Grief

After a death, looking forward can feel almost impossible. However, most people after the initial shock begin to adapt to living and being without the person who has died. The change happens gradually, but over a period of time you will begin to notice that you are less consumed and preoccupied by the loss.

Initially you may be consumed with thoughts surrounding the death, and the person who has died, but as time moves on you will begin to ‘forget’, to begin with it will be for a few short moments, building to hours and eventually for days at a time. This is not a betrayal and it certainly does not mean that the loss means any less. It is natural to not think about a person, we do it all of the time with our living friends, family and acquaintances.

The goal of the grieving process is to learn to live with loss. As you grieve, your life can slowly begin to feel meaningful and pleasurable once again. You will at times be taken by surprise – a piece of music, a smell or place may remind you of the person who has died, and you will find yourself overwhelmed with grief all over again. This, too, lessens in time.

For some the experience of grieving can change their world view. They may reassess priorities, values, beliefs, hopes, dreams and aspirations, they may even re-evaluate friendships.

Create a memory box, you may choose to place a photograph inside your box, a piece of clothing, maybe jewellery or some other items that remind you of the person who has died. If none of these are available to you, try to recall a special place or event that held meaning to the person who has died, and write about that, placing your wonderful memories in the box, with perhaps a pebble from the beach, a football programme maybe, or the ticket stubs from the show you enjoyed together, the kind of things that you might add is yours to decide.

Self-Care is important, even when you feel you can’t be bothered, or that there is little point, try to eat, even a little bit will be appreciated by your mind and body. Try to bath or shower regularly, cleansing our body in warm water can lift our mood. Often when we are feeling sad and overwhelmed our body and mind want to ‘shut down’, remember that sleep has a restorative value, so allow yourself to rest a while. Equally getting some exercise has a beneficial alchemy, it is a way of releasing sadness, tension, frustration and anger, and so even though you may not feel like it today, it does usually help.
Grieving takes time, it is a process, but eventually your life will grow around your grief.

Give yourself credit for surviving each day that passes.

Self-Talk that helps you become smarter and feel better about yourself

GOAL SETTING; Setting a goal and making a plan, for example (What to do, when to do it, how to do it) can be a big help. You might just make a list. However, saying your goal out loud focuses your attention and reinforces the message, this in turn controls your runaway emotions and screens out those pesky distractions.

COMPLIMENTS; if you feel you deserve them, then give them to yourself (out loud). Do not wait for others to recognise your achievement, and offer the compliment to you. Your small or big acts that take care of you are important. For instance, you may have been really tempted to eat that cake, or have another alcoholic drink, but you remembered your commitment to yourself to lose a few pounds or reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. This certainly deserves a compliment “I’m proud of you”. You may have found time to finally get around to having the clear up you had been intending on doing over the last year, again celebrate your achievement with a self-compliment “well done me, great job”.

MOTIVATION; you might be struggling with difficult or mundane tasks, or keeping to those goals you set for yourself. Remind yourself of the why you set the goal, or the task that requires your attention, then with a kind voice to yourself “I have the energy to succeed today, so how about getting started right now”. Don’t forget to compliment yourself along the way, “well done me, I managed to get that job done” or “well done me, I stayed on track with avoiding unhealthy food and drink”

OUTER DIALOGUE; Choices are not always easy. Often we respond or react impulsively due to habit or our personal anxiety. Now is the time to create an out loud conversation with yourself, this way you will ‘hear’ what you think. An example of this might go something like this, “I would like to stay because xxxxxxx, however, I want to go because of yyyyyyy. I need to work out which decision is right for me”. Engaging in this self-dialogue can help you to make a compromise or a conciliation between your wants, your needs and other people’s expectations.

Regardless of living by yourself or with other people, you are constantly ‘living with’ your own self. Respectfully engage with your self-talk, it is not a sign of insanity or ‘losing the plot’. It is a sign of good mental health. Remember, you have the right and deserve to extend ‘Self-love and Self-compassion’ to yourself. Be your own advocate.

Wishing you all a happy and successful 2018, whatever your personal goals might be.

Amanda J

The Art – and Science – of Sharing a Secret

July 9 2014 / Jessica Gross

Studies show the personal health benefits of sharing your private hopes and fears with trusted confidantes. But what if you feel alone?

You keep secrets from each other; you keep secrets from yourselves. Secrets bond you; secrets drive you apart. Keeping a secret can be a burden, or it can delight you. Sharing secrets can be a relief, whether it’s with your old friend or new therapist.

For children, learning to keep secrets is a vital developmental milestone. In one study, researchers asked kids who were three, four, and five to play hide-and-seek and to keep a secret about a surprise. Abilities to do the two tasks correlated strongly with each other, and with the kids’ social cognition. At three, the kids were fairly hopeless at these tasks; by five, most of them could keep a secret, and had the cognitive development to match.

For adults, this is expected behavior. “Virtually all adults of normal intellectual and psychological functioning do keep personal secrets at one time or another,” writes Anita E. Kelly, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, in The Psychology of Secrets.

Yet across ages and cultures, multiple studies show the personal health benefits of sharing your private hopes and fears with trusted confidantes — and the corresponding detriment of keeping some secrets entirely to yourself.

Which secrets should you not be entirely alone with? Secrets motivated by shame. The research is clear: shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression and violence. The first step away from shame can be as close as a shared secret and the words “me too.” As Brene Brown (TED Talk: Listening to shame) explained so eloquently in 2012, “If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive.”

If no trusted confidante comes to mind, then it may be appropriate to share that “shameful” secret with someone new. Just being listened to by a kind and empathetic stranger can sometimes provide relief, says suicide prevention counselor Kevin Briggs (TED Talk: The bridge between suicide and life). And if you’re not yet ready to share your secret out loud, the act of writing it down and turning it into shared art can sometimes be transformative.

A decade ago, Frank Warren (TED Talk: Half a million secrets) founded an ongoing community art project that transformed his own secrets, in addition to many others. His project, called PostSecret, is a curated compendium of never-before-shared secrets, artistically rendered on postcards and mailed to him by anonymous strangers. Yes, Warren had a tedious job back in 2004 and was looking for a meaningful project to do on the side, but “I think a deeper motivation might have been secrets I’d been carrying in my own life, secrets I’d been keeping from myself,” he says. “In some ways, maybe PostSecret is this art project that’s made just as much for me to reconcile with secrets I’ve been haunted by.”

Since 2004, over a million people have mailed Warren postcards with their secrets written (and often depicted) on the back; he keeps them in an ever-growing pile in his house. “It shocks me every time I look at the pyramid,” he says. “It’s taller than me. I’m 6’3”.”

Over a million people have mailed Warren postcards with their secrets written (and often depicted) on the back; he keeps them in an ever-growing pile in his house. “It shocks me every time I look at the pyramid,” he says. “It’s taller than me. I’m 6’3”.”

While a creative impulse may motivate some of those million-plus PostSecret sharers, others just want to create connection. For a similar project called OneHelloWorld, Jared Brickman (watch his TEDxSyracuseUniversity Talk), invites strangers to leave him voicemails, which he musically scores. Since August 2010, he’s received tens of thousands of them, “way more than I can hope to record music to.” The voicemails don’t all contain secrets, but for those that do, callers often reference the need to get something off their chests, to just “share this with somebody,” Brickman says. “For some folks, they don’t feel like they have anybody else, and those might be some of the most upsetting ones, with such a big, beautiful populous planet,” he adds. “If you feel like you’re in a really vulnerable situation, or you’re feeling really vulnerable, you can call in and talk into the dark.” Brickman and Warren are collaborating on a PostSecret album to be released in the fall of 2014.

Sharing secrets with strangers doesn’t put your ego at risk, like sharing with intimates does. But Warren points out that sharing secrets anonymously can also be a rehearsal for telling the people you care about. “It’s a way of putting your secret in words and, first of all, admitting it to yourself, and then finding the courage to share it with a stranger,” he says. “At that point — especially if you’re getting feedback that makes you realize that your secret is more normal than you might imagine — that can be a way to drop that burden of shame and become ready to share it with a parent, a spouse, a psychiatrist, a friend.”

Truly intimate relationships depend on really seeing another person, which means knowing the deep reaches that not everyone has access to. We can never completely merge with another, nor should we — being an adult requires maintaining healthy boundaries — but sharing these tender parts of ourselves allows others to love us, just as accepting others’ secrets allows us to love them.

“I believe secrets are the currency of intimacy, and I think by sharing them we can not only develop stronger relationships with friends and family, but maybe get a better understanding of who we are. So I feel like secrets are transformative,” Warren says. “I think the sweet spot, in terms of intimacy, is to share more of the secrets than we feel comfortable with. But never all of them.”

 

ideas.ted.com

The art — and science — of sharing a secret

IAPT or Counselling…

In 2016 a research study was undertaken to look at the effectiveness of the IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapy) services. After careful analysis the indication is that ‘Counselling is as effective in the treatment of Depression as is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy’ https://link.springer.com

I am aware that the waiting times for ‘Talking Therapies’ from the IAPT service is extensive, and in many cases patients have had to wait several months. I am personally saddened that a system designed to support you, is at this time struggling to cope with the high volume of individuals requiring psychological support.

I can offer support by means of Integrative Talking Therapy’s and CBT approaches, tailored to fit your psychological need. I have extensive experience working alongside individuals who have sought counselling for depression, low mood, anxiety and many other issues that caused for them dis-harmony and unhappiness.

If you have reached a point where you would like to take back control of your psychological well being in order to be the best that you can possibly be, why not give me a call, or send me an e-mail, you have nothing to lose and only your sense of well being to re-gain.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Amanda