Hi Shawntelle: Thank you for reaching out and I am so sorry for the loss of your mother and the pain you are feeling. The holiday season and the transition into the new year can expose our grief; it all can feel a little more raw during a time of year full of memories and expectations.
Have you reached out for resources to help with the symptoms of anxiety and depression you're experiencing? Talking to a professional and getting some tools that can help you manage these totally normal responses can make all the difference (in your perception, your physical health, how you move forward, and so on). If you're not ready to go that direction, have you thought about talking to a trusted clergyperson, friend, or local grief support groups? Sometimes, just vocalizing what we're feeling helps tremendously.
I'll share what helped me when I felt lacking in purpose: 1) helping others. I started working with a nonprofit that serves women and children, and also taking pro bono cases to help other caregivers of cancer patients, and that lifted me up; and 2) this may sound a little silly, but throwing parties. In 2012-2013, I was so bereft by the loss of my parents, several friends, and a child we knew. I couldn't be happy for myself. But, as they say, the world keeps turning, and other people in my circles had things to be happy about. So, that year, I planned a baby shower for a friend, a cocktail party for my husband's leadership class (which led to me joining leadership and opening up lots of new friendships and business opportunities), and a wedding anniversary party for my in-laws. For that period of time, bringing joy to others was one of the only ways I could feel connected.
Is there any hobby or activity you used to do before caregiving that you would like to return to? Is there a cause or charity that speaks to you that you could volunteer your time and talents? My thoughts are that new things can fill these voids for us. They'll never replace your loved one, or your love for them, but they can give your brain and heart something to focus on and a bit of a direction in a direction-less time.
Sending you a big hug as you're missing your mom and moving into this next phase of your life.
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