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I have sunk to the depths of despair since my wife left me and my mother died

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Dear Life Coach,

I have been a consistent, good and influential worker with a company for 20 years. Over the past six months I have been emotionally unwell and so I reduced my output. It all started a year ago when my wife left me for another man, just after our twin daughters went off to college overseas. This was followed by the death of my mother (three months later). I am a ‘family-man’ and invested everything into my family over the years, and I was also very close to my mother.{{more}} The truth is, I sunk into the depths of despair and could not pull myself out of that pit. The result is that I skipped work for close to a month without informing my employer. I have since been placed on no pay leave while the matter is being investigated.

Distraught Man (DM)

Dear DM,

You have lost your wife and your mother, and your children are off finding their way in the world, and your job is hanging in the balance. You are distressed as you have lost the world that you have built for yourself.

Your Situation:

Here are some factors that have contributed to your present situation: separation, grief/loss, sadness/depression, and empty nest syndrome. I will address these briefly.

Separation

A decision to separate from one’s spouse is an indicator that there are major unresolved issues and it is also often a precursor to divorce. The decision to remain married can go either way as it is not a one-sided affair but must be agreed upon by both parties. It may be important, therefore, to have further dialogue with your wife involving a neutral third party in order to determine truly where things stand.

Grief and Losses

Most individuals will experience a loss in their lives at some point in time through death, separation, divorce, migration, and or disaster. When this occurs a period of mourning/grief is expected during which we must find a way to accept (or come to terms with) the loss and make the necessary adjustments in our lives in order to cope and move past the loss in a healthy fashion. This takes time and the process may become complicated when multiple losses occur at the same time and are unexpected. You have had four major losses in close succession and this is not easy.

Depression

Depression refers to persistent feelings of sadness and despair which occur when an individual feels helpless in resolving life issues such as losing a loved one, being fired, etc. Depression usually results when we become involved in negative ‘self-talk’ unconsciously such as “Things will never get better. It’s all my fault. This could have been avoided if I had done this or that,” and so on. Other symptoms of depression include isolating oneself from others, changes in eating, sleeping and weight, feelings of fatigue, thoughts of death, and feelings of guilt and or worthlessness.

Empty Nest Syndrome

As parents we want our children to succeed but when it is time for them to go off into the world it does leave a gap that no one can fill. It is surely a bitter-sweet occasion to have your twin daughters leave for college overseas.

What to Do:

Marriage Counselling

Marriage counselling may be crucial at this point although your wife is with someone else (if she is willing to cooperate). Spouses may become involved with other people out anger, proving a point or because their needs are not being met. You will only know if there is hope for your marriage when you are able to explore the issues in a safe environment.

Social Support

Experiencing multiple losses in such quick succession has taken its toll on you. Hopefully you have other extended family members and friends with whom you can interact. You may not be in the mood, but try to visit with individuals you love (positive people only) and share what is on your heart or invite them over.

Find an Advocate

You may have violated the terms of your employment contract but if you are able to demonstrate that you were suffering from emotional ill-health due to multiple major losses in quick succession, your employer may be willing to re-instate you into your job. In this light you should speak with your doctor or a counsellor and request an assessment for depressive illness. If you are severely depressed medication may be prescribed. Grieving takes time, so get help from friends and family who love you, and let them know how you are feeling.

Be Generative

One of the developmental tasks of middle-adults is that of giving back to the younger generation. Now that your daughters are away you may have more time to offer to other young people to help nurture them so that they can grow and develop and be a success like your children. You could consider participating in a youth or sports group as a leader if you have not yet done so.

Maintain Contact

Visit your daughters as much as you can, and or have them come for visits. Also set times to see and communicate with them daily or weekly through Skype, facebook and email video chat such as Google Mail.

DM, it’s never over until it’s over, so do every positive thing in your power to win your wife back, since you love her. I hope that things work out for you.

Life Coach

DYNACII

Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to dynacii@gmail.com. To chat with the Life Coach, visit: http://www.dynacinternational.com. Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.

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