How do I beat loneliness and self doubt? I had been a caregiver to my parents for the past few years. They're both gone now and I'm so lonely. I don't know what to do. Can anyone offer some suggestions? Thank you.
By Lynda1972 from Kearny, NJ
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Hi Lynda. I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you're having a really rough time. It's so hard to lose people who are so close to you. I would suggest two things:
1) Find someone you can talk to, whether they are professional counselors or a grief support group.
2) Get busy. Get involved in your community by volunteering, joining clubs, getting involved at your church, library, museum, hospital, gardening club - the more, the better. Volunteering at the hospital might be a good fit for you, since you took care of your parents.
The more involved you are, the busier you stay, the less lonely you'll feel and the more people you will meet. It will also help your self-esteem. Then, throw a dinner party (even a potluck) for all of your new volunteer colleagues. You'll meet people, and your circle will grow.
I'll be thinking of you and wishing you peace and strength. Take care and good luck. For grief support groups in your area, Check out: www.griefspeaks.com/
I am so sorry for your loss. The pain can be unbearable. When I have lost a loved one, I turn right to God and remind myself of His promises. I also stay busy and at the same time remembering all the good times. Keep pictures of your loved ones, talk about them to others and again stay busy.
You can volunteer your time when you are ready at your local hospital, local animal shelter or your local convalescent hospital. Remember you are not alone. There are many people and animals who are hurting just like you and would love someone to hug them and love them.
Time is the only healer. Take one day at a time and the pain will ease.
I'm hoping your days will be brighter soon. If you don't currently go and are interested, explore various churches and choose one to join.
There are always seniors in nursing homes who would love to have a friend to visit with or play games with.
Call a nursing home and ask about people who don't get many visitors and perhaps go visit them.
When my mom died, the best thing I found was to indulge myself in my crocheting. If you have a craft, force yourself to dig into it. If you don't have one, find one. Even if it's just putting jigsaw puzzles together.
It has to be something that won't entirely take your mind off your loss, but will occupy it enough so you aren't totally dwelling on it either.
Learn the steps of grief so that as you go from one step to the next you recognize what your feelings are and understand them. The most important thing at this time is to allow yourself to grieve. I wasn't allowed to grieve at all (long story there, won't go into it here) and it really did a job on my head. So do allow yourself the time to grieve. Also don't let anybody-not friends or shrinks or even your spouse/"other half", tell you it's time to get over it. Only you will know when you are done. Everyone is different.
The pain of the loss will always be with you but with time you'll be able to think of your parents with a smile instead of tears. My heart goes out to you.
I am so sorry that you have had such a hard time. You must miss your parents very much.
You have valuable experience as a care giver. If there are any "support for caregivers" organisations in your area, they would be really grateful for your help, if you would volunteer your time.
I'm sorry about your loss, with prayer and trust you will get through it. Notice I said through it, and not over it. My best suggestion is to volunteer your time to whatever organization that needs people with things you like to do. For instance if you like animals, call your local Humane Society and offer your services, how about church or a nursing home.
The best way to get out of yourself is to help others. Just do it. Don't procrastinate. If you do it just once, you may become more self-assured and will do it again and again. Hope this helps and all the best to you.
Lynda, I am so sorry for your loss & your feelings of emptiness! I can only imagine how you are feeling, it hurts me all the time to just think about losing my mom, who is my best friend. I just wish I had the opportunity to move her in with me so that I could take care of her & we could share our last remaining years together.
I already lost my dad when I was 19 & both my grandparents. When my mom's gone, I'll be an orphan! At least that's how I feel! Not complaining, just sharing my thoughts in case that's anything like you feel. However, you devoted so much time to your parents, you probably lost yourself somewhere in there - sort of like parents who's kids go off to college & now you don't know what to do with yourself.
You've received several good ideas on how to deal with your grief, things you can do to occupy your mind, so I won't add to that. You may not want to get involved with others right now or you may want to jump in & stay to busy to think.
Everyone grieves in their own way, no one way is right. It's going to take time for you to get through this & it's going to be hard. But it will get better - not the same, but better. Just take care of yourself & be aware of your emotions & physical state. If you feel like you aren't dealing well at all, are more depressed than would be normal, shutting down emotionally, withdrawing from life - any of that stuff. Then please take yourself to your doctor & tell them how you feel!
Grief can take a tremendous emotional & physical toll on a person's mind & body. It can knock everything completely out of whack, including the chemical balance in your brain, & you may need to take antidepressants to get things back in order.
Good luck to you & keep us up to date on how you are doing. Judy L.
So sorry for your loss. I, too, am watching over both of my parents in their 80s and with failing health; body and mind. I hope to be able to handle it ok too so am very interested in these posts. I lost my husband 6 years ago and dealt with my grief by allowing myself to cry. It is ok to cry.
Just make a time for it everyday if you need to. I know it sounds silly but give yourself 30 minutes to 1 hour a day to cry. But no more! You can take it up tomorrow again. Also, it helped me to get out and do things with my friends and relatives. Every time they would ask if I'd like to do something, I would tell them yes, even if it really didn't appeal to me but it made me interact with others. And I didn't say no to anything and that helped fill the emptiness.
Don't be afraid to talk about them all the time with others. People understand. Tell them you may want to do that so they don't feel bad about talking about them with you. People don't always know what to do in consoling people in their grief so this will help them help you! Sometimes that helps the most. Just talking. Oh, and it does get easier over time. You will get through this!
I know what you are going through from your loss as I recently lost my dear sweet husband of 50 years. It is such a devastating thing. I feel like I am a skeleton with nothing inside. The emptiness is so unbearable. I had a wonderful marriage & we were joined at the hips. To sum it up, he was my soulmate. I do have children, friends & relatives that I know love me & care about me. But it's not enough. I go through the motions of survival every day but am crying usually first thing in the morning, throughout the day & before I go to bed. Sleeping is difficult & I encounter many broken hours before rising for the day only to repeat my emptiness. I will be attending a workshop for bereavement & hope it helps me.
My new motto is to take one day at a time & some days my motto is to take one hour at a time.
Hold dear to your heart the good memories & try adding prayers to your day, if you haven't already.
In time I hope to do some type of volunteering so that it will hopefully fill my void.
If any of the above helps you please welcome it.
In the meantime I wish you well & hope you, like I, will in time have a heart that softens. The grief will never go away but time will help us both.
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