I have subscribed for some years to your ezine and find it both entertaining and useful. I am a 65 year old widow. My question is…3 major emotional traumas have finally caught up with me and now I am so overwhelmed….what can I do to help this situation? Due to limited income professional help is not an option.
Firstly, I am delighted that you find my ezine entertaining and useful- that is exactly what I am hoping readers get out of it! I hope you find the answer to your excellent question useful as well…
I want to start by saying that I am sorry you find yourself a widow at 65 and also that you cannot afford professional help. I don’t know where you live, but many communities offer free counselling through government or social service agencies. Maybe you can look for something of that nature in your area? Also, many communities also offer support groups for widows/widowers- not sure if that would be of interest to you, but many of my clients in your situation really enjoy the company of others who are also going through a similar life situation.
Now to get to your original question…Unfortunately, I have had many clients report a very similar phenomenon- old traumas reappearing during midlife. Firstly, I’d like to explain why this happens so often. We often spend our twenties to our forties being super-busy and productive; often overwhelmed juggling work, relationships, and family and are simply too busy to attend to our ‘unfinished emotional business’ from the past. We often manage to stuff it down and keep it at bay because we are too busy getting the job of living done and cannot possibly add one more thing to our already full plate.
As we approach midlife (often accompanied by ‘empty nest’ syndrome), our lives shift dramatically. The whole process of menopause changes our bodies forever, and along with that, our energy levels. We start to slow down physically which is often a shock, but I would argue is a very good thing. If you’ve been running around so long like a chicken with its head cut off, it can become quite a joy to have less to do, more time to yourself, and a simpler, quieter existence.
The downside to this shift (and possibly your husband dying as well) is that it gives us the chance to revisit old traumas and wounds from our past that we have managed to stuffed down for a very long time. So what I tell my clients who find themselves in this place is: try not to panic- this is normal, healthy, and necessary. There is a good reason that these things are coming up- they need to be released and let go of forever so that you can feel lighter and more freed up to enjoy the rest of your years.
I would highly recommend finding a therapist who specializes in healing trauma to guide you through this process. In your particular case, you’ll need to find someone who is free of charge. I know that many women’s transition societies offer free counselling to women who have suffered abuse and trauma. That may be a good place to start searching. I wish you much healing and peace.