Dear Fiona: My life has fallen apart – will I ever get out of this dark hole?

12 April 2022

The problem…

“In the space of only eight months, my life has gone to s***. Back at the start of 2020, I was genuinely happy with life. I had an excellent job – which I could do from home during the lockdowns – and my employer was apparently happy for me to do this. I also had a good marriage and we’d started to talk about starting a family.

“Then, last September my husband suddenly left me. At the time, he said he simply needed some space. However, I have since found out that he has shacked-up with a work colleague, and they had been seeing each other a lot before lockdown.

“Then my mother died, closely followed by my grandmother, both through Covid complications. That really hurt, as they were the two most stabilising influences in my life. The final straw came last month when I lost my job. It seems that all was not well with staff working from home, and due to a significant loss of business, cuts had to be made.

“Since then, I have pretty much ceased functioning and have lost interest in everything. I don’t go out, I sleep all day, can’t sleep at night, and find myself crying for no reason at all. My GP put me on antidepressants, but they don’t seem to be helping. I used to think I was in control of my life, but the fact is, none of us has a clue what’s going to happen.

“I feel I’m vanishing down a slippery dark hole and can’t get a grip to get out. Will it ever stop?”

Fiona says…

“Absolutely – but you need to give it time. You have had several painful body-blows in a truly short period of time, so it’s not surprising that you are struggling and in pain. Anyone might have buckled under this kind of emotional onslaught. And given such trauma, it’s important not to think that you can simply bounce back as though nothing has happened.

“You need to give yourself time to heal, and for the treatments to work. Firstly, talk to your GP about your medication. If, after a reasonable time, it is not helping, discuss the possibility of increasing the dose or trying a different medication. Also ask about counselling. I know current waiting lists for NHS counselling services are long, so if you feel you can’t wait (and you can afford it), consider seeing one privately.

“You can find counsellors in your area through the website of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (, where you will find a directory to search for local members. You could also contact your local Mind ( as they may be able to help too.

“I know you’ve lost two very close family members, but is there anyone else you could turn to for practical and emotional help? Friends perhaps, or other work colleagues who’ve been laid off? Being able to simply tell one other person how you feel can be immensely helpful. Finally, you may find it helpful to contact Cruse Bereavement Support ( as they have an online chat service, or you can phone them on 0808 808 1677. Readers in Scotland can contact”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

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