Lockdown diary

The power of asking for help even in midlife

This blog post is about never being too old to ask for help. It was something which I was too embarrassed to do. Pride and arrogance made me think that one ought to have enough wisdom at a certain stage in life to be able to get on. What I have learned is that no matter how old someone is, new experiences still happen and these can be without precedent. This is my story of asking for help.

I hope to encourage other midlifers who are struggling with their mental health to do the same – seek help.

On February 11 my life went into a tailspin. My daughter moved out on that day and I became an empty nester. I was unable to help her move into her new flat because, a week earlier, I had been added to the shielding list. The sense of loneliness which I felt was debilitating. Every day I would wake up feeling absolutely lost. I missed the simple acts of preparing breakfast for her or going into her bedroom for a chat. Most of all I missed the noise which children create.

The weeks went by and I kept trying all sorts of self-help remedies like watching You Tube videos on becoming an empty nester, reading books on Motherhood and on loneliness. None of it worked. I wasn’t able to turn the corner and started to spiral further. In the end, I knew that it was time to seek help.

I am seeing a Confidence Coach who is helping me see that my self-worth that comes from, both, being a mother and a person with my own talents. Just having someone tell me that I had a right to feel sad because sad things had happened to me was enough to lighten my load. I felt validated. I have had two sessions. It’s working. For the first time, I woke up feeling hopeful today.

Being a midlifer is no bar to seeking help. We were brought up in a culture which celebrated toughness. Being vulnerable was a sign of weakness. An inability to cope was seen as an individual’s problem. The pandemic and ensuing lockdown has brought about an awareness of mental health issues. This is to be welcomed.

I have blogged about being an empty nester before.

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