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To Sam

my paranoia is taking over my life

Hi sam, I'm 13 and 2 years ago i lost my father in a sudden road collision. Ever since, i have been extremely paranoid that someone else i love is going to die too or i will die (my parents were not divorced and I have 2 older sisters.) I have developed an irrational fear of roads and heights and not being able to sleep without being able to see the door. If someone in my family gets home late, i start to panic and this ends in feeling a difficulty to breathe but I really can breathe easily. I don't know what to do anymore, because it's starting to take over my life. If someone doesn't pick up the phone or answer my texts right away, I start to panic and again the breathing thing. Is this normal after losing someone very close to you so suddenly?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Losing someone very suddenly can be traumatic - and the emotional impact it has on those around that person can last for a long time. Sometimes the full damage isn't clear for a while. Everybody is entitled to get help with these feelings.

When someone dies it can often be a difficult enough experience, but when it was sudden and unexpected then it can cause problems for people trying to come to terms with what has happened. It's not unusual for people who suddenly lose a loved one to have some, or all, of the symptoms you've mentioned.

Everyone deals with death differently but the key thing is that you're not alone. There is help available for you to come to terms with what happened and to start to heal some of the emotional wounds it may have caused.

To get help you might want to first talk to someone you trust, like your family or close friends. They may be able to help at first, but after that you may need more professional help. To get this, the best thing to do is to see your doctor and they can refer you for more help.

In the meantime, you can always talk to Childline, either on the phone or online, whenever you're anxious or begin to panic. Our counsellors are always available.

I hope this helps. Well done for sending this letter.


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