I’m currently working my way through the book, Done with the Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children, by Sheri McGregor, MA and sharing my thoughts and responses as posts on this blog.
In her book, McGregor suggests writing down things the estranged parent can do to help themselves that are specific to their situation. So here’s my list.
Ways I Can Help Myself:
- Don’t drink. In my case, it can actually be life-threatening because alcohol is a dangerous combination with some of the medications I take. Alcohol can also loosen inhibitions which can cause a loss of rational thinking. A dangerous thing when you’re feeling suicidal.
- Seek counseling from professionals. Fortunately I was already seeing a counselor at my university to help deal with some issues about returning to Grad school. After I spent a week in the hospital on Suicide Watch, I also started seeing another counselor in my community because I knew as soon as I graduate in June, I’ll lose access to the school psychologist.
- Stay in closer contact with people who previously were on the edges of my life. I was so close to my kids, I didn’t feel the need for many other relationships. Now I see this was a huge mistake. It left me almost completely alone to deal with things. I need to make an effort to rekindle friendships.
- Set up an emergency contact person. Due to my tendency to slip into severe depression and suicidal thoughts when the pain gets to be too much for me, one of my counselors recommended I have someone set up who I can call, day or night, who can come over and keep an eye on me. Not to counsel or to help, but to be there and help me make the decision if I need to go the hospital or not. Last time I had to drive myself to the hospital which was super scary now that I look back on it because I was very tempted to drive off a bridge or crash my car the entire drive.
- Get exercise and fresh air. I joined a local gym and work out several times a week now. I try to take regular walks, and when the weather’s nice, I go to a local beach and bask in the sunshine. I live in rainy Western Washington, so sunshine is essential to combat Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder (SAD) which I don’t need to add to my current list of overwhelming emotions and sadness.