Dear Readers: The period of build-up to the holiday season unfortunately affects some people with anxieties that trigger or worsen feelings of depression. The following question highlights the inner turmoil that can result. But it also reveals the rays of courage, and caring for others that can keep people going.
If you know a person who’s sinking in spirits, reach out with encouragement. Keep the number of your local distress centre available, for instant phone connection to trained listeners who can offer referrals to meet immediate crises. They can help a troubled person get past that moment of despair, and towards improvements.
I’m clinically depressed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), off work for five years, though I loved my job.
I’m finally starting to feel human, through a new medication and talk therapy, but I feel like I’m a waste of time and money.
My friends have either walked away or treat me differently.
I’m single, have no boyfriend or children. My sense of identity, worth, and happiness are non-existent.
Despite a major improvement, I don’t know what I’m fighting towards. My main reason for not killing myself is that I’m NOT selfish and don’t want to hurt my family or my doctors.
- Marking Time
Your concern about the feelings of close people in your life is proof of your humanity and worth.
Believe me, you DO have value, and you are valuable to them. And your struggle has even broader significance: For every person working through mental health issues to have a better day, your improvement is hugely important – it speaks of hope for others as well as yourself, and of the progress that appropriate medication and professional therapy can provide.
Even on your tough days, your fight to move forward matters to many people.
Please keep the number to your area’s distress centre helpline handy, and hold on tightly to your resolve to be unselfish and carry on:
Distress Centre Ontario www.dcontario.org.
I’m 52, and wildly in love, as is my fiancé! It’ll be a second marriage for me, his third (he’s 63); we’ve both had other relationships, too.
Though we definitely rushed into this (after dating for two months), we feel equally confident and excited to go ahead and marry soon… within another month.
Our adult children are all well settled; mine have met him and think he’s great, and he says his children approve of me, too (by word of mouth, they live elsewhere). Yet my son is pressuring me to wait longer and get to know him better. He can’t understand our hurry, but we’re both very busy professionals, travel a lot, and want to put our lives together as soon as possible.
Should I listen to my son?
- Slight Hesitation
Any hesitation is worth your attention, when you’re about to change a major part of your life.
The joy of sudden romance is intoxicating sometimes more so at an older stage, but that heady feeling often obscures a realistic look at things you might be less thrilled by later.
Your travels should include meeting his children beforehand – it’ll show that both you and their father respect their interest and connection to you.
Your son is being protective, and perhaps knows you well enough to have legitimate worries about precipitous behaviour.
Whatever his reasons, if there’s no deadline on marrying – and why should there be? - do take some more time to, yes, get to know each other better.
My daughter needs me to baby-sit her young kids during the week so she can work; her husband’s salary isn’t meeting their needs.
I love the children but find it exhausting to be with them all day. It means I have to give up any weeknight socializing with friends.
Then they want me around for “family weekends,” when I still end up helping out. But what else can I do?
- Worn Out
Look for a variety of options to be helpful without losing all personal time and energy. Search for free community drop-in programs, children’s time at the local library, etcetera, where you can take the kids and not have to be so hands-on by yourself.
As for weekends, insist that they also need “parent time” with their children, without you. And be clear that you need to keep up your own social network, for the independence they don’t want you to lose.
Tip of the day:
Support someone who’s depressed by knowing where to turn in a crisis.