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Lost The 'drive'..

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How do you bring back the "drive"? the desire to improve one's self? the desire to learn something new, or to go with your goal? I've lost this drive and it seems hard to get it back. I still want to achieve some goals, yet I couldnt find the focus, the desire to go for them unlike before. My mind is willing to try again, but my body is tired..

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Lyn, I understand what you are saying. I also have lost the drive. One minute I feel like I'm going to accomplish something, the next I feel too tired. My mind and body have not connected back to where I was prior to Larry's death. It gets really frustrating because there are things I want to do. Some days are better than others. I think its grief's way of telling us to slow down, still rest and take it one task at a time. Deborah

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Boy, can I relate to this one...

This is exactly where I feel I'm stuck at times. The grief is softening a bit (18 months now since my loss). I just feel at a loss of where to go with myself (having found out that a new relationship isn't the answer).

It's really all up to us. It can be a wonderful opportunity, as lousy as the reason is that it exists.

Personally I feel like I'm waiting for something to happen. Just trying to stay "open" to possibilities. I know that i've got to take some initiative at some point, otherwise I'll just rot while I'm waiting. I've been slightly depressed a couple of times earlier in life and pulled myself out of it, but losing ones other half is a huge on to "get over". I'm trying to not be too self-critical, but there may come a point that I'll just need to get in gear and start trying things.

I was watching "Dr. Phil" the other night... he was working with a family where the husband was beating himself up over some bad financial decisions and was having trouble letting go of his guilt. Dr. Phil said: "Rocking is certainly something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere." It really hit home a bit for me. There's certainly a righteousness we feel about the seriousness of the loss we feel, however I think there comes a point that we have to take charge of our lives again. If we don't, we end up wasting what's left of our lives. I think our lost partners would much prefer we live out our lives fully than spend the remainder of our lives pining for them.

WE just need to keep at it, with patience and self-compassion.

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I don't know how to get it back, maybe it just takes time, I don't know. I'm not at all the same as I was before. I used to be so high energy and driven...now, my heart just isn't in it. I don't know if it ever comes back.

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I know exactly what you mean even though its only been less than 5 months for me and to soon to focus on any kind of “drive” I think of my future and I feel all the goals I had in life involved Jack and the day he left I feel all my dreams left with him because it all seems so useless now. I know I had a drive before I met him but I can’t remember what I forgot all that the day I met him and now to try to focus on building a new goal in life without him just seems impossible. I feel my life is pretty much over now so I just try to focus on furthering my daughter’s goal and her future I really have no other desire for myself anymore just whatever accomplishment is best for her. Sorry to be no help but hopefully one day a door can open for all of us and we can all find strength to achieve our dreams.



Edited by mfarah
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Hi Lyn,

I don't know the answer, but if anyone finds it I would certainly appreciate them letting me in on it. I have tried to get back into my work and it is an interesting profession. I loved it up until I lost my wife. Now I can barely stand to face it. Every day is just another battle to try and care. I think I have lost that fight and I am taking early retirement. I am reluctant to say it but I think I have come to the point I have to change my life or end my life and I'm taking the only way out I can. I am not the same person I was before and at present I'm not sure what I want to do with the rest of my life. I have simply got to have some time to figure out who I am and where I"m going.

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I have to agree with Mrcelloboy, we have to take charge of our lives. We are all very loving and caring people, and I know this because if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be grieving for our lost soulmate.

This evening I went to dinner with my daughter-n-law and granddaughter, which she is 3 years old. As we were setting at the restaurant, Cadence looked up at me and said, “Grammy, have the doctors made Pawpaw better yet?” I responded to her, “No baby, remember I told you Pawpaw was in Heaven and he wasn’t sick anymore. I told her she can talk to him anytime she wants and he can hear her”. She looked up at me and said, “No Grammy, see “Pawpaw, do you hear me?” See Grammy he isn’t answering me”. Well that broke my heart… I hugged her and told her that he can hear her and she will always feel his presence in her heart. She will always be his little angel.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching for the last couple of weeks and I don’t want to give up. Yes, I have my very bad days where I don’t want to go to work, I don’t want to get out of bed, I want to hide in my house and cry my eyes out, but I know I have to force myself to go on living.

Last year I would go with my husband to MD Anderson Cancer Center and I’d be sitting in the waiting rooms and even in Mike’s hospital room and I’d watch some of the volunteers that would come around doing whatever they needed to do to cheer families or patients up. Some were some dressed as clowns, Santa, etc. and I would see the smiles on the families and patients faces. Anyway, today I made a call to the Medical Center in Houston and told them I’d like to volunteer to work a few hours a weekend as a volunteer at one of the hospitals, and that I’d really love spending time with the children. I explained my situation and they agreed that I don’t need to be with cancer or terminally ill patients, but working with the kids would not only help me, but help them.

I’m not telling any of you to do something like this, but I am trying to tell you, that there is someone either family, friends or someone you don’t even know yet that needs your compassion.

All my love,


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Hi, I wanted to add an additional comment to this topic. It seems so strange to me that those before me in my family that have lost a spouse never mentioned to me any of the experiences I am having in working through the loss of Larry. No one has spoken to me and said well you will probably feel fatigued, or can't concentrate or won't feel like going on, etc. I did not know what to expect or still expect in the grief journey and I'm always so hard on myself thinking somethings wrong with me. You would think my own mother who lost her husband (my father at 47) would share her knowledge and how she coped. I honestly don't know how to deal with the physical part, the exhaustion, the mental fogginess. I have to continue with my work for financial reasons. I have to take care of the house, the yard, the dogs, the shopping and my work while feeling like my body is stuck in quick sand. No wonder just ending it all has always felt like it would be such a relief. Deborah

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Lynn,Deborah and all, I don´t know if you can bring the ¨drive¨ back by trying to do so. After fifteen months I am just begining to learn that grief has its own timetable; a schedule as individual as you, your loved one and your relationship was. It seems that you can postpone, or delay the process quite easily, but you will still have to experience the whole of it in its entirety. In fact, I think the longer you fight, the longer you struggle to forge ahead as you always have; the more difficult your grieving process will be. Try something new when you feel you can maintain the interest, when you want to spend time with somebody else doing something different, not just because you think you should. In another section MartyT talks about doing our grief work. It sounds strange to me, but this may be what she is refering to, the process of accepting where we are and learning who we are and becoming comfortable with that before we try something new. Deborah, this may be why so many people that have lost spouses are unable to give us much help. They reach out to us because they know what we are experiencing, but are afraid to get to close. Who knows what would happen if this terrible monster we are living with should arouse the one they hope has finally fallen asleep. Maybe when we recover it will be difficult to remember what today was like. I am having trouble remembering what my life was like sixteen months ago. I know it was great. Even then I knew how blessed I was, but I can´t remember the feeling. It is just gone, I feel empty. Will we be able to put these things in words five years from now? I don´t know. I do know where to send the next person I meet that is walking this hard road. Maybe finding everyone here is the best we could hope for.

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I know about feeling overwhelmed. A couple of months ago I was wishing I would have been the one that died instead of my husband. Trying to work, take care of a house, dogs, yard, pool, 2 cars and I finally went to a grief counselor and she told me, “I know it easy for me to say but you are going to put yourself in a early grave if you don’t stop driving yourself crazy trying to take care of everything just like you and your husband did. The house cleaning and yard work will be there next week, you need to take a break at least 1 day of the week and relax. That was hard for me; I wanted everything to look as good as it did when my husband was alive. I know now, I just can’t do it all. So I do a little at a time during the week and it still all gets done. I also realized when I need help, there’s nothing wrong with letting friends or family know, and I’m not superwomen! As far as my 1 day a week break, I joined a bowling league on Friday nights. That night out, really helps me get a new handle of my life.

This is what my counselor gave me about normal grieving, it helps me understand that all these feelings I am having are very normal and it will get better. Hope this helps..




* Shock * Disbelief

* Numbness * Confusion

* Relief * Inability to concentrate

* Emancipation * Preoccupation with thoughts of deceased

* Sadness * Sense of Presence

* Yearning * Visual and auditory hallucinations

* Anxiety (fear) * Dreams of deceased

* Anger * Sense of going crazy

* Guilt & Self-reproach

* Loneliness


* Abandonment * Sleep disturbances

* Feeling out of control * Appetite disturbance

* Searching and calling out


* Hollowness in stomach * Sighing

* Tightness in chest * Absent-minded behavior

* Tightness in throat * Restless overactivity

* Heart palpitations * Visiting places or carrying objects that

* Over sensitivity to noise remind one of deceased

* Sense of depersonalization (nothing * Avoidance of reminders of deceased

seems real, including self) * Social withdrawal

* Breathlessness * Lack of capacity to intitate and maintain

* Lack of energy patterns of activities

* Dry mouth * Identification with the deceased

* Gastrointestinal disturbances

* Lack of sexual desire

adapted from Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy by J.J. Worden, Ph.D.

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Thank you for your replies, it helps to know that someone understands. It can really get frustrating at times. I used to be driven too, but all that changed, now I tend to procrastinate a lot, and I know it's not doing me any good.

I feel tired 'though I am not doing lots of physical works, the emotional exhaustion sucks. Last night I went to bed reflecting on what I really want to do, but my mind is just too tired to focus, so I end up praying that I hope I can sleep well the rest of the night.

Part of me is scared of making plans now for my future. After what Ive gone through it's hard to build dreams again, but I have to try.

I have been doing lots of volunteer work too and it helps a lot. Almost 10 months and I noticed the tears dont come much often now, but the heaviness lingers everyday. I have read what Marty wrote on the other thread about allocating a certain amount of each day going through your grief. I want to try it maybe it will work for me.

I just feel sad that I've lost the drive and well, I dont know what to do about it.

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Dear Ones,

As painful as it is to be where you are now, I can only tell you that it is normal and necessary for you to be there.

In his insightful books about coping with significant loss (Transitions; The Way of Transition), author William Bridges notes that every transition requires spending some time in what he calls the neutral zone – a seemingly unproductive "time-out" when we feel totally disconnected from people and things in the past and emotionally unconnected to the present. During this time, he says, "we aren't sure what is happening to us or when it will be over. We don't know whether we are going crazy or becoming enlightened . . . the old reality looks transparent and nothing feels solid anymore." Unfortunately, he says, this neutral zone "is the phase of the transition process that the modern world pays least attention to. Treating ourselves like appliances that can be unplugged and plugged in again at will or cars that stop and start with the twist of a key, we have forgotten the importance of fallow time and winter and rests in music. We have abandoned a whole system of dealing with the neutral zone through ritual, and we have tried to deal with personal change as though it were some kind of readjustment. In so doing, we have lost any way of making sense of the lostness and confusion that we encounter when we have gone through disengagement or disenchantment or disidentification (p. 130)."

In her book, Tough Transitions: Navigating Your Way through Difficult Times, Elizabeth Harper Neeld writes that when our old assumptive world has been shattered by significant loss, it takes time to build a new one, and we must allow ourselves the time and space we'll need for Reviewing:

We have to find new purpose and meaning where the old has been destroyed. We have to examine and reflect on what we now believe, what we now know. We have to establish new patterns. Make new habits. Think new thoughts. In this interim between the shattering of an assumptive world and the building of a new one, we often experience deep sorrow, sadness, sometimes even depression. Often we feel we have lost our identity. We may feel consumed with anger or guilt. We may wonder if anything is ever going to be worthwhile again. Or we may just feel devastatingly tired (p. 49).

What are some helpful strategies for navigating this neutral zone? Bridges recommends the following:

•Find a regular time and place to be alone – "a genuine sort of aloneness in which inner signals can make themselves heard."

•Begin a log of neutral zone experiences – Pick a day and describe your mood, what happened that day, what you thought about or puzzled over, what decisions you wish you could have made, what dreams you remember having.

•Write an autobiography – Reminiscing helps you make sense of the past and suggests possibilities for the future.

•Discover what you really want – Use this time to think about and identify what you really want out of your life.

•Take a neutral zone retreat – Take some time away to go on your own version of a passage journey. Spend a few days alone, in as simple and quiet a setting as possible, during which you reflect consciously on the transition process in your own life just now.

In a similar vein, Elizabeth Harper Neeld suggests that we use what she calls Reviewing Time to pause and examine: "to take a second look. To reconsider, rethink, and reflect on how this tough transition is affecting our lives. To ask, 'What do I need to see? What reassessment can I make? What might I do differently?'" She encourages the use of creative activities such as the expressive arts, writing, prayer, meditation, listening to music; and imagining possibility: exploring, making lists, learning just to be (mindfulness), and practicing active waiting (paying attention). Elizabeth's Web site contains a number of readings and practical suggestions, including "things that help when life gets tough" and "things that have brought Elizabeth joy."

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Okay, well all that is well and good but I have to laugh out loud at the "scheduling alone time"...alone is all I seem to have! :blush:

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Not to keep going over this topic but what keeps me frustrated is what do you do if you HAVE to keep up with your work (I have to earn money), you have to cut your grass (no one else is coming to do it), you have to take care of your pets (again, no one else cares for mine and Larry's dogs) and so on. So what do you do when your body says ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I probably haven't taken a day off to contemplate my life for the last two years, I've been trying to hold on. I don't think I have that luxury.

Marty, thanks for the great info. It describes the way I feel, one foot in my previous life and the other foot in a world I don't understand.

And today marks 2 years and 5 months since my life forever changed. Remmebering Larry with all my love. Deborah

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Gosh, how many times I been told I look like a train wreck, personally, I mowed my lawn every week and kept a beard for a day or two, easy hiding in the facade of the home we live in, out there, we seem "OK" but remembering to eat, getting enough sleep, seems difficult. I have exhausted myself pretty much to the point of no return, if I don't do it all today, then its not at all, isn't that where our spouses would tell us to time out? Please turn off the autopilot, this rides making me sick, just once I'd like to hear silence and the whisper of our loved one saying, "I still love you too"


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I DO have to do everything and it shows! My yard is a mess, I don't have money to hire someone, and try as I might, I never can keep up with the dusting...add 2 1/2 - 3 hours a day for commuting on top of my full time work, and I don't have much time. Plus I have work on the side that I do (card-making/selling) to help pay for groceries and gas that I can't afford on my salary with the current inflation level, and there goes another two hours a day. My "thinking time" is when I'm driving and sometimes I think I'd be better off without it! Of course, there are the wee hours of the night too when you can't shut your brain off...guess that's another reason I'm on medication.

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