Sometimes in our lives, we need the support and help of our families and friends as well as professionals. This is especially true during a relationship break up and will help both you and your children.
Therapists, counsellors, life coaches and advisors all have your interests at heart. Lots of free help is available, and the best place to start is your local health centre or GP.
Give yourself some time
If you do decide to seek professional help, do not expect miracles to happen overnight. Having counselling is a process that can take some time, but by taking this first step, you will begin to re build your life. Talking to a complete stranger about your inner most thoughts and feelings is not easy for everyone. However, many people find it easier to talk to complete strangers than to their friends and family.
Although it sounds scary, having counselling can be an essential part of your health and wellbeing, and lots of people have asked for professional help. Celebrities are always happy to reveal the fact that they are seeing a therapist, so there is no reason for you to feel uncomfortable about it.
Organisations and groups that can help you
The one organisation that everyone has heard of is RELATE. Formerly the Marriage Guidance Bureau, RELATE has offices all over the country and is undoubtedly the most well known organisation that can help anyone with any element of their relationship. There are also dozens of websites that offer on line advice, forums, chat rooms and features and articles – a lot of this information is provided by experienced single parents who really know what you are going through, and have experienced many of the same situations themselves and survived. If you don’t have access to the internet at home, visit your local library or cyber cafe.
Single parent support groups
A good way to find out about help and support is to join a local group that supports single parents. Most areas have groups that meet in village halls, sports centres or at other venues on a regular basis and they are a great source of support. Talk to your GP or health visitor about help and advice, they will have information leaflets, contact numbers and names and you may even find that a regular drop in group meets at your local health centre.
Asking for help can be daunting and can make you feel as though you are failing, in fact you are making positive steps to change your situation and this should be seen as a very positive achievement.
Becoming a single parent is a shock, and your life will change quickly and dramatically. You may find that initially you are so sad, angry and upset that you operate on auto pilot for a while and just stumble through each day without giving it too much thought. You may also be so completely determined to cope and show the world that you can manage your life on your own with your children, and that you don’t need anyone’s help at all.
However, as time goes on you may well find that things change and you become less able to cope. A big reason for this may be tiredness, but you may also need professional help at this point to help you deal with what has happened to you, and move forward. Many single parents that find that although the first year was the hardest in many ways, it was the second and third years of single parenting when they found they needed counsellors or other professionals to help them find a strategy for managing their feelings and coping with difficulties.
Asking for help and support from your friends and family, and perhaps later from a professional, is not a sign of weakness, but an indication that you are recognising that you need some help and guidance during a very difficult time of your life.