what to do when it is unbearable

I am at a loss. This is thread is about loss of support system and subsequent loneliness.

After losing my mom and dad, being single, my relations living overseas, my friends are married, my career as a journalist has flatlined, I am at a complete loss of what to do. There is nothing wrong with me. I know it is a bad year. But, I still have to find a way to make some sort of life. I have been crawling along, doing my best, but feel very vulnerable. I was an only child. I tried to look for jobs overseas and here, and though my current (little) work likes me, without a job or husband, I am in trouble. I just am having a bad time right now and I just had send out this SOS. I know I am not alone, in having this dilemma. Sometimes, I think I would be better off going with my mom and dad. I am seeing a counselor starting Friday. My education was in Political Science. My father cautioned me about doing anything in a rush. But sometimes things get to be so lonely, that I wish I could just jump into another, happier life. I have done things alone for a long time but without someone by your side, life is very difficult. If anyone has been through this, and has some suggestions, I would most appreciate hearing them. I am looking for people who made it to the other side. I want to fix things, but without some luck, I don’t know how. (I am in Texas and my friend said move to Australia, for example.) It is far too conservative here. My mom was from Norway but they have their own secure lives.

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Dear @berit, I don’t sadly have any advice for you, as I am in quite a similar position to you. My dear dad died, and I have always been alone and done things by myself, the loneliness is terrible, I kept myself really busy in my education and then my career, I used to work seven days a week, and as I was travelling abroad often for work that helped too, but after I got made redundant the loneliness came back, to be honest it never went away, I just masked it by keeping busy, and as my dad was now old, I couldn’t even tell my parents how lonely I was as I didn’t want to bother them. It is even more difficult for you, being an only child, and having lost both your mum and dad, at least I still have my mum, thankfully, I just wanted you to know that any time you’re lonely and need someone to talk to, I am here, it probably won’t help much, as you’ll still be in the same position as you are, but at least you will know there is someone always happy to listen to you when you need to talk.

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Hi. berit . Your SOS has been received. It is a call for help, but as Abdullah says, any advice is difficult. But I don’t think advice is appropriate anyway . We all suffer in our own way and what one may regard as helpful another may reject. It’s so good you are going for counselling. It can help a lot to talk to someone who can be objective. We tend to turn in on ourselves when in grief and become introspective. So many withdrew into themselves and just try and go it alone. That is never an option. We humans are naturally people who need to communicate. Moving from your present situation may or may not help. We have to take our memories with us, and we can’t escape them by moving. I too thought of that but I am so glad I listened to good advice and stayed put. Is there ‘another side’ to all this? Do we ever arrive at the other side? I don’t think we do, but we can accept ‘what is’ and not fight against what has happened. In other words accept what has happened, and although in real pain, move on as best we can. Seeing other people getting on with their lives while we are in turmoil can be pretty awful.
‘Jump into a happier life’. Oh yes, we all wish that, but it’s not possible.
Acceptance of the fact that nothing will ever be the same again will help.
But there is always hope. It is possible to lead a life again given time. But time always seems our enemy. But it can be our friend if we allow it to pass without watching it all the time.
What has been said may not help a lot, but talking to others in the same boat can help. Take care and be kind to yourself. John.

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Dear @berit. Your SOS has been heard. Read the tremendous responses from @Abdullah and @jonathan123 . I wish like them I could help you in a practical way with a new job and happy life in a magic-wand waving way to get you to what you call “the other side”.

However the fact that you are seeing a counselor soon is a positive.
Above all remember as often as you can what great and loving advice your father gave you - his advice about not doing things in a rush.
Right now that’s the best advice of all.
I know the come back on that is there’s a stack of bills and some of us aren’t lucky to be able to have the time.
All I can say to that is in those times when you do feel capable - grab and use those hours, moments or days (whatever your mood allows), as fully as you can to get done the practical stuff that grief inevitably involves. And that includes eating properly and getting exercise and all the basics. Use this place and your counselor for the times when you aren’t up to dealing, and need to let the emotional build up find a way to release. Yes, it’s hard work this grief business. Grieving is a full time job that needs time-management on a huge scale, and you’re doing it all alone, and you’ll beat yourself up for not getting it right all the time. @jonathan123 says time can be your friend ( I think he may have meant it in a slightly different way, but I’m shamelessly going to pinch the expression because it’s a good one. I hope he won’t mind ).
Keep in touch.
Oh, and listen to your father - you won’t go far wrong.

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thank you so very much, Abdullah.
You were lucky to be able to work through the loss of your dad, however my most recent experience taught me, that the bad feelings are out there, waiting. I am so sorry you lost your father. that loss for me was catastrophic, as it was for you. and the job loss. I know it well, and I am sorry for that, too. jobs give us something to hang on to.
your reply helped me a great deal. I am having a bad time right now, and others and their sympathy, is the best help. ( I have the pre-dawn awakenings every morning now.) I lost many friends this year, non-Covid, and find myself all alone. and hating myself for making such a mess of my life, but if the right mate had appeared, it would have been alright. sorry for all the talk. the rough patch challenges me greatly, right now.

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I posted a reply below.

Wil58 :blush: I thought I had a friend and then they turned on me, and it made me realize that I am alone and that is what sent me into this panic. they were a band-aid and now I am faced with some hard truths. thank you so much for the kind advice and it helps a great deal.

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loneliness is so terrible because we were never meant to be alone. we were tribesmen and mated and children and now in modern society, the culture has gone directly opposed to who man originally was: living communally and working together to survive.

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Friends can be blessing and curse. Try not to be hard on them if they got it wrong, and try not to be hard on yourself either. It’s not your fault that you feel bad. When you are stronger you can deal with what you call “hard truths”. There are people on this site who can help, and will help, so please keep reading, and posting, and keep your eyes and mind open to what at the time might seem like off the wall advice. It can and does help I promise you. I hope the counselor can help you through these really bad patches. They are absolutely terrible, that’s true. However someone detached from you can often be the biggest help of all… you’ll be able to express all sorts of things that you would not do with a good friend.

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Dear @Berit, there seems to have been some confusion, I wasn’t able to work through either my dad’s terminal illness or since he died. It’s been a catch 22, to get back to work I need to be well, to be well, I need something like work to distract me.

You shouldn’t hate yourself for making a mess of your life. So much is due to luck - there are people who make so many bad decisions, yet life works out ok for them, and there are people who make far fewer wrong decisions, yet life ends up being a misery. I was going to be offered a job in Botswana in 2017, but I rejected it, I thought I might get lonely and depressed and what if my parents needed me, it wouldn’t be possible for me to just get in a car and visit them. It was a decision that makes me so sad, as I was unable to get back into work during my dad’s lifetime and that really really hurt him, as he was unemployed for most of the latter stages of his life, and he did not want to see me unemployed.

It is sad to see you have lost friends, and that a friend you relied on let you down. That is why I feel so sad for you, because at least I have family, my mum and brothers, if things get bad. They say that blood is thicker than water, and there is probably some truth in this, we all need people we know we can rely on in our worst time. Have you considered moving to Norway? One of my best friend is from Aalesund, and the quality of life there is great, with people being friendly and not too conservative in how they treat others. That might be better for you than Texas? And you’re correct about loneliness, we were never meant to live alone, something has gone wrong in society when more than a million people in Britain live on their own. It is so sad, isn’t it? Hope you have a better evening than yesterday.

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Dear Berit
I too am in a similar situation to yourself. My Mum and Dad both died. I have very few friends because of my job and illness and caring. I too am single and feel exactly the same as you sometimes I wish I had someone by my side. My housing situation is not good at the moment and my job situation is fragile. Otherwise I would get a pet. A dog or cat if you have the facility to get one can make a world of difference to loneliness. They mean you are not coming home to an empty house. They give you cudldles and succour when you need it. They will listen to any moans or problems you have. When you go for a walk you will not be alone if you have a dog. They can give you a reason to go on as you build up your life. You say you have friends just because they are married doesn’t mean they don’t have time to support you. Also if you tell married friends that you are no longer happy being single (they may have assumed that you were) they may try to set you up. This will give you a whole new network. You do have people in your life that may be willing to support you, i am not saying breakdown in front of them but if you have people let them know you need them. Sometimes people need to be asked or told particularly if they are conservative and so are you. They will just assume that you don’t need them and that you alkready have people in your life that are there for you. In more conservative places people dont like to poke their noses in. But some people havve warm hearts so welcome them in. I know what you mean about jumping into a happier life I too wish I knew how to get from here where I am into something better. There are avenues you have that you may not have explored yet. So try them yes they may or may not work out and you may be back where you are. If you have a job that gives you some time to spare then use that time. Yes its hard just now because of Covid but you can still use this time to make plans. I tried early on joining a dating agency something i had never done before but to be honest their wasnt many people in my area. Before my mum got ill iI did think of starting my own dating club or supper club. As a way of meeting new people. Another thing I looked into was joining a gym but people there are already in their own groups they come with friends workmates. The best thing was the meetups website but of course because of COVID it is kind of slowed down. Its a site where you can meetup with people in your area who share your interests. There is volunteering or joining groups with a hobby which you have. If you have friends and a job in Texas there is no point in moving especially to Australia. If you really do decide to move then America is a huge country and there are many other states and cities. It sounds what you really need is a holiday. Wait to covid is over and maybe go on a road trip across the states. In america this kind of thing is pretty cheap and you could make it into a way of meeting others. Giving yourself something to work towards a small goal gives you a reason to go on. You have many more possibilities than you know. If you still enjoy political science then you could get involved in a campaign for the next election. Doing some volunteer work in this way or even a little extra job will help you to meet new people. It sounds like you need new energy in your life just now. Sometimes if we really want something to change in our lives we have to make it happen but that doesn’t always happen without support from others. If you get some support to aid you in your new quest whichever direction you decide to go in then you will find that new life that you seek. Americans in general have a can do will do attitude and tend to like to help others. Not always of course people are people. But if you don’t try then you cant succeed and yes I know from experience its hard to try and when it doesn’t work out its hard to get back up. And just now you are in a vulnerable situation so it is hard to be proactive. Believe me I know. I too am trying to get myself out a bad situation with my family. Before it got worse I was working slowly towards bettering my life and doing what I described and I know how difficult it can be when there are other setbacks. But you do have friends and you do have opportunities for a better life situation. Now is a time to look for them and make plans. Look into what opportunities you do have. Counselors can be a good thing. Some are better than others.
I reread your letter and you seem to jumping from one thing to another dont worry i do it too. Listen to your dads advice just because he isn’t here anymore doesn’t mean his advice isn’t good. Dont jump into moving to another country, Its a very difficult time to do that and you need to fulfil certain regulations to move anywhere even more so just now. That doesn’t mean that a holiday to Norway wouldn’t do you the world of good once COVID is past especially if you are going to visit some of your mothers family. Perhaps you could start writing to them now and get to know them better. Try to make friends and after COVID is past and if you can afford it go and visit. Or try for a virtual visit just now. That could be fun talking to someone who knew your mum when she lived in Norway or a cousin maybe giving you a siteseeing tour virtuallly . It could be a little fun and I think what you need is a little fun just now. Back to the friends you have just because they are married doesn’t mean they don’t want to go out to lunch with you its just they have to make these arrangements around their family but you can still make arrangements to have something to look forward to.
Whatever you do running away doesn’t help because you cant run away from yourself if you do move or go away make it for the right reasons that you are leaving a bad situation to go to something better. If you do have friends then you do have people in your life if you move you could end up with no one at all. As you have friends that seem busy with their own lives they could introduce you to others . Its easier to make friends with new people if they are introduced to you rather than trying to make friends with a complete stranger.
You say that you want to fix things but what do you want to fix, make a list of all the things that you want to fix in your life and how you want to fix them. What would your happier life be like.
I remember reading a list of things that if they are okay in your life then you should be happy for me right now I don’t feel I can tick any of them and its like hitting my head against a wall but you still have to try to be proactive about it. And somehow hope I guess.
So heres the list or guide to being happy.
Family - This includes parents, siblings, partner and children
Friends - Just to have some good people in your life.
Health - To have reasonable health.
Wealth - This is not about being rich but having your needs met, so that you dont have to worry about money for necessities.
Job - This is about having a job that makes you happy in what you do doesn’t matter what it is just that you derive satisfaction from the work or the people you work with.
House - Again this is not about having a fancy mega house its about having a home a small retreat that you are happy in and fulfills your basic needs. Something that isn’t causing you any worry.
Interests - that you have something in life that interests you that you care about. and keeps your mind active. It can be anything a passion a hobby anything.
Pets - if you like them and have a place for them then they can enrich your life.
Spiritually - This is basically relating to your religious and spiritual beliefs.
Basically you don’t need to be happy and satisfied with your condition in all of these but if you find satisfaction is some of them and you can tick the boxes per se then you will be happier in your life and find difficulties easier to bear. Because you can tick some of the boxes they help when you have problems in some of the other boxes or other aspects of your life. You do have skills and there is a world on the internet just crying out for journalism skills. You don’t have to write in a newspaper or tv. You can write anything. You can even write a novel (my dad did). You could write a political thriller or write for a tv show or you could take your skills into the gaming industry and the new world of esports. Take that political science and write about the politics of gaming and the different battling tribes Maybe that isn’t for you but you have so many options and you are in a country where there are many openings if you look for them. Even in Texas. Build yourself up.
I know its hard but you have more opportunities than you know.
Take care
Meebee

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Maree, you are a LEGEND! No one writes replies like you do … if Carlsberg did replies, and all that!

Sorry if I still haven’t replied to your PM, it isn’t that I don’t care, I do, and was thinking of you, it’s just that when I reply to things like PMs and emails, I want to take my time and write something thoughtful, and unfortunately my attention span isn’t good these days, and so it’s difficult to do such tasks. Please don’t take it as a sign of inconsideration. Hugggsss.

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Abdullah: Your thoughtfulness to write to me today means a lot. I understand everything that you talk about. I understand the meaning you seek to convey. I think you were wise not to go to Africa but I also know how much my mom and dad wanted me out in the world, as your father did. All parents want us to have a solid profession that will care for us. But this world makes it so hard. I woke at 4 a.m. I think that if I was in England and could check into a sanitarium, I would do this. We lived in Kent when I was a child and I loved it. I love trifle. I had two deaths this summer of a friend and my dog that hit hard. I always wanted to leave Texas and now, the US, it being so extremist. Too bad, that I did not find some work in Norway when I was there 2018. I have visited Ålsesund. What an escape from this hellhole country that I live in! I write a popular pet column, but aside from the other freelance writing, it is the only employment I have landed. That hurts. I used to be a broadcast journalist. Yes, you are so lucky to have mom and brothers. I would be so much better if I had that, or a spouse. I am saving money. I wonder if I will be able to escape this quagmire I am in. :upside_down_face:

Thank you Meebee. Thank you for writing such a long and detailed and thoughtful note. I agree with the challenges of living overseas but I have been in Norway a lot and it is so nice and contented. I would give anything for the peaceful lives of my cousins. And they know it. I am so embarrassed to be so forlorn. Maybe I might meet someone who wants to buy a “hytte” there. I do want to date. I am too young, to end up alone.

Dear @Berit, it is difficult when you’re in a place you don’t want to be, I hope you’re able to leave Texas, soon. I desperately want to leave the UK, it isn’t the country it used to be, I would like to move to Germany, I want to be part of the EU so that I have the right to live and work in any of the countries that are part of the Schengen area, unfortunately from 1 January I won’t be able to, and that makes me so sad, my dad lived in Germany in the 60s and he spoke of such a wonderful and tolerant society, that isn’t what the UK feels like now, unfortunately I cannot leave my mum here, she wouldn’t move, it is so frustrating.

People really don’t understand what people like you, who have no immediate family, have to go through. A woman who lost her husband, wrote

So I am now totally bereaved out, and exhausted because as an only child with no children or husband I have to deal with it all alone. My lifeline has been some very good friends but I so want to have my husband to hold me and love me. I am now angry with this damn website. A poster said she had no one left, all the family had died, then she talks about her grandchildren. That is not having no family left. I have no family left, no one. I wish people would not make out they are completely alone when they are not. To be honest, I am scared, I’m old and really so alone no one will note my passing from this world. She has her grandchildren.

That’s what it is - scary. To have no one you can rely on. I do feel so sorry for people like you, I am lucky I have family, those that don’t, they’re in a totally different boat.

Losing your friend and dog seems to have added to the misery. And your career - gosh, it’s difficult, isn’t it? Financial insecurity - that’s something which can make grieving so difficult too - I know that if I don’t earn, I still have family who can help me, that I won’t have to worry about eviction or anything like that, what about those who have no immediate family, they not only have to deal with their grief, they often have to deal with the prospect of just surviving from day to day. You’re an intelligent woman, with some luck, you will get more work, because that’s what it usually comes to, luck, we don’t live in a meritocracy where people are rewarded for talent, it’s more about who we know and luck, I know some incredibly intelligent people who are poor and some incredibly dumb people who earn £100k a year and more doing bull**** jobs, a term that the late David Graeber used which is applicable to much of the upper management roles in the IT industry. You have so much talent, I really hope you find work that appreciates it. Good luck.

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I recently learned about Graeber and his work. If you know him, then I trust your words. I understand what you write. My older cousins in Norway still keep in touch with me. I daresay that if I could find a way to live there, it would be fine with them. I help my ex boyfriend with his mom and he pays me. I have the writing work but yes, it is very hard. Thanks for writing. I worked as a copywriter in Hamburg. The only thing about the Germans is that they were very strict dressers. I loved being a child in Kent in the middle 70s. Maybe, if Americans are allowed to travel, I might go to Norway and try once again. I watch DW news and they follow the Brexit doings. It must be awful for those who want to remain. Thanks Abdullah.

Dear @Berit, yes, Brexit has been incredibly difficult for many who wanted to Remain. My dad had left Pakistan at an early age - he put all his belongings in a trunk, put the money he had saved in his pocket, and he got on board a cargo ship to Basra, sleeping on the deck. From Basra he moved to Iran where he lived and worked for many years, then he moved to Europe. He was fluent in five languages, he was a man who believed in internationalism, not nationalism. When I was working in my last job, I travelled and worked in many countries - USA, Ireland, Spain, France, Netherlands, Ukraine, Belgium, Georgia, Moldova - and like my dad, I always took an interest in the local culture. My dad was very proud of all my travels. Now? We have become an insular nation, and all those opportunities of living and working abroad have been taken from us.

Where was your dad from? How many years did you spend in the UK? That’s great you have cousins in Norway, it would be nice if you could end up there again. I would have considered moving to Norway instead of Germany, maybe not to Aalesund because the days in winter have very little sunlight and that would be bad for my depression, but maybe Oslo, as Norway and Germany are the kind of societies that I want to live in. But, these opportunities have been taken away because of Brexit. It is so sad.

I am glad you have some income from your ex boyfriend, any amount of money is good in difficult times. Haha @ German dress code, I have only been to Munich and Berlin on a visit, but never worked there, how much time did you spend in Hamburg? You have travelled quite a bit! How did you end up in the USA?

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I am so impressed by your international background, and the pluck of your father. My father, a Texan, was a Random House author, “The Lafayette Escadrille” 1964. He had pluck, too. My dad spent a summer working for Aramco, his uncle was a VP, and he studied at the American Uni. in Beirut. He was so interested in the Mid-East. He and my mom met in Manhattan. She worked at SAS. He was an aviation editor. We both must have a good background, but in this terrible state of affairs, funny that neither of us has the professional position that we deserve. I know that I don’t. I was in Hamburg two years, working as a copywriter and trend reporter for companies. You have really been all over the place and it is so nice that you are so interested in all the places where you have been. I can only imagine how much you and your dad shared, in your love of travel. The Greeks were flattered that I was so interested in them. I loved being in Athens. Walking outside the World Wildlife Fund office everyday, right into the heart of Kolonaki, seeing the awe-inspiring Parthenon at night. Wow. I imagine you know what I mean. I spent one night in Sofia, have been to Stettin :slight_smile: haha , Mallorca, I gloried in all of this stuff. No wonder I am in a mess, now. It would have helped if I had found a proper partner. What is your field? Germans really give you the eye, if you are not suitably dressed. They start giving you a hard look, from all the way across the bloody road. Sheesh.
I am an American, born in Greenwich Village. We settled in San Antonio when I was 13. We had to “get off of the road.” My parents were fantastic. We were in Chartham two years. Mystole Park. I loved it. I am sorry for the UK. It is a mess, and the terrible cuts to the NHS, etc.

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Dear @Berit, wow, I just read about your dad on Amazon, what a talented man he was. It’s so great that he authored so many books, you must be so proud of him. I will respond to the rest of your post properly next week, just wanted you acknolwedge your post, have a nice weekend. Take care.

Dear berit,
I am so sorry that you are feeling as you do and that you are facing financial problems, it must be very hard for you. Did you see your counsellor? and if so did you feel any better? I really wish that I could help you to overcome these feelings which you have about yourself. I haven’t made it to the other side, I am still suffering from the loss of my dear husband, Stan. Our daughter has just had a major operation on a long standing injury to her elbow, today, our son has told me that he and his partner have been showing symptoms of covid-19, something else to worry about. Are there any social clubs where you could join in Texas? would you fancy a facetime chat? I would be happy to link up with you, now and again, You would have to be a member of facebook or join. It is worth thinking about, I understand that Sue Ryder has a very good counselling service. I haven’t had any counselling but I feel that I may benefit from doing so.
Take care and stay safe.
Mary x