Life

Ask Fiona: My life is unravelling since losing my job

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships. This week: depression, abortion and dating

People in wheelchairs can often feel isolated when looking for friends and potential partners

SINCE I lost my job, I've become more and more depressed, but I've not been able to ask anyone for help as I can't explain to people what's wrong.

I've tried to find a new job, but because I've lost confidence, I've failed every interview I've been to.

I can't talk to my husband and our love life has ground to a halt, so he's becoming unhappy too – I'm terrified he's going to leave me.

I'm 33, but feel my life is falling apart and although I saw my doctor, he wanted me to see a psychiatrist, so I didn't go.

I don't need a shrink, I need a job, but it's a vicious spiral.

KJ

FIONA SAYS: I don't know what job you did before, but it seems like it meant a lot to you and your self-image and self-esteem were tied up in it.

Losing that job didn't change who you are, but you've allowed yourself to feel that, without it, you're somehow less of a person than you were before.

Do please go back to your doctor and ask for another referral to that psychiatrist, or whatever other help he feels would suit you.

You need help in re-defining who you are, so you learn to value yourself.

As for your husband, if you aren't able to tell him how you feel, show him the email you've written to me and it may help him understand.

He may well be unhappy, but he may be thinking that, in some way, it's his fault, so he needs to know what's going on before things get worse between you.

You have a lot to offer and if there is no immediate prospect of a new job, consider doing something on a voluntary basis.

Feeling that you are doing something worthwhile may be all you need to give your self-esteem a boost.

HE DOESN'T WANT A BIG WHITE WEDDING – AND I DO

MY fiance and I are due to get married soon.

I've always wanted a big wedding with bridesmaids and friends and family there, but he says he doesn't want all the fuss and expense.

He says the cost is exorbitant and we'd do better to put the money towards our first house.

We're arguing about it all the time – I can see the sense of it, but this is supposed to be the most special day of my life and I've dreamed about it since I was little.

How can I get him to understand?

PD

FIONA SAYS: In any good marriage there needs to be compromise.

At present, neither of you seems to feel like compromising, which doesn't really bode well for your future together unless you're both willing to try.

These days there are so many options – you don't have to have the ceremony at a church or a posh hotel in order for it to be special.

Many register offices are now really attractive and can accommodate several guests.

Your wedding dress doesn't have to be brand new – there are bargains to be found on eBay and other sale sites, and some charity shops offer them too – they can be as good as new.

I went to a wedding recently where the family had decorated the room themselves and the guests all enjoyed fish and chips together, brought in from the local chippy.

It couldn't have felt more special because everyone had such fun.

I suggest you and your fiance really talk about this – I'm sure, if you really want to, you can find a way of getting married that will make you both happy.

MY LOVE LIFE IS HINDERED BY MY WHEELCHAIR

I'm a 45-year-old man who uses a wheelchair, which doesn't stop me from doing much except getting dates.

I'd like to get to know people, but as soon as they see I'm in a wheelchair, they're not interested.

I have a full-time job, my own home and car, but none of this matters if I don't have anyone to share it with.

LP

FIONA SAYS: You talk about your job but you don't talk about a social life – do you get out and about with friends?

Probably the easiest way of getting people to see past your disability is for them to get to know you socially first, so, if you're not joining in with groups and associations, please think about it.

There are disabled dating services, but I'm not sure how successful they are.

With the bigger online dating sites, you can give as much information about yourself as you like and, as they have vast numbers of people on their books, that in itself increases your chances.

Telling people before you meet them that you use a wheelchair means they won't reject you on sight because of it.

It's worth getting in touch with Scope (www.scope.org.uk) because they have a large network of support organisations they could refer you to that might help you meet new people.

Life

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