Dear Fiona: A lot has happened in the past few months and I’m not sure how to manage
“I started a new job in June, then in July I lost my dad. Just before that, in April I was forced to move out my apartment and because I was distracted, I got scammed out of my whole wages. On top of all this, I was supposed to be getting married. It was originally meant to be in May but had to be delayed due to Covid.
“I want to say all this happening at once, and one after another, may be the reason I’m not feeling like doing anything, but how do I manage these life-changing events?
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“My faith is important to me but right now, I feel flat, and not enthusiastic at all about it. My fiancé has been out of the country for the past 18 months and he can’t get back in without isolating. I’m not even sure about him coming back – what’s wrong with me?”
“I think you are seriously underestimating the trauma you’ve been through over the last six months. All this on top of the pandemic, which has had a seriously detrimental effect on so many people’s mental health. Losing a loved one, changing jobs, moving home, getting married (or having to cancel a wedding in your case) and having your money stolen from you are all recognised as being life-changing events. Any one of them can be enough to trigger feelings of depression and anxiety.
“You ask what’s is wrong with you and say you’re feeling ‘flat’ – lots of people would be considering therapy after going through all of this. There is nothing wrong with you that time, love, support, nurturing, and perhaps counselling can’t help you with.
“Let’s start with the loss of your father – have you had the time to really grieve for him? It’s only been a few short months since he died, and I wonder if you’ve had a chance to talk about your feelings. Grief can be overwhelming at times, so if you haven’t or if you think you need more support, I would encourage you to contact Cruse Bereavement Care (cruse.org.uk) who can help you. If you do talk to a counsellor, then do bring up everything else that’s happened too, as it will help you to talk things through.
“You haven’t seen your fiancé for the past 18 months and because you have been through so much, you will have changed – he may have changed too. When he does eventually get back, I would encourage you not to hurry into rearranging the wedding but to take some time to get to know one another again. Perhaps he is still the one for you but perhaps he isn’t, and to rush into a marriage before you’re ready could be a mistake.
“You are in a new job – hopefully one you enjoy – but it might be worth talking to your boss and explaining that you’ve been through a very rough six months or so. I’m not sure if you will still be working through a probationary period but if you are and if you haven’t been showing the sort of enthusiasm a new employer might like, it could help to explain.
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“You were forced to move out of your apartment, so hopefully you have found a new home – but have you made it ‘homely’? Would it help if you were to decorate or add some little touches that made it more your own – you may well not have had a chance to do this with everything else going on. Creating a nest, a place where you can retreat to and feel safe, is important.
“As for the monetary scam, have you reported it to the police? It may well be that they can’t do anything to help you, but every scam reported helps build a picture of the scammers which will eventually help to get them caught. Finally, you say your faith is important to you so talking to your faith leader about all your doubts and concerns might be helpful for you too. Please give yourself a break – you can’t be enthusiastic about life all the time and even people with the deepest of faiths can experience depression.”
If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
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