Hi! I believe I can be of help with this situation.
First let me say that I can imagine how worrisome and frustrating your life situation must seem to you. I am going to answer your question with the ways for you to help the situation in the best ways possible. I will also at the end of the posting give you a technique you can use to help when you need to stop yourself from emotional eating because the life anxiety is what's really coming on. It will help your find some temporary relief with that anxiety and the desire to eat to make it go away and give you a CHANCE to make a different choice rather than eat right then.
I am going to recommend that you see a psychotherapist to work on something: negativity; your own negativity that you may have picked up from your mother and then refined into your own style. It is now becoming more prominent. I am not recommending therapy because there is a disorder. Therapy can be SO helpful in a situation like this where your life is moving but you don't feel you are directing it in the way you want it to go! In this sense talking to and establishing a therapeutic relationship with a therapist can help you break through those barriers you've set up within yourself without noticing, the barriers that keep you from realizing the future you want to have.
I have found that with your situation you will do better with a more introspective, humanistic approach in therapy. If we actually look inside, we can find great relief and meaning. And we can feel whole in ourselves in ways that we haven't for decades.
I, therefore, recommend to you to interview specific types of psychologists. I would like you to interview psychologists who have a more humanistic focus. For example, one therapy that might be very useful to you: The therapy is called Focusing. It was founded by a great psychologist named Eugene Gendlin. I use these techniques in my practice often. Here is the link to the Focusing Institute:
They have a list of certified therapists and you may find one in your area. The idea here isn't that this type of therapy is magic. It's that I want you to find a therapist who will form a strong therapeutic alliance with you and will help you look at the insight you have into yourself that is what I'm so encouraged about.
Here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (you can see a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list humanistic therapy in their orientations.
The idea here isn't that these two types of therapy are magic. It's that I want you to find a therapist who will form a strong therapeutic alliance with you and will help you look at the sources of both the depression AND the strength within yourself.
I want to also, though, bring up the subject of HOPE!
To bring you a measure of HOPE and some confidence, I'm going to take a moment to have you bookmark two videos that will give you just a moment's break from your own difficulties and will be inspiring. It's not to be curative; it's to give you a sense that we all live in the same world and we all have such different challenges and tests and we all have the ability to come to a good place in life:
Here's one about a young man who has a hard road in life but also had a dream:
The next is about a severely autistic girl. Let's see if she can help us here just a bit in the hope department:
Let's start with some self work. the most important part of this self work is the reorienting of your view of life. Your current view is dominated by focusing on what' not going right and what isn't done right. That domination is an attitude. I want you to reorient your attitude to one of HOPE. Hope is not a magic potion; hope is part of confidence. I want to make sure that your confidence system is in place. Because negative thoughts and blame can sap the confidence out of a person. Confidence is something that comes with experience, and you're 47 years old and you've had many, many experiences. So what confidence does that bring you? The confidence to know that you've survived to this day! That you are a survivor. That you have made it and will continue to make it through life and learn and grow as a person. You've made it; you are a person who makes it through the difficulties!
That your daughter is living with grandma, for instance, is okay. You can still take her out to Starbucks to see what HER life is about and to listen. This will begin to repair that relationship and create the one you want. This is just one example of what you can be working on in therapy. Print out my answer and take it with you to therapy to work from it...
I wish you the very best!
Here are instructions on a therapeutic protocol called Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). It's really quite easy to do almost anywhere. My patients suffering from anxiety, when I teach them PMR at first are amazed how simple it is and that it is a psychological protocol. It was first used in the 1920s! Since then, of course, it has been refined and many studies have been done showing its effectiveness. You will practice PMR at first when you don't wake up with an attack so that you will be familiar with it. I want you to practice the PMR at least 5-6 times before an attack or feeling acute anxiety. Why? Because when you're in the throes of anxiety even if it just seems like sleeplessness, you will only remember to do something you are very familiar with it. So practicing 5-6 times is really a minimum.
I want to stress the importance of breathing as well. Part of the physiology of what is happening to you when there is anxiety is that your breathing is getting shallower. This reduces the oxygen in your blood to your brain. That increases the anxiety reaction, which strengthens the attack and you are in a vicious cycle! Not good. So breathing is the primary tool. I have found in my practice that learning breathing techniques can be helpful. But some of my patients are not interested in learning more than one thing at the beginning, so I have found that just reminding you to BREATHE deeply at the same time you are doing PMR is almost as good. If you are willing to take a yoga class for seniors and learn breathing techniques, that's the best. But, breathing deeply with your PMR will help.
So, we're ready for learning PMR. I want you to print my instructions below my signature and have a copy in each of the rooms of your home where you may be when you have an attack. And again, you need to practice this easy technique at least 5-6 times as soon as you can. It needs to become as natural to you as breathing. Ah, remember breathing?
- After finding a quiet place and several free minutes to practice progressive muscle relaxation, sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable.
- Begin by tensing all the muscles in your face. Make a tight grimace, close your eyes as tightly as possible, clench your teeth, even move your ears up if you can. Hold this for the count of eight as you inhale.
- Now exhale and relax completely. Let your face go completely lax, as though you were sleeping. Feel the tension seep from your facial muscles, and enjoy the feeling.
- Next, completely tense your neck and shoulders, again inhaling and counting to eight. Then exhale and relax.
- Continue down your body, repeating the procedure with the following muscle groups:
- entire right arm
- right forearm and hand (making a fist)
- right hand
- entire left arm
- left forearm and hand (again, making a fist)
- left hand
- entire right leg
- lower right leg and foot
- right foot
- entire left leg
- lower left leg and foot
- left foot
- for the shortened version, which includes just four main muscle groups:
- neck, shoulders and arms
- abdomen and chest
- buttocks, legs and feet
Quickly focusing on each group one after the other, with practice you can relax your body like ‘liquid relaxation’ poured on your head and it flowed down and completely covered you. You can use progressive muscle relaxation to quickly de-stress any time.
What You Need:
- A comfortable place.
- Some privacy.
- A few minutes.