Down in the Dumps

My mood and sense of self-worth has gone through the floor in the last couple of days. I am forcing myself to write this, as it’s hard to see the point of doing so, and in any case there seem to be so many other contributors to the forum whose situation is worse than mine, and/or have been going through the misery for much longer than I have.
I know that there will be good days and bad days, and that I am probably in the downswing of that particular cycle, and so it seems self-indulgent of me to complain of feeling particularly low. Telling myself that it’s predictable and that it will pass just doesn’t work though.
Is there some trigger which is responsible for such sudden collapses of mood ?
It’s taken me about half an hour just to try and think of a thread title . . . . . this may end up being one of those many posts that I write but delete before sending.

Replying to myself - is that a bad thing ?

There were times when Eileen was still with me when things got me down, and sometimes I didn’t want to tell her in case it made her worry too, so I would just tell her that I needed an extra special hug. Oh, for such comfort now !

Hi Edwin. Stick with it…I’m sure you’re right…some days are worse than others… And those bad days can turn into longer periods than a day.
It isn’t an easy road that we are on, but on it we are without choice.
Can’t make the pain go away, but I can assure you that your posts here do help to support others and my hope is that you find the same in return.
There is nothing to replace a hug from your darling but sending you an online hug of calm and care. Best wishes

Thankyou. I do indeed take strength from other people’s replies, and it is particularly kind and soothing of you to say that other people sometimes find some support from what I write.

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Annette is right. Never underestimate the power of your words Edwin, there have been moments when you have made me smile and even laugh out loud. Thank you for that as those moments can be few and far between.

Yes, I agree, there are others worse off but your pain and suffering is still very real - again, never underestimate it.

I’m sorry that you’ve had a couple of really crappy days Edwin. I hope that you can soon think of your beloved Eileen with a smile rather than tears. That day will come even if tainted with sadness. Unfortunately the sadness will always remain but it will change. Have you read the thread ‘Continued Growth’? It may give you a slight reprieve. Sending love x

I hope you are feeling less distressed since you last posted. I think that yes, it is often said that there may be others in a worse situation but it doesn’t make your pain any less nor your reaction to it less valid. I often say to people who really want me to get a grip is that I know my loss is no greater nor harsher than anyone else’s, just different. And there are some times when I can’t cope very well with “my different”. Keep going.

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I think we all know what grief is, but due to the uniqueness of the circumstances for another person in grief we probably think we know what that person is going through. I doubt any of us have a grief shape which is exactly the same as anyone else but the ties that bind us are stronger than the ones that set us apart.
I think this forum is a great support network and I value every contribution for a whole range of reasons.

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I agree wholeheartedly. What I particularly like about this forum is the male and female perspectives. My husband was brilliant at tuning into people and was masterful at analysis of human behaviour. I miss him so much, including his “male” perspective which was devoid of typical woman hysteria and drama. This forum gives gender-balance which is so good. Your wives would be so proud of how you’re coping and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying we are all equal in this journey of loss.

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Hear, hear Cristal. I agree with all that you say. Excellent post and thanks for putting it into words…

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Replying to your post asking if I had read your “Continued Growth”:

Yes, and I found the idea that you proposed to be a real potential game changer. I have previously given expression to my thoughts that I don’t want “it” to get any better, because my grief is entirely appropriate to my loss.
Your proposal that our grief develops in much the same way as did the romance and love which I felt for Eileen gives much hope.
I’m glad that you had this insight and that you posted it.
I’ve tried to avoid conflating love and grief with too much nostalgia. Hard though it is to separate the two things I reflected on the fact that we have had nostalgic moments for many years really, inevitably so after 52 years together. It is a bittersweet emotion, and one which could, in life, be soothed by a wistful smile and a hug, an arm around her, pulling her closer, her head on my shoulder as we both shared thoughts of the years gone by.
That’s the sweetness of it; now, there is only the awful bitterness element. Contemplating the idea in your post inevitably involved thinking about those glorious moments of meeting, the wonderment of realisation that this astonishing person actually feels the same, the puzzlement of what she saw in me, with all my faults . . . . the passion you describe in your post. It develops, as you pointed out, into that lovely, warm understanding and togetherness. And your explanation that grief, maybe, develops in a similar way provides some hope and an acceptance that the bleeding rawness should develop and change without any loss of the intensity of the love we had and still have.
I won’t read through this before hitting “Reply” as it may become one of my abandoned posts, so apologies for any typos or grammatical and syntactical flaws.

Good morning Edwin, or should I say Good mourning!? Your response is very eloquent in a way I could never be. Sometimes I sit ready to write and thinking of how I feel and I find words to be so inadequate. Thank you. Xx

Hi Edwin
many posts ago you mentioned Beethoven 6th Symphony Pastoral.I have listened to it many times since,i have listened again this morning.So thank you for that Edwin.Do you still listen to your music,i find it can help to lift my mood,i also listened to Sanctus by Karl Jenkins,The Armed Man.It is a powerful piece of music,it reminds me to keep marching on,picks me up off the floor and stands me back on my feet.xx

Substance is what matters, Kate, not style.

It would be awful if somebody were put off posting because of a feeling of inadequacy of excessive powers. Their views and feelings are no less.

Substance, not style. And keep it simple.

Hi Edwin
I’ve just been rereading your opening post on this thread and thinking about the question of triggers.
Whether it’s triggers or Crumple Buttons I would suggest that everything we think, feel, and indeed do, is contained within the mind. Many things are learned behaviours and associated responses but we also do a lot of incidental learning, hence we can answer questions with answers we can’t always account for.
If you are anything like me you will have built a suit of armour which you believe will protect you from the expected but it seems there are little flaws in the suit where “things” can get through, maybe things that we can’t guard against.
I’m coming to the conclusion that if I allow myself to become insular and introspective then I can sink pretty quickly. It might be the weight of all that armour.
I think the challenge is how do we counter the power of thought, or even do we need to. Is looking at photos a trigger and, if so, is it then a problem. There’s a long list of potential triggers but are they all likely to have the same response each time or does something else come into play… tiredness maybe or too much time alone.
It’s impossible to generalise but there probably are associated behaviours. Can we break the cycle. Do we want to break the cycle.
I think the short answer is there aren’t any absolute truths or " it depends". A cop out then.
I think I’ve worked some of my triggers out. I’ve been considering whether I can “reframe” things, to change my perception from completely negative to a more positive view. I’m not sure how, as a technique, it would work in this context but I need to clutch at straws. I think that’s enough metaphors for now.

I’m not really a music junkie, Robina, but my tastes are eclectic and the right thing at the right time can transport me. “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks or bend a knotted oak.”

Beethoven, Bach, Beach Boys, Brooks (Elkie), Julie Driscoll, The Crystals (Da Doo Ron Ron), The Ronettes (Best Part of Breaking Up) have all played their part in the last day or so.

Eileen and I went to see the Dave Brubeck Quartet at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester when they were still riding high on the success of “Take Five,” so I must have a listen to that too. I felt very sophisticated at going to a modern jazz concert, but Eileen was so incredibly cool and I had to pretend to be hip.

Or it might have been hep.
As in “cat”
I remember trying to impress her with my almost non-existent knowledge of the mad time signatures that the Quartet played in. Lord, I was such a Wally !
“Take Five” was 5/4 time, I think.

If you like that sort of complexity, “Unsquare Dance” is an even better example.

They are eclectic Edwin.You lost me on the “Unsquare dance”,so i had to google,wow they can certainly dance x

If you got that YouTube video of a couple dancing, well, it’s perhaps a bit twee. The music, in 7/4 time, deserves better and deserves to be listened to without that visual distraction.
The drummer, Joe Morello, kept the whole unwieldy thing on course. He was in the line up that Eileen and I saw in Manchester.

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