I suppose I thought of this when I was reading the thread about being on your own at Christmas and knowing that some people are struggling for various reasons at this time of year. Its not remotely cat related but I thought perhaps people might like to share experiences of when they were at a low point in their life and what came along to lift them up and make life better. This might help those feeling unhappy at the moment that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and bad times don't last forever. Shall I start. I'm an only child, I lived with my parents up until I was in my late '20s and cared for my Mum who died in her 50's of lung cancer. I had always gone to church but, when Mum died my faith lapsed somewhat and I stopped going and I have to say I took a wrong path in life for many years which, looking back, made me very unhappy. In the 90's, by which time I was living on my own, my Dad was ill one Christmas with pneumonia and he literally collapsed and died in my arms, on New Year's Eve. I found myself alone with no family. Also, around about this time, I lost someone else very important to me who just walked out of my life. I can honestly say that was one of the lowest points of my life, along with my Mum dying, and I didn't know where to turn or what to do. I found life and work an absolute struggle. I was a very shy child and a not very confident adult who wouldn't do anything on her own, still don't to some degree. A chap at work, who was a Christian, suggested I go to an Alpha Course being run by his church. My first thought was 'no, I'm not going on my own' but then I thought 'hell, woman, you've had much more traumatic things going on in your life than this, do it'. So, I plucked up great courage and went along. It wasn't at all Bible bashing or trying to push people into religion or joining the church, it was just sitting round with other like minded people who had questions and opinions about Christianity. We had coffee, there was discussion, singing and my friend from work was there who played the guitar. Afterwards we were given a very nice meal. I came away feeling happier than I'd felt for a long time and wanting to go back the next week. The course only lasted six weeks but I can honestly say it was one of the best six weeks of my life. I met two people there, a husband and wife, who have become two of my best friends and who I see every week.. I still can't actually believe that I got through six weeks of going there on my own but it gave me the strength and courage to move on with life and not be afraid of it and it brought me back to God. I still don't go to church but faith plays a big part in my being able to cope with life and all the stuff it throws at you and I feel lucky to have what I have and my outlook on life is a lot brighter. Since then, there have still been times that I don't cope well but I get through. I was made redundant and had to re-train in a totally different career late in my 40s, I had a nervous breakdown nearly 10 years ago which ended with me giving up working where I'd been for forty years and I had to struggle for two years with little money until I got to pension age though I had my OH to help me. I believe we all need someone or something to help us get through life, whether it be faith, family, friends, whatever and I can only say, like I did, sometimes you do have to go out there and find it, it doesn't just come to you. I might regret opening myself up like this later as I'm a very private person but if it helps just one person feel a little more positive about their life and their future then, well, that's OK. Anyone else got a story?