A Helping Hand

Our greatest lessons often reveal themselves in times of despair, and the past few months have certainly been challenging in terms of my journey with Parkinson’s. My health steadily declined; I became less and less mobile, energy levels plummeted, my anxiety was out of control, and I was basically losing the ability to manage my own body and do even the simplest of tasks.  All of this left me feeling isolated, devastated and extremely vulnerable. I therefore segregated myself from others so that I could hide my imperfect body and the symptoms that were becoming more and more difficult to hide.  I had lost myself.

However, everything that happens to us has the potential to help us to grow, and this was not a wasted experience. I realised how deeply grateful I was for the support of those who love and care for me, they caught me when I fell. This very difficult time in my life reminded me how incredibly lucky I was to have these kind and loving people in my life.

I also learned that I needed to ask for help, I never want to be a burden to others and so I find it hard to accept help or to even ask for it. However, we all need help at times, to varying degrees depending on our circumstances, and needing help does not make you weak. I consider myself to be very resilient and have always been able to bounce back from life’s challenges but sometimes you just can’t deal with things on your own, and this was one such time. Life got better when I expressed how bad things were and got help. Others don’t know what you need unless you ask, and they can’t be expected to read your mind, so just ask for help.

I am surrounded by kind and caring people who are concerned about my wellbeing, they gladly gave up their time to help me and never made it feel like a chore or like they resented me. They wanted nothing from me, and despite their own commitments they just wanted to help.

People are often afraid to ask someone if they need help as it may not always be wanted. I would advise that you simply ask what support is needed, those with chronic illnesses are often trying to hold on to what independence they do have, and it is important not to disempower them.  The offer of practical support can be invaluable; things like taking the dog for a walk, going to the shop, or dropping over a cooked meal can be a great help. Just listening to someone and creating space to allow them to articulate what they are going through is equally important, this can provide a sanctuary where they don’t have to be pretend to be fine. Ask questions to understand, offer your time and presence, be patient, don’t judge, and just make the person feel recognised and encouraged.

Maya Angelou – ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel’.

Having been on the receiving end of such kindness, it is important for me to ‘pay it forward’. I will endeavour to help others more and to leave my little corner of the world better than it was. Service is a good way to take our minds off our own problems and gain some perspective, it lifts our mood, and it makes life more meaningful.  Some days this kind gesture might just be a text, phone call or a compliment, but it might have a huge impact on the recipient, and it may help them more than you can imagine.

The darkest time of the night is immediately before the dawn, and thankfully my health is starting to improve again. I will keep going, but I cannot do it alone. I am blessed with a great partner, family, and friends, and I truly treasure them. I never lose sight of how lucky I am. Hard times will come to me again, but so will my support team…   

Just a Limp

It took a while for me to accept that I had a recognised disability; I was defiant and determined to keep on going and to not let Parkinson’s define or hinder me. However, the reality is that I cannot do a lot of the things that I used to do, and every day brings challenges that I previously never had to contend with, just making it through each day is a lot of work. Parkinson’s has taken a lot of things from me that I used to take for granted.

Having a chronic illness is also very expensive; people with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty, and this is often a consequence of their disability. Parkinson’s costs me a lot of money; I had to employ a cleaner as I don’t have enough energy to do housework, I pay for healthy plant-based meals to be delivered during the working week as I am too tired to cook after a day at work, I gave up a management position in my job to try to reduce my workload, I spend a lot of money on holistic therapies that are not available on the NHS, and just last week I spent £300 on personalised insoles that will help me to walk more easily. As a teacher, I am on a good wage, but it has its limits, and so, I decided to apply for the PIP benefit. I have contributed a lot of tax over the years and hoped that now that I needed support, that I would get something back; but I was wrong! I have applied twice and been turned down both times. I am disabled but apparently not disabled enough; it was ’just a limp’. I felt like a fraud who did not have the right to claim for a disability. Whilst I am incredibly grateful for the things that I can still do, these words undermined what I go through each day.

I want to stress that this is not a blog about who deserves PIP, nor am I looking pity or praise, but it is an invitation to reflect on how we look at disability; it can be both apparent and non-apparent.

People might just see a limp but there is so much more going on beneath the surface, and I know that I speak for others with chronic illnesses. I am not discussing these symptoms in order to complain about my lot, I merely want to raise awareness of the ‘invisible’ side of disability. It takes so much for me to get out of the house each morning; due to fatigue and exhaustion I must take breaks as I get ready. I used to be extremely punctual, now I operate on ‘Parkinson’s time’, and I am often late. I need to budget energy and decide where to use it. I have balance issues, I am extremely sensitive to over-stimulation and crowds, I can’t make plans with certainty, I have brain-fog, I also have limited movement, extreme anxiety, low mood and insomnia. The list could go on… Those of us with chronic illnesses are often dealing with old age issues whilst we are still relatively young, I know that I often feel like I have the body of a much older lady.

Each person with a chronic illness will have their own complex needs but will often receive a sceptical response when explaining invisible symptoms. We are often made to feel like a hassle and a burden and that we are taking up space. I however, have stopped living apologetically and I now ask for what I need. I have gone from being someone who tried to hide her disability to someone who feels compelled to raise awareness and to be an advocate for the chronic illness community.

Remember that anyone can become disabled at any time, and we never know when we will be diagnosed with a serious illness. I will continue to confront the status quo and I would implore you to do the same…  

This Too Shall Pass

These are times of apprehension, worry and uncertainty; each time that we think that there is ray of hope ahead, there seems to be a new COVID variant, and so ensues more panic. Many of us are dealing with bleak circumstances such as redundancy, anxiety, depression, lockdown fatigue, conflict in relationships and are balancing jobs with home-schooling.

So, how can we find comfort and optimism in the middle of a global pandemic? How do we become resilient to life’s inevitable stresses? Everyone’s level of resilience is different, but some of us are just not coping. Crisis is part of life, although rarely on the scale that we are going through.

My Parkinson’s journey has taught me how to live in uncertain times and that I cannot control everything that happens to me. I often feel powerless and full of despair, but I know that there are things that I can do to help me to find the willpower to carry on rather than being totally derailed by my circumstances. There are strategies that I use to help lift my mood and gain some control…

We can start by practicing acceptance; this is not what we would choose but we are living through exceptionally challenging times that are mostly out of our control, and that needs to be acknowledged. Try to embrace rather than run away from difficult emotions and become comfortable being uncomfortable; suffering is an inevitable part of life and facing up to this makes life a lot easier. It is human nature to side-step difficulties, but this will not help us to get through these problems. Let go of the desire for things to be different and just  accept them as they are.

I find that keeping things in perspective always helps; we are going through tough times but there are so many people who are a lot worse off. Some people have lost family members, others are suffering the terrible consequences of Long-Covid, many are on ventilators fighting for each breath, cancer treatments have been delayed, there are cancelled weddings and so many people face the threat of losing their homes and jobs. When I think about the misfortunes of others, I find it easier to deal with my own. Whilst I still have the occasional whine about the state of my lockdown hair and nails, I hope to never again take for granted the fact that I have a job, a home, and healthy loved ones.

Try to remember that it’s okay to be sad and grumpy, let it all out. Nobody is happy all of the time, and we need tough times to help us appreciate the good ones. Sit with sadness, acknowledge it, and don’t run away from it. In doing so we develop our coping skills and resilience, rather than crumbling at every disappointment that we face in life.

Try to do things that bring you happiness. Schedule some time for yourself each day. Talk to friends and family; they may be feeling the same way and can reassure you that your feelings are normal, you may even be able to help them too. Focus on gratitude each and every day; this can stop you dwelling on your problems and help you to leave negativity behind. Spend time in nature, move and most importantly laugh!

Finally, never stop believing in miracles! This awful period of time will not last forever, we need to weather the storm and look forward to brighter days ahead. Remind yourself of the things that you will do when this is all over; meals in restaurants, trips to the cinema, calling in for a cuppa, getting dressed up, going to the gym and most importantly, hugs! Those days are coming…

2021

2020 was a year like no other; it presented most of us with challenges, it wreaked havoc with our lives, and it was a very unsettling year to say the least. This time last year I posted a blog about setting goals, achieving dreams and creating vision boards, but can we plan for the future in the same way this year given the fact that we are in a pandemic and so much of our future is uncertain? Whilst many of our plans will undoubtedly have to be cancelled once again, we can still take some time to pause and reflect on how we can make our lives this year more fulfilling and meaningful, and perhaps try to move forward with some optimism. We cannot control a pandemic, but we can control our thoughts and actions.

I love the ritual of opening a new journal at the start of the year and listing my goals for the year ahead. However, whilst this is more difficult to do this year, it doesn’t mean that we can’t dream and set ourselves some targets. We cannot see what the path ahead holds for us but there are some things that we can plan for. I for one want to feel that I have some control over how this year works out for me, my goals are spiritual and emotional rather than of the material kind.

One target for the year ahead is to practice more gratitude, I plan to record a daily gratitude list in my journal. This pandemic has been a huge wake-up call for most of us, and I feel that it has been one of those defining moments encouraging me to do a complete inventory of my life, to make the most of it and to appreciate every moment. I never forget that those things that I take for granted will one day come to an end. Our mental health is a product of our thoughts, so try to make them good ones.

I also plan to be more mindful of living in the present moment. We are conditioned to fear uncertainty, we tend to catastrophise an unknown future and then we fall down the rabbit hole of imagined scenarios that may never happen. Many of us have been transfixed to the news 24/7 and consumed with endless worry. If we don’t make the effort to control our thoughts, they will start controlling us. Our minds can often cause us more pain than our worst enemies; we can have all of the material goods that we would ever desire, but if we don’t deal with our toxic thoughts, we will never be happy. There are very few things that we will be able to control this year, but with daily effort, our minds are the one thing that we can have absolute control over.

Through the daily use of a journal I also hope to be more self-reflective, to take more time to decompress and to think about my day, even for just ten minutes. What went well? What needs to change? I can’t try to improve my life if I don’t reflect on what needs to improve. It is important to take some time to be introspective and then make the necessary improvements so that we don’t keep returning to our old ways. I hope to grow and learn every single day simply by looking at the areas of my life that are not working, and then changing them.  

Finally, I plan to be more mindful about how I spend my time. This precious resource is often frittered away rather than savoured. I hope to spend more time on those activities that enrich my life, and to manage my time so that I can do more of the things I love.  I will try to scale back on those activities that steal my time and stand in the way of my happiness. I will definitely be a lot more productive and most importantly happier.

At times the path ahead may be devastating, things may fall apart and we will have no choice but to surrender to our circumstances and be gentle with ourselves.  We can be certain that uncertainty is going to be part of the year ahead, so why not try to be proactive in developing some coping strategies? You can be the master of your own fate or wander aimlessly through the year, it is up to you. Be the person that you dream of being. Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

Emotions

There is no doubt that positivity is important and that an optimistic approach to life is needed, but in trying to be bright and cheery there is a danger that we demonise so called ‘negative’ emotions. I often feel sad, angry, fed-up, and resentful about Parkinson’s, but I rarely share that online, however, that is creating the illusion that these emotions are shameful and not valid. We need to acknowledge all of our emotions, not just those branded ‘good’, we are often conditioned not to express negative emotions as we want to appear nice and likeable. However, the full spectrum of feelings is equally valid, it is not always possible to have a happy disposition, and we should not feel any guilt for that whatsoever.

Sometimes terrible things happen, life can be unfair, positivity is not always easy to cling onto; it is okay to be pessimistic, to moan, and to feel despair. Dark days are normal and can have a foundation in the truth of your situation, so go easy on yourself.

When we are stuck in a rut of negative thinking our instinct may be to feel like a bad person, but these emotions are actually telling us what we need, and that something needs to be addressed or changed. Anger, fear, resentment or sadness can point you in new direction or to find solutions. So, fall into the pain rather than avoiding it, or letting it fester and sweeping it under the carpet. See negative emotions as an invitation and a nudge to make a change. 

Anger is one such ‘negative’ emotion, but when used in the right way, it can be incredibly healing, it is usually seen as destructive, but it can be used in a very constructive way. Anger is a normal and healthy emotion but if we don’t address it at the early stages it can result in an explosion. Internalising and suppressing these emotions leads to illness, depression, and anxiety, and if not dealt with the effects will creep up on us.

Identify your triggers; they may be people or situations, then take action. Can you stop being around the people or situations? Are you overreacting? Do you need to be more resilient or calm? There is a definite link between how our brains deal with emotions and our physical and mental health. Think of ‘negative’ emotions as needs to be addressed and not ignore, your body is screaming that something needs to change. Please don’t ignore the signals…

Screen Brain

Do you have phone brain? Having a neurological condition means that the health of my brain is a priority to me, and whilst our phones can be extremely entertaining and informative, they can also be highly addictive and very damaging to the health of this vital organ.

Phone addiction is one addiction that seems to be acceptable in our society; our phones take over our lives, some of us share everything that we do online, and it is estimated that young people check their phones up to 150 times day. We often complain that we don’t have enough time to do all that we need to do, but we waste valuable time aimlessly scrolling through social media.

I am as guilty of mindless lurking as anyone, but I made the decision to unfollow pages that were full of posts that attracted keyboard warriors, aggressive trolls and negative energy; instead I follow inspirational pages and people who have a positive effect on me. I am very aware that some people who post endlessly are just seeking validation and approval, but I choose to blog to raise awareness of Parkinson’s and to create a positive space online, I don’t do it for the ‘Likes’ or attention. The purpose of this particular piece is not to judge or mock; but rather to encourage you to think about your relationship with your phone and the impact that it has on your neurological health.

Signs of addiction include constantly ‘checking in’, being unable to do an activity without posting about it and always being absorbed in your newsfeed. Constant phone use means that our brains are overstimulated; leaving us feeling anxious and overwhelmed, we are always alert and are slaves to endless notifications. Non-stop stimulation doesn’t allow the brain respite or rest. Being online constantly isn’t healthy, and the parents and teachers amongst us will agree that many teenagers’ obsession with social media is linked to poor sleep and anxiety, they have Facebook envy looking at the fabulous lives that their ‘friends’ appear to be displaying online, and such a huge amount of time is wasted mindlessly swiping. However, are we adults modelling good use of our own phones? Are we keeping an eye on our own internet time?  Do we want everyone to think that we have a perfect life? Are we teaching our children to share every detail of their lives online? Do we always have our phones sitting next to us or in our back pockets?

When used responsibly, our phones can help our wellbeing; I listen to podcasts on personal development when driving, cleaning, cooking or walking the dog; they are a great way to give my brain new information. Also, social media can be a fantastic platform for raising awareness of important issues, it is a tool of the trade for many businesses, it is a way to stay in touch with friends and family, get news and even get a boost of dopamine laughing at memes. Technology can be extremely useful; but it’s just about setting some boundaries and keeping perspective.

Our brains are constantly evolving and developing, and it is possible to rewire them; just as the brain can create addictions, it can stop them too. Is it time to take charge, carry out a digital detox and take a step back? Weaning yourself off the internet will make you happier and calmer, you will be more present, and you may even find it extremely liberating. We are not designed to be switched on at all times, and if you decide to take a little Sabbatical, you will soon realise that you’re not missing out on all that much after all.  We can’t get away from owning phones, but we can certainly try to improve our relationships with them…

Just Breathe

Breathing is something that we all do automatically, but few of us breathe well and we probably rarely even think about it. However, making it a focus can bring so many benefits into your life.  I have recently discovered the power of conscious breathing in calming and easing my Parkinson’s symptoms, particularly the anxiety; it has become medicine for my mind and body, soothing my frazzled nervous system and bringing serenity to my mind. Considering that many other chronic illnesses are linked to the nervous system, it is most definitely worth taking a look at a free and accessible tool that can make everyday life more manageable.

Those who suffer with high levels of anxiety tend to shallow breathe, but if we can learn to regulate our breath, we can learn to regulate our bodies. Conscious breathing is such a powerful tool, yet many of us are breathing incorrectly and creating a plethora of problems for ourselves; these issues can be prevented or helped simply by changing how we breathe. I am not a doctor and I am not qualified to give advice, but I do a lot of research and reading, and I only share techniques and strategies that I personally have found to work. Anyone who does yoga will be aware of the importance of controlled breathing in creating a state of calm. There are also so many testimonies from people who use the Wim Hof method or Tummo breathing that will support my belief in the transformative power of breathing correctly.

Studies show that only breathing through our mouths is bad for our health; we consume less oxygen and we are not making our lungs work to full capacity as we are not inhaling enough air. We tend to breathe through our mouths when we are stressed as it is easier, nasal breathing is harder, but you inhale more oxygen.  Every cell in the body depends on oxygen, it is what our bodies need, and cells and tissues denied adequate oxygen for long enough start to break down.

Nasal breathing on the other hand eases migraines, helps snoring and apnea, diffuses stress, resets the body, regulates heart rate, and keeps you grounded and balanced. Breathing through the left nostril in particular calms the body down as it is connected to the parasympathetic nervous system; it is responsible for reducing anxiety, inducing relaxation, and lowering blood pressure. Poor breathing is linked to higher blood pressure, cardio-vascular problems, fatigue and panic attacks. Brain health is my number one concern, and breathing correctly increases blood flow to my brain, I feel a release of happy chemicals and can induce a state of calm bliss within minutes. Working with my nervous system and keeping my body in a state of homeostasis is crucial to alleviating my symptoms, and this strategy really works!

Breathing too often and too quickly overworks the body. Those with a lower resting heart rate tend to live longer; a slow resting heart rate is achieved by slow breaths, inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly through the nose.  Try meditation in order to slow down the breath and the brainwaves, or breathing through alternate nostrils, in for four and out for four. Basically, breathe slowly and less. Research breathing apps or set a daily or hourly reminder on your phone to ensure that you are checking in with your breath. Keep checking whether your breathing is sending distress signals through your body, or peace and calm. Breathing correctly is an immediate way to calm yourself.

The positive results may take a while to be seen, it can take years to create an illness, and so it may take years to heal. Don’t underestimate the healing power of a long, deep and mindful breath; your body and mind will definitely reward you for it!

Nature’s Medicine

I am in no doubt about the healing effects of nature; it is medicine for my body and soul, it calms my nervous system and clears my mind. The stress of modern living is leading us further away from nature, and we are replacing that void with stress, noise, hustle and bustle. The last time that I went hiking in nature my Parkinson’s symptoms dissipated and I walked symptom free with a normal gait; this is proof of the medicinal power of nature.  Spending time outdoors is widely recognised as a tool to reduce stress and anxiety, it aids relaxation and wellbeing, and it settles our harassed brains and nervous systems.  

Unfortunately, many of us spend most of our time indoors, staring at screens like zombies. The link between screen time and brain development, anxiety and depression is well-documented; we are bombarded with distractions that over-stimulate us and leave our brains frazzled. Surely there is more to life? Nature makes us step away from the screens and the constant din; we miss out on so much when we spend our days attached to technology, it is literally sucking the life out of us.   

For years, many patients throughout the world have been receiving doctor’s prescriptions asking them to spend time outdoors, clearly nature’s power to heal cannot be underestimated. Time in nature increases our happy hormones such as oxytocin, and it reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Blood pressure is reduced, the immune system is strengthened, we get a natural dose of vitamin D, and it increases our mental wellbeing. Getting back to nature boosts our mood, allows time for contemplation, gives the body a renewed energy and brings harmony to the mind and soul. I firmly believe that finding time in nature should be non-negotiable.

How can you answer this call to the wild? Well, if you’re lucky enough to be able to go to the woods, you can practice forest-bathing; touch, smell and feel the trees. Take a restorative walk on the beach or get into the garden as often as you can. If you can’t get out or have no garden, then listen to recordings of nature’s acoustics such as the sound of waves, insects chirping, waves crashing, birdsong or the patter of raindrops. Bring nature into your house with plants and flowers, I always get a dopamine hit and a lift when I have beautiful flowers in the house. Reconnect with nature by noticing it, make a conscious effort to notice the beauty around you; let it reenergise every cell, uplift and rebalance you.

Nature is waiting to heal you and to nourish your soul, so shake off your worries for a short interval, put on those walking shoes and connect to the earth. Time with Mother Nature is a necessity, not a luxury …

Holistic Healing

Nothing can ever prepare you for the day that your good health is brought to a screeching halt and you are diagnosed with a serious health condition, the final nail in the coffin is being told that, ‘There is no cure’. After the initial shock and period of grieving, I accepted the diagnosis of Parkinson’s, but not the prognosis. There are in fact so many people who have halted or even reversed their symptoms of Parkinson’s, MS, Fibromyalgia and so many other chronic illnesses; and I am determined to join them. I refused to accept that this is how it had to be and decided to take back some of my power.

I am fortunate to work with a fantastic neurologist and medical team, and I cannot praise them highly enough, but chronic illness remains a great unsolved mystery to the medical profession. Medication can alleviate some symptoms but not cure them, and there are a plethora of side-effects; so I decided to join the many people who have healed themselves without medication (please do not do this before speaking to your consultant). Conventional medicine cannot cure Parkinson’s, and so I decided to investigate complementary therapies that I could use in conjunction with my medical treatment, and I have never looked back.

I have thrown myself into reading the testimonies of those who are in remission from Parkinson’s and other chronic illness, and it is clear to see that holistic healing has been a recurrent theme; healing requires aligning the body, mind and soul.  

Some people are sceptical about treatments that they perceive to be alternative, and they can sometimes be dismissive when someone finds relief and healing in holistic treatments. I have faced ridicule and have been mocked, but no-one has the right to invalidate my experience of healing and relief from symptoms, I will try anything to feel better. Critics will view alternative therapies as ‘Hocus Pocus’ and will try to shame those who believe in them, yet they may not have even tried such treatments. It is okay to have doubts but try to have compassion for others, and don’t challenge them to consistently defend themselves. We should not judge those who choose not to completely rely on conventional routes and try to get themselves involved in their own healing. This blog is not an attempt to convert the naysayers, but just an attempt to ask them to try to move away from preconditioned ideas about holistic treatments.

I fully believe that there are many facets to healing; and they are all part of the bigger jigsaw. I have experimented with many healing modalities including acupuncture, reflexology, reiki, hypnotherapy, sound-healing, homeopathy, yoga, meditation, qi gong, aromatherapy, biodynamic craniosacral therapy, and the list goes on. I have worked with so many compassionate healers who deal with the four bodies (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), and they have absolutely solidified my belief in

earthly angels.

Nobody wants to stay sick and chronic illness can be extremely disempowering, but holistic therapy enables you to take control of your own healing and reminds you that you don’t have to bear this alone. Holistic treatments have so many benefits including helping you to deal with stress and anxiety, they are a form of self-care, and they afford you some time to reflect. The healers that I work with have such caring hearts; they talk to their clients about lifestyle, experiences, emotions, negative patterns, and unprocessed trauma; they deal with what is going on internally. It can be a great breakthrough moment when you realise that certain choices are not helping you to heal, and change is indeed necessary.

Chronic illness is at an all time high and doesn’t just impact the old; people in their twenties and thirties are diagnosed daily, and this blog is just a little nudge to encourage you to consider a holistic path to compliment a medical one. Surely its better to be proactive rather than reactive? I work on my healing every day, and I hope to inspire others to do the same.  Give your body, mind and soul what they need, steer your own ship and fight for your health. I will leave no stone unturned as I try to heal, I urge you to think outside the box and to do the same…

Death

Checking the daily figures of fatalities due to Covid-19 has become part of our new normal, and as hard as it is, it does us no harm to take a moment to reflect on death and dying. We are reminded that life has an end point, and so we need to make the best of the time that we are fortunate enough to have left. We will all die someday, that is inevitable, but most of us hope that it will be far away in the future, and we prefer not to think about it. However, it is an imminent reality for so many more people due to the pandemic, and we cannot ignore its presence, it is a daily occurrence on a tragic scale.

 Naturally, this is not a topic that we like to chat about; it makes us feel vulnerable as we have limited control over it, but we must embrace the uncertainty of life. Watching so many people die certainly brings our own mortality into the spotlight. I never fail to appreciate the fact that Parkinson’s, though life-changing, is not a terminal diagnosis.

 Many of us are crippled by fear and anxiety if we think about our mortality, but there are many lessons to learn when we do take the time to reflect on them. Death may be easier to deal with if you have lived the life that you want and have few regrets about time misspent. It may sound morbid, but reminding yourself about death may encourage you to live a life with no ‘what-ifs’ or regrets. If we were immortal, then we might fall into the trap of cruising along and we would just keep putting off our dreams again and again, death does not allow us to do that. When thinking about death, it can be helpful to remember that there are certain things that you can do to ‘death-proof’ your life to an extent; most important of which is taking care of your health. Just do what you can do, know that you’ve done all that you can, and that the rest is beyond your control. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, we only have these moments, and they are precious, so please use them wisely.

Some of you may have lost a loved one to this virus or due to other circumstances, all of us will experience loss at some point in our lives. Moving on after death can be a long and hard road, there will be good and bad days, but this process can teach us many lessons; just as we don’t want to ‘go there’ with death, we often don’t want to with grief either. Thinking about death or grief can arouse strong emotions, it can hit you like a truck, it is easier to gloss over it, but these emotions need to be embraced and honoured. Allow yourself to get teary and release the grief rather than trying to numb it; crying is healing and very cathartic. This is a process, there is no right or wrong way to do this, and it can take years to adjust to living without someone who you love, it can be helpful to think about special moments and memories that you shared. Losing a loved one can be one of the worst things that you will ever go through, but it can make you appreciate how blessed you were to have had that person in your life, and also to appreciate those who are still alive and with us. Life involves taking the rough with the smooth.

Think about what you would do if you only had six months left to live. What would you stop doing? Many books have been written containing lessons from the dying; most would tell us not to worry about the small stuff, take time out for ourselves, appreciate the everyday pleasures in life, and most importantly to look after our health. None of us know how much time we have left, so no matter what happens, make sure that you’ve made your life a good one, and don’t take a second of it for granted…

If this blog has raised any issues for you, please talk to a family member or friend, alternatively there are support agencies such as Bereavement Care (free helpline – 0808 808 1677).

 

If this blog has raised any issues for you, please talk to a family member or friend, alternatively there are support agencies such as Bereavement Care (free helpline – 0808 808 1677).