Regaining Hope
Dealing with Multiple Losses

I recently received this email from someone in need of regaining hope. I asked professional counselor Marnie MaCauley to give us her response to this person dealing with multiple losses.

Email from Person in Need of Recovering Hope: "I feel broken like a shattered vessel. In 2 yrs., I lost mom to a brain tumor, had 2 emergency surgeries which forced foreclosure when insurance dropped us. Hubby lost his job, took one w/ big pay-cut. I am an unemployed teacher & write poetry to cope. Now my teen-almost 18 wants to move out & live w/ boyfriend's aunt. Feel like I lost my teen. Now exhausted w/setbacks & losses. Need hope. Trying to be strong. Thanks."

For Regaining Hope Marnie Says: Oh boy! Sweetie, when “Trouble” comes around, hang a sign, “I GAVE.” In every life there are downs. We reach into ourselves, re-group, gather strength, and move on with hope. The Biggest Issue here is ............ you’ve been thrown into a canyon of despair. Too many things happening too soon, with no time to grieve over losses, breathe, recover. And you’ve been thrown into overload.

Strategies When On Trauma Overload:

  • Know it. Of course you “know it” intellectually, but understand that you’re going through (without diagnosing here) something akin to PTSD. You’ve been traumatized and it seems to “just keep coming.” When bad things happen in succession, the biggest thing we lose – is hope. We feel unfairly targeted. Your world has turned upside-down and nothing seems to be “fair,” predictable, consistent. We become afraid. Afraid to try, afraid to hope, as we await the next disaster. Knowing, truly knowing this is a serious state of mind, is the first step.
  • Take care of you! Get help for the trauma. Whether it’s through a clinic, a hospital, or a group. When we’re on overload, we tend to either give up or become Superwoman. Neither will move you forward. You need to heard. You need to take care of yourself physically and emotionally, which or may not include meds to help you get through the hump of despair, depression, anxiety.
  • Once you get help, take each issue one at a time. When we’re feeling this way, we become hyper-sensitive. Everything seems overwhelming, frightening, anxiety-provoking. Challenge each event one by one. Look at how you feel, what the results are, positive as well as negative (e.g.: were your surgeries a success?), and your options. For example, going back to teaching, at least in some way; moving to a different location where you can get a great apartment for very little that may offer your husband better career options; telling yourself your daughter still loves and needs you (and trust me, will be back – and back – and back).
  • DO THIS ONLY WHEN YOU’RE UP TO IT! I know you didn’t expect to be starting over in some ways at this stage. And initially, the thought is terrifying. But believe me, once you’re ready to tackle these issues, allow excitement to set in while planning. Try to see this as an opportunity to “clean house,” do what YOU wish to do, follow dreams that weren’t possible while tied to a house, job, raising children.
  • Honey, now is YOUR time. You’ve been through the worst of it. Now you have the chance to do things your way. All you need do is ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that will happen if I do for myself for a change?” And the answer? Regaining hope.

    My very best,

    Marnie can be reached for online counseling by clicking on the banner below. Or read our Marnie MaCauley interview.

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