Grief and Loss

Loss and Grief ..

A part of all our lives

.Grief comes in to all our lives  at some point. Perhaps we instinctively think of grief as linked to death but in truth it is more correctly linked to loss. Loss is something we can experience in many ways. It may be loss connected to a  broken relationship for example. Loss of a person is  most acutely and powerfully felt when we lose someone in death.

You may  have experienced such losses through ended relationships, separations, the death of a parent, a family member ,a loved one , or a child. Loss can also be more subtle and less obvious, such as the loss of one’s future through illness or infertility.

If any of these reflect any part of your life experience this article may be of some help to you.

What is Grief ?

Grief is a normal and healthy reaction that occurs when you lose someone or something important. It is the emotional working through of your loss. It is the process of grieving and dealing with your feelings that helps you to adjust to your  loss and to live your life with an adjusted horizon that incorporates the loss.

You may try to avoid or postpone grieving but in truth this can lead to complications such as depression or anxiety.

Understanding what is happening to you will help. It is also important to recognise that your grief is unique to you. How you feel and how you handle your feelings is linked to your personality, your history and other losses you have already dealt with. If you are the kind of person who never shares your emotions with others you will likely find it a little more difficult at this time as you have no established natural download for your feelings. Friends and family can be very helpful in this regard. Equally if one’s whole family are grieving it may be important to seek someone outside of the grouping who is unaffected.

What you can expect!

It is entirely natural to feel sadness and yearning for the person, object or future you have lost. Feeling worried and anxious is very usual and is indicative of deeper fears in one about coping with their life changed by the loss. Feeling confused and less competent in many areas is usual as one’s system works through all the emotions one can become less able to concentrate or to complete tasks.

When grieving one can be over-sensitive to other people’s behavior, which can cause difficulties in personal relationships. It is worth remembering that your reactions may be amplified to what others say and do and to notice how you might have responded at another time.

Reacting strongly to  seemingly minor losses or changes. This occurs because they trigger feelings which relate to the core loss you are dealing with or trying to ignore.

You can see that the range of feelings you may experience is quite extensive. Recognising the normality of your feelings allows you not to retreat from them and facilitates you in allowing an emotional working through of each of them .

In other words rather than saying ‘Oh that’s silly’, to be feeling like that, it is more beneficial to you to realise that while it may seem silly it is perfectly normal considering what you are adjusting to and to allow yourself to be that way.

The intensity of what you feel will relate to what you have lost and the timing of that loss in your life. Equally if the loss was sudden and unexpected it is normal for all feelings to be considerably amplified.

Relationships that have been complex in life are often complex in death. A daughter or son who has an on-going rift or conflict with the parent, for example.  The factor of complexity can be that all opportunities for reparation and healing are no longer available. This can amplify and complicate grief. The lack of further opportunity is best acknowledged and worked through.

Grief draws up like a magnet to the surface the deepest feelings within you. For this reason the time of grief can feel powerful, intense and you may feel  somewhat out of control. Losses which have never been dealt with can meet each other in this turbulent rise of feeling and can intensify what you are feeling to a degree that you may find frightening. Such collisions of past and present losses and grief may require a clinicians listening to help you stabilise and understand what is occurring and to guide you forward.

For the very same reason grief can bring a time of growth as you meet the challenge of understanding yourself more and of letting go what is gone.

 So do remember …

Your grief is unique to you

There is an emotional working through process which needs to occur for you to move forward in your grief

You will need time to identify, accept and to work through your feelings.

Give yourself all the time that you need. Do not measure yourself by any one else as their loss is different to yours.

Support is important. Sometimes being able to talk will be supportive , sometimes to be able to enjoy yourself and forget will be just as important.

Connecting with your feelings through writing can be therapeutic

It is good to remind oneself of the necessary cycle of life involving a seamless continuum of endings and beginnings, winter and spring, death and birth.

 

Stephanie

 

 

New Year Resolutions

New Year resolutions!  Think before you start!

 

If New Year resolutions are about improving yourself or dropping a trait or behaviour that you would long like to change then that’s a good thing. But be very aware that if you are to have any chance of succeeding with those resolutions there are a number of things you need to be really mindful of.

Research shows that more than 50% of all resolutions are broken and that more than 30% will be broken by the end of January. So flippant  thoughtless resolution making will not lead to success and may leave you feeling bad about yourself, despite your best efforts.

 

Resolutions are not easy to keep, that is why you need the right mindset and some preparations if you are to have a chance of succeeding.

 

REVIEW 2018

 

So before you start with all this resolution making for  2019, take some small time out and reflect on 2018. Be realistic truthful and fair with yourself.

Take yourself back to last January and look at any resolutions that you made.Think about why you  made them. Ask yourself what you were really trying to achieve.

Now write down what progress you made with them and where things didn’t go well.

Did you start like a storm and then leave the resolution after one fall or slip.

 

If so it’s very possible that you expected too much too quickly and or too easily.  You may also not have been mindful that small setbacks are to be expected and planned for. Finally you need to ask yourself if this resolution was something that you really wanted to achieve and if so why did you let it go.

 

THE BEST YOU – A WORK IN PROGRESS

 

Resolutions are really something we need to be making every week every month, small resolutions that bring us to our best.

Resolutions should not be all about your weight,  or your drinking.

But resolutions that will improve many aspects of your life.

 

You should think about all aspects of your lifes if you want to be the best you that you can be.Your social life, your hobbies and your work, your love life, your sexual self.

 

Resolutions are often about giving up, perhaps it would be better if you thought about taking something up.

 

I encourage clients to take up something new every year,and to learn a new skill or hobby. Try something new , explore a new area, make new connections.  is it imperative to open your world outwards and resolutions are good in so far as they can keep you on the right track and help you to review how you are doing.

 

SETBACKS – EXPECT THEM!

 

Many people are inclined to over count their failures and under count their successes leading to low feelings about oneself, that ultimately damages your motivation. The good feeling that you get from counting your successes maintains your motivation to continue even when there has been a set back. if on the other hand you focus on your mistake, give out to yourself for having slipped in your resolution, you are far more likely to throw in the towel, take out the packet of cigarettes and put yourself back on the smoker list. The attitude that you take to setbacks and the manner in which you count them is going to be key to whether you succeed or not in my view.

Success like any goal is not one single step achievement,  it tends to be made up of many small steps that all move in the right direction toward the ultimate goal.

 

PICK THE RIGHT RESOLUTION

 

Think carefully about the resolution you are choosing. Achieving this goal has to be really meaningful to you. it needs to be important enough to place it beyond some other tempting things.

 

Your resolution should not be based on what other people want of you/ or if they want you to change something

Your resolution must arise out of your own desire to change

Your resolution shouldn’t be vague

and your resolution should be part of a plan, with measurable steps.

 

PREPARE BEFORE YOU BEGIN.

 

Prepare for your resolution  start day , it doesn’t have to be January 01

 

Do some research, planning, thinking and reflecting

before you choose what you are going to do and what you really want to improve in your life.

You need to explore and give time to your plan and to feel committed to it. Writing it down and mapping it out is important. A visual map of progress is very useful.

If you are not committed it will be very difficult for you to keep to the plan.

 

KEY TO SUCCESS

 

Think deeply about why and what you want to change

 

  • Practice some self control for a few days. Begin by saying NO to something you want. Start with 3 No’s and build each day for a week until you are on 10-15 No’s.
  • Begin your Plan
  • Chart what you do correctly
  • Congratulate yourself for what you achieve for the progress you are making, good feelings will help you to stay on track
  • Expect setbacks and accept them. See what caused the setback, work it out and write it down, resolve to do better

 

Improving your life happens a step at a time. Most importantly those steps must be in the right direction. Happy New Year now get down to the work of mapping out the improvements you need to make.

 

Stephanie Regan

Clinical Psychotherapist

The Parent Trip

Holidaying with your adult children.

The pitfalls and the pluses

Nice chat with Ciara Plunkett of Kfm radio

https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-talk/the-parent-trip-the-holiday-feeling-has-to-work-for-them-and-you-36817518.htmlhttps://soundcloud.com/kfmradiokildare/kildare-focus-20042018

 

 

Build resilience in life and love

https://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/The_Hard_Shoulder/Highlights_from_The_Hard_Shoulder/220752/Dear_Stephanie

Good chatting about this. The importance of recognising that relationships are a learning curve: that they almost always do end and that the task is to become better at selecting for yourself.

 

Are you too picky when it comes to love!

The subject of my relationships piece this week with Ivan is this.

you can listen back on Newstalk.http://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/The_Hard_Shoulder/Highlights_from_The_Hard_Shoulder/217706/Realtionships_To_settle_or_not_to_settle..

Its an interesting one , can you ever be too picky.

Well the answer is yes, yes you can be so picky that you fail to select well.

Be picky about what is important to you. but don’t be picky for picky’s sake.

yes some people are too picky , about someones appearance , red hair, curly hair, too small , too tall. I don’t like thin girls, I only like really muscly men.

SLOWS DOWN PARTNERING….

  • IN 2013 A STUDY SHOWED THAT ON LINE DATING HAS MADE US JUDGEMENTAL IN DATING
  • BUILT A SHOPPING MENTALITY AROUND DATING
  • YOU CAN BE PICKY AND JUST SWIPE RIGHT

BUT ARE YOU TOO PICKY- YOU MIGHT BE

  • DO YOU WANT THE WHOLE PACKAGE OR NOTHING?
  • DO YOU KEEP JUDGING THE BOOK BY THE COVER— SHOULD YOU BE MORE OPEN FOR AT LEAST THE BEGINNING FEW HOURS…
  • DO YOU DO PROS AND CONS LISTS ABOUT YOUR DATE
  • DO YOU OFTEN NOT MAKE IT TO A SECOND DATE
  • DO YOU OVERLY FOCUS ON LITTLE THINGS
  • DO YOU SHUT DOWN ON PEOPLE EARLY IN THE GAME, BY EARLY IN MEAN WITHIN SECONDS OR MINUTES
  • DOES EVERYONE YOU MEET HAVE SOMETHING WRONG WITH THEM.
  • DO YOU WANT TO BE IN LOVE LIKE IN THE MOVIES…
  • DO YOUR FRIENDS TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE TOO PICKYTHEY MIGHT BE RIGHT.

Bringing up ex partners,or spouses! What’s the problem?

Interesting chat yesterday about the issue of your partner always or often talking about their ex on your nights out or in your company.

Yesterday’s query related to the listener’s male partner always talking about his deceased wife. We also touched briefly on the matter of divorced spouses or exes.

Listen back below.http://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/The_Hard_Shoulder/Highlights_from_The_Hard_Shoulder/216554/Realtionships_Widower_talking_about_his_widow

Just a few further thoughts

Divorce.. Divorce is an all consuming event for all parties involved. it is a time of great uncertainty for each spouse and of course for the children.

Speaking about your ex in this context is similar but perhaps more obvious in that the one divorcing is going through a great adjustment, the ending of the marriage, the promises, the dreams for the future, the knowledge of pain and upset for the children if they are there.. there is so much to deal with.

Men more than women tend to move in to new relationships more quickly.

The result can be that there is working through of the emotions while settling in to this new relationship.  This is where and why it gets spoken about a lot.

Just like our listener today I believe it is reasonable and correct to draw lines around the issue. For example you may agree that there are times it is good to talk about it , but over a nice dinner out together or in the bedroom is not the place for those chats.

If your partner needs to talk about divorce or his ex more than is comfortable for you then you must say so.

NAME IT – IDENTIFY WHAT IT IS LIKE FOR YOU

SAY IT – SO THAT HE/ SHE CAN UNDERSTAND IT , COMMUNICATE IT

SHARE IT – IF YOU DON’T SHARE IT , YOUR PARTNER DOES NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO FIX IT.

Post relationship

Talking about one’s ex raises  many things especially if it happens a lot.The biggest question is why and what are you achieving by it.

It can be habit, you may drift back in to memories and if so that is a habit you need to break as it is not pleasant or nurturing for the one you are with.

You may also be doing this by way of ensuring that your partner does not feel 100 % sure of you.  Maybe it is your way of saying I am not ready to give 100% of me.

It may be that you are not over the person and you may need to tidy all that up before you go in to a new relationship. Clearly if you are elevating your ex the problem will be even worse for your partner.

ENDINGS ARE IMPORTANT AS BEGINNINGS AND HOW YOU END YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS IMPORTANT TO THE QUALITY OF THE NEXT ONE.

 

.

 

 

Thoughts on family culture clashes.

 

This week on Ivan we heard from a young man who had a number of concerns about the prospect of introducing his new love to his mother see below if you want to listen back.

He was afraid his family would not like her, or accept her and indeed that they would not give her the welcome that he hoped for.

This made me think about a whole host of pressures that are there when it comes to meeting the parents and it made me think about family cultures and how they impact on relationships.

We all know that there are norms in families, what is more accepted, what is considered normal, who we think is cool and we know that we each have our own kind of family communication style. You notice that you will find the same things to be quite funny. This closeness that comes from shared history, shared happiness and often shared sadness or dysfunction can bind us as family.

But everyone has a family and the person you love will too. They will likely love them and like them quite like you do yours and it is important to keep in mind that this hoped for acceptance cuts both ways.

Relationships, especially those that go the long term, involve the coming together of these two family systems/ family cultures so to speak and it is not only in the actual meeting of the people involved, like our young man on Monday’s show but also the meeting up of these two sets of what is internalised in your mind as normal.

Your expectations of your partner, what you know to be the role of mother, father are all utterly determined by your family story, what you have experienced and what you have come to love or hate.

Again we have to remind ourselves that our way is not the only way. It is in fact only one of two ways in the relationship and both must be valued, heard and all differences discussed.

We see clashes of culture most especially after marriage and or after the arrival of children, because the expectations that until now are unspoken  become alive in the new situation.

You will have an internalized view of what fathers should do, and or mothers and or husbands or wives so disappointment or dissatisfaction begins to rear it’s head.

As a clinician what I see very often is that a couple can be happily going along but the bump in the relationship commences right at the point where the front door closes and they are now a family unit and the family culture clash begins.

Criticism becomes more frequent, tensions rise and fractures can begin.

What was lovely and loving now changes. Understanding what is driving your satisfaction or dissatisfaction is important.

 

http://newstalk.com/podcasts/The_Hard_Shoulder/Highlights_from_The_Hard_Shoulder/215924/Relationships_Introducing_a_Partner_to_the_Parents

 

COMING OUT

 

COMING OUT IS A METAPHOR FOR SELF DISCLOSURE OF ONE’S SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR OF THEIR SEXUAL IDENTITY

THERE IS A FAIR AMOUNT OF ADVICE OUT THERE FOR LGBT PEOPLE
CHECK OUT
REACHOUT.COM
BELONG.ORG

IF IT’S YOU WHO IS COMING OUT

REMEMBER
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME – DON’T FEEL RUSHED BY ANYONE
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PERSON TO SPEAK TO- SOMEONE YOU TRUST AND WHO YOU KNOW REALLY LOVES YOU
DON’T LABEL YOURSELF
READ ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE OF OTHERS
FORGET ABOUT STEREOTYPES
BE YOU

IF YOU ARE THE TRUSTED ONE

YOU MAY WORRY THAT YOU WILL SAY THE WRONG THING
YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE ANY PARTICULAR ANSWER
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO SHOW ACCEPTANCE AND
TO REMEMBER THAT NOTHING HAS CHANGED ABOUT THIS PERSON
THEY HAVE JUST CONFIDED IN YOU

WORTH ASKING THEM IF THERE IS ANYTHING THEY WOULD LIKE YOU TO DO OR ANYONE THEY WOULD LIKE YOU TO TELL

PARENTS

SOME PARENTS ALREADY HAVE A SENSE THAT THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER IS LGBT SO THERE MAY BE NO SURPRISE AND THEY WILL ALREADY HAVE ADJUSTED TO THE NEW REALITY

OTHER PARENTS CAN BE ENTIRELY SHOCKED AND HAVE NO PRE-KNOWLEDGE OR WARNING.
THESE PARENTS AND FAMILY MEMBERS CAN HAVE ADJUSTMENT ISSUES WHICH CAN BE REALLY DIFFICULT ALL AROUND
THEY WORRY ABOUT THEIR CHILD’S FUTURE , THE HASSLES , THE ATTITUDES OF SOCIETY, THE CHALLENGES, THE HURDLES.

SADNESS – THEY CAN FEEL SAD AND MOURN THE LOSS OF A FUTURE THAT THEY THOUGHT ABOUT , WEDDINGS, CHILDREN … OF COURSE NOW THAT DREAM IS NOT GONE, BUT AT FIRST IT MAY FEEL THAT WAY

THE ONE COMING OUT CAN FEEL ALL THIS UNSPOKEN PRESSURE, THEIR DISAPPOINTMENT CAN BE CRUSHING AND OVERWHELMING FOR THE LGBT PERSON
SOMETIMES PARENTS QUERY IF IT’S TRUE, AND CHALLENGE THEIR DAUGHTER OR SON, BELIEVING THAT MAYBE THEY ARE COMING OUT TOO EARLY AND THEY COULDN’T BE SURE.

REMEMBER ITS ALSO A GENERATIONAL THING .
PARENTS WERE BROUGHT UP IN A TIME WHEN BEING GAY WAS UNLAWFUL , HIDDEN AND SCORNED UPON.

20 YR OLDS HAVE BEEN BORN IN TO THIS OPENNESS

AS A SOCIETY WE HAVE COME A LONG LONG WAY IN 30 YEARS.

BE GENTLY WITH THOSE WHO CANNOT MOVE AS QUICKLY AS YOU..

Is storm Ophelia making you feel anxious ?

A lot of talk and exposure to a very unusual event in Ireland like #stormophelia can really create stress and anxiety for people. Because stress is accumulative, additional stress like this can tip you ‘off balance’. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why.

It is very normal to feel stress in such situations. It is the event that is unusual, not you.

Your stress or anxiety will be heightened if you are alone or if you are already dealing with some very difficult issues or if you have suffered with anxiety or depression in the past.

There are large elements of the unknown here and it is exactly that that is anxiety provoking. Not knowing what may happen and not being able to control what happens is a key aspect of anxiety and why you may feel rising levels of stress.

At this stage you have likely secured your home and heeded the warnings and advice. Stay home and only travel if absolutely necessary.

So what can you do to manage your anxiety.

Plan ahead, and have a contingency plan.

Stay busy, do jobs around the house

Reach out to friends and family if you are alone. Phone calls can be supportive too.

Stay informed but limit your exposure to TV and radio bulletins. Whats happening 2 people in Cork won’t change your situation in Dublin. Protect yourself from unnecessary personal accounts. They may upset you.

Focus on the positives- We have great emergency services who are fully prepared, skilled and kitted to help everyone.

Do not catastrophise or see the very worst in every situation.

 

If CHILDREN are scared and they can be

  • Be calm and supportive. Tell children that the storm won’t hurt them but may cause damage to buildings and trees so we prepare and protect ourselves.
  • Explain that storms are a normal part of nature.
  • Talk about it in a  matter of fact way.  Some kids may seem afraid of storms, but they’re  more often really interested in learning more about them, give them some facts.
  • They will look to you for cues on what’s ok, and how to respond, so if you can cope, they can cope.
  • Encourage children to face their fears by gradually helping them to learn they can handle a fear. here you are laying a good template for how to face other uncertainties of life on their own.
  • If the anxiety doesn’t diminish, or if it begins to create greater stress for the child or the parent, get the assistance of a mental health professional.