that.

I tend to get a delayed reaction. Just when I make it through the rough time thinking i'm going to beat the POTS crash----i'll suddenly find myself crashing hard weeks or months after the event----whatever it may be, --i.e.--> a death in the family or of a friend, or some other terrible stressful event. I'm always shocked when it happens---as I thought I made it through OK, then BANG---here it is.

I think that my body goes into survival mode to get me through the stressful event, then when my guard is down----I CRASH.

You need to be especially careful during this time---and take very good care of yourself so you can avoid falling into a pots hole. I tend to feel better after I cry actually. But sometimes a headache---or the pressure from crying can make me lightheaded. It's the stress in general that is rough.

Loads of blessings to you. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Julie :0)

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this is the second time i have started a response to you...so this time i'm determined not to get interrupted! i also have had you on my mind b/c of your previous post about moving out of the apt. with your mother.

i think that given all that you have been through in the past few months with the move and now the death of someone you loved so much...would do anyone in!

but, as for crying, it does me in too. even just watching a sad movie...i can't do it unless i am doing sort of okay (which is not at all lately). i also have problems with laughing really hard. it's horrible b/c i feel like i am constantly having to 'hold myself back' with my emotions. still, holding it in doesn't help too much either! it's a catch 22 sometimes.

i wanted to let you know that i was thinking about you a lot lately...and meant to reply to your earlier post too and just am not keeping up so well with posting. i am very sorry about your brother-in-law. i also wanted you to know that i think you were very brave to get yourself out of the situation with your mother. i hope that in the long run it will take some weight off of you both physically and emotionally. when i feel 'trapped' in that way, i feel like i am suffocating and i find that i forget to breathe. (not meaning that to say i have walked in your shoes...sorry if it came off that way...)

in the end, if i'm super sad about something, crying makes me feel worse, but it also is better than holding it in for me.



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thanks to all who chose to respond...i appreciate your kind words and things contiinue to be most difficult for all...tho the love and support of the siblings to each other and to others, espcially their aunt (fathers sister) amidst it all impresses me endlessly. Great kids. And the aunt and her kids have taken WONDERFUL care of my sisters grown kids...feeding them, cooking for them, taking them to the funeral home and allowing THEM to make ALL the decisions...after viewng the musical montage of photos and videos my nephew put together on their father, they honored their cousins and their aunt with a beautiful sepia toned photo of their father dressed in tuxedo and playing a piano in a Big band job he let at his son's wedding...I am not making since but it was all amazing...we had just seen the job on video and they put a copy in silver frames for all.

but we all know that tough days are still ahead.

fyi, I also have problems with laughter or too much talking but the out and out SOBBING as opposed to gentle crying is exhausting.

Emily, thanks for acknowledging what I have been thru the last few months. It's been an INCREDIBLE challenge and my mom has been too weak and taken to her bed to be part of this deal with my brother in law. She loved him greatly but sadly, can't deal with her pain and just takes to her bed...neighbors are looking in on her and I am choosing to stay away and not even call until she calls me. I need to deal with my own grief. thanks again.

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I'm behind in reading/responding to posts so I apologize this is late but still wanted to acknowledge what you are going through.

I am sorry for your loss. Try to be gentle with yourself during this difficult time. Crying definately takes a lot out of you. Be sure to drink extra water; a lot of people don't realize how dehyrated you can get from crying (especially since we tend not to retain fluids well anyway). You may still get a headache from crying but sometimes the extra fluids will greatly reduce the headache.

I tend to have an autonomic storm any time I'm in a setting where the emotions are high, whether it's a happy occasion or a sad one. Sometimes it hits me in the middle of things and sometimes it's the next day.

I do think sometimes in stressful situations our breathing patterns change and that can induce an episode or make other things set the cycle off.

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Hi Sophia, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts are with you. As far as fatique an emotions go...we release hormones with different emotions. I think OUr body is extra sensitive to this and we do not regulate these hormonal surges well. I know the ANS is a mind body connection. They are finding such a mind body connection with any health problems. Not meaning that our illness is caused by the mind. But I think when we feel intense emotions it really affects us physialogically sp? and this affects how we feel.

Take care of yourself!


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so sorry to hear about your loss sophia, i know how hard it is just having to deal with all the physical stuff from POTS, i just dread that anything sad will happen in my family because i feel totally unable to deal with any stress, get over emotional very fast and anxious very easily so i cant imagine having to deal with a death on top of being sick, unfortunately life doesnt stop around us just because we are sick! i'm sure you are doing the best you can under the circumstances, and i hope you dont suffer too much physically from the emotional stress,


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Dear Sophia,

Just wanted to say I was sorry to hear about the loss of your brother-in-law and I am thinking of you and your family.

I also get really exhausted from crying and my eyes become really painful to the extent that I get very worried about the vulnerability of my eyes. My eyes feel so terribly bruised and painful.

I don't know why this is, but it must be that the whole process, albeit good for letting our emotions out, exhausts us completely.

I lost my uncle in February, and the exhaustion lasted for a few months.

Take care of yourself, and know that we are all thinking of you.



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thanks again for the replies....I am JUST NOW starting to bounce back...after the get together after the funeral on saturday and hanging out all Saturday evening with the family...Sunday I was TOTALLY WIPED OUT and on Monday I also woke up with that terrible, groggy, out of it feeling....finally was able to get out of the house today for a bit...and went down to have dinner with family members still in town.

This stuff STINKS but there is no easy way for any of us...and I CERTAINLY haven't been holding back the tears.....but better composure today finally.

I appreciate all who responded with remarks about the crying and fatigue.

My sister who is a healthy massage therapist had a few clients yesterday but canceled today and tomorrow. She really can't afford to do this but just HAD TO to get some rest so she is really mentally/physically zapped as well....so kind of nice to know it isn't just me. Course I am always super fatigued but some of you semi housebound know what I mean! I even made a new chocolate cake recipe yesterday!! FATTENING and it called for buttermilk. But I made a sheet cake instead of a layer cake so it was a low energy deal and I sat on a barstool to make it and the frosting. Would share a piece with all of you if I could! :(

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