I Still Can't Get Myself Going
by Deb Sims, MS,RNCS,LCSW
This is something I had not heard of. I sure am going thru it at this time. My husband has been gone for two years now, and I still can't get myself going. I work each day and really love my job, but when I come home at night, I sit. Week-ends are the worst. I have had so many interests and hobbies and now I have this terrible feeling of "What's the point?" or "Who cares?"
Does this feeling pass in time? I hate it. I want to become active and busy again, but I can't get myself into high gear. What is WRONG!!!!!!
Your letter was forwarded to me for a response. Thank you for letting me do so. I wish I could tell you that there's a magical time limit on grief, but there isn't. We all do it at our own pace and in our own way. Do you remember when they used to wear black for a year when someone had died? They knew something that we've forgotten; it takes a minimum of a year and usually more than that to recover. Anhedonia technically means loss of ability to experience pleasure in anything. You mentioned a few hopeful signs: at work you love your job. So, there is an ability to still feel some pleasure. At the two year point, there are some other signs to look for that may indicate you are healing or that you need to talk with someone professionally, or your doctor, to have your level of depression evaluated. Some times the normal grief process can get stuck and turn into a clinical depression. That's when intervention is appropriate. But even if that isn't going on, it might help to talk with someone professionally or join a grief support group.
Here are the warning signs for depression that would indicate seeing your doctor:
- Still having major problems with sleep, either too much or lack of.
- Still having problems with appetite or weight; again, loss or gain that's significant
- Concentration, attention and memory problems enough to interfere with your job or daily functioning
- Loss of interest
- Loss of motivation
- Depressed or sad mood the majority of the time
- Crying that happens at inappropriate times and is excessive
- Suicidal feelings
Some or all of those things may have been present after your husband died. See if you notice that they are changed in any way. Would you rate any of them as not as severe? When we feel bad some times, we don't notice subtle changes. If all of these areas or most are still incapacitating, please see your doctor. Depression can be treated and that will help with continuing to move through the grief process. If many of these areas are improved but you can't get past the lack of interest and motivation just at home, then seeing a professional, joining a grief support group, even finding a "buddy," a friend who will help get you out, may help.