28 October 2016

Lets talk about mental health during bereavement


Taboo still? most defiantly, I have written a few times about the state of my mental health I'm often pretty open about the fact I have suffered in the past with depression and anxiety and it does occasionally stop me from doing things and seeing myself in a positive light. But I wanted to talk about dealing with mental health issues whilst living with a bereavement. I make no bones about the fact the loss of my Mother has ripped my world apart, so today after living with the loss of my mum I plucked up the courage to speak to my GP about getting bereavement counseling, this was something I was offered back when my mother first died, but I consciously decided I needed to absorb in my own time what had just happened. 

The one person I would openly talk to about my depressive bouts and low moments was my mother come rain or shine she was the one that would absorb my angst and stress, often being the harsh and blunt voice of truth reminding me so many times how wonderful I am, now when that comfort blanket had been whipped away I knew I had to tread lightly with how I thought about myself and this very abrupt situation I found myself in, often going through periods of numbness because not thinking or feeling was the safest option I could muster at the time. But slowly I realised that's probably not the best way to deal with things.

Grief is an odd thing, like everything else it effects everyone differently, people have said to me I'm the strongest person they know and as I seek comfort in knowing this people don't see the struggle of reoccurring nightmare I have most nights of discovering my mothers lifeless body that morning, its this image that truly haunts me, I find myself playing down how awful it was for fear of upsetting people around me and not putting myself first in this situation has made it hard for me to articulate the real issue. I can cope with anything life throws at me but it's the hardest part for me and as I type this it physically hurts my heart, literally hurts and that's when it becomes consuming, now after a year I have realised its the right time to take this awful memory and hard hitting realities and find the courage to talk to someone because anyone coping alone can only do so much for themselves. If by talking to a professional will help lessen the hurt and guilt I feel I will happily take the brunt of being consider a crazy lady if it will help me make progress with myself. Something needs to change and staying the same and thinking the same wont help me or the people around me. 

I have some tremendously supportive friends, a courageous family but I think maybe having someone who's not emotionally attached to me to talk to will help me realise actually this is normal and it's part and parcel of dealing with a very traumatic experience. What I have realised since I first touched on my depression many years ago is how many people suffer alone with it, that's really shit. I have to some extent not spoken up fully about how my experience has effected my mental health. I think over time you learn to develop strategies for dealing with the feelings. So I am really hoping getting to speak to someone will help me realise what I am feeling is ok and natural and hopefully won't last forever. 

If you are personally dealing with any kind of loss or depressive bout or episode, try and find yourself someone to talk to, we need to realise even when we are at our lowest there are people who care enough about us to want to help. Also sometimes we have to be honest with ourselves and realise we aren't coping as well as we think we are and you know what that's ok. It's not weakness it's human nature, things pass but they may pass more bearably if we try to find the courage within ourselves to ask for help. It took me over a year to ask for help, it may prove to not be helpful but I figured it's the next step in dealing with the loss of my mother, people do unfortunately leave us and it's how we deal with the loss that determines where we head in this life, you can let it consume you, you can carry it with and be angry at the world or  you could realise it's sadly part of life and let it make you stronger. 

We must remember to be especially kind to ourselves during this period, mental health is hard enough to deal with at the best of times, self care and self love are so vital in helping people get through such hard periods, so tell yourself you're strong enough even sometimes when it feels like the easiest option is to fall apart.
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2 comments

  1. Bereavement counselling was one of the best things I did. Unfortunately it took me being signed off from work with stress and a break down to my GP 14 months after loosing my mum to cancer to get there. But it did help me process everything and made me much better knowing that I did all the best I could and made her last few weeks on this earth the best she could have. It's still hard and always will be but sometimes being able to process things better makes the pain a little bit softer to swallow. I hope you find some comfort in talking to someone and it helps you xxxx

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  2. I waited a year to get counselling after leaving an abusive relationship. Obviously a completely different situation but I also needed time to adjust to my new life (luckily, a more positive one for me) and get perspective on everything that had happened. Counselling and I ended up not fitting together very well but it's definitely worth trying. x

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