*THIS INFORMATION WAS SOURCED FROM UK AND AMERICAN WEBSITES. AS WELL AS OUR OWN EXPERIENCE*
The information below is based on our own experience. The links provided have been sourced through google searching. Please see Counselling and Health and Wellbeing which covers the following areas:
- Introduction/ Our Story
- Health and Wellbeing
- Useful links: Bereavement/Grief/Counselling
- My Counselling experience
- My thoughts on my final Counselling Session
1. Introduction/Our Story:
From the moment our Dad was hospitalised (in 2016) everything changed completely. The bullet points below are advice we would offer. I will be honest and say I struggle to live by this myself. These are helpful and kind words of advice that we are given by friends and family. However, as much as we know it is the truth and good for us we sometimes end up doing the complete opposite. One of the main things we felt was, how can we be happy, be out enjoying ourselves knowing how our Dad was suffering in the hospital. Then when he passed away these feelings got even more intense, we almost felt guilty to smile.
In our own experience, we would say it is very important to take care of yourself going through a traumatic ordeal. Without even being aware, we (my sister and I) easily get so caught up in the many different things we are dealing with that we forget about ourselves. As well as dealing with the probate process which has been ongoing for the past two years, we still also have our daily lives to lead and daily tasks to fulfil and achieve.
The best advice we would give is:
- Take each day at a time
- Allow yourself to feel – acknowledge your emotions
- Try to have some time to yourself
- Talk to people – the feelings/emotions are better out than in
- Do things in your own time
- Take care of yourself
- Know that it is okay to smile, and to try and be happy
- Try to rest
- Do not try to cope on your own
“Coping with bereavement. Bereavement usually means losing someone we love through death and also follows on from change and loss. It is a devastating event, turning our world upside down and changing our lives forever. The death of a loved one is probably the worst loss we will ever experience”.
“Part 1 Getting Through the Grieving Process”
- “Tell yourself that grief is normal”.
- “Expect to experience the five stages of grief”.
- “Prepare for denial or disbelief”.
- “Expect to feel anger”.
- “Expect to feel guilt”.
- “Prepare to feel sadness and depression”.
- “Learn to accept the death of your loved one”.
More items…11 Apr 2019
“Though coping with loss can be a deeply personal experience, there are a few basic and universal steps to the bereavement and grief process”.
How to Overcome the Death of a Loved One
- “Step 1: Allow the feelings”.
- “Step 2: Gather support”.
- “Step 3: Allow the grieving process”.
- “Step 4: Embrace life”.
“Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioural, social, cultural, spiritual and philosophical dimensions”. Wikipedia.
“If you can’t think of something to say, just offer eye contact, a squeeze of the hand, or a reassuring hug. Offer your support. Ask what you can do for the grieving person. Offer to help with a specific task, such as helping with funeral arrangements, or just be there to hang out with or as a shoulder to cry on”..22 Apr 2019.
“Here is the grief model we call the 7 Stages of Grief”:
- “SHOCK & DENIAL- You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief”.
- “PAIN & GUILT”
- “ANGER & BARGAINING”
- “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS”
- “THE UPWARD TURN”
- “RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH”
- “ACCEPTANCE & HOPE”
“They also begin looking closer at their own mortality, often for the first time.” “Chronic stress also is common during acute grief and can lead to a variety of physical and emotional issues, such as depression, trouble sleeping, feelings of anger and bitterness, anxiety, loss of appetite, and general aches and pains”.
- “Taking care of your physical health. Try to eat and sleep well if you can”.
- “Being involved in arranging the funeral”.
- “Finding a way to express your emotions”.
- “Spending time with close family members”.
“There is no set timetable for grief. You’ll probably start to feel better in 6 to 8 weeks. The whole process can last anywhere from 6 months to 4 years.25 Jul 2017.
3.6 In my case since our Dad was hospitalised and since he has passed away, I struggle to sit and do nothing, I struggle not having something to do. I feel like I need to be constantly busy because the moment there is too much quiet, I will have to much time on my hands, I start thinking too deeply, and things become real. At the same time, because we are always having things to do on a daily basis, I don’t like allowing myself to get too used to having nothing to do. It’s almost as though I have to keep the momentum going in order to pursue and continue getting through this probate process.
To date, I am constantly keeping myself busy, but of late the only thing that has forced me to slow down is that I started getting ill fairly frequently. Or, I would become ill and it would take such a long time before I would get better. I am a person that listens to my body. I knew this was my body telling me it’s tired and I need to slow down, and in those moments, I do just that, I do not try to fight it, even if I tried to it wouldn’t be possible as I have that little energy that the only choice is to rest.
“Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness. It is a complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction. In short, wellbeing could be described as how you feel about yourself and your life”.
“If you have good mental wellbeing you are able to”:
- “feel relatively confident in yourself and have positive self-esteem”.
- “feel and express a range of emotions”.
- “build and maintain good relationships with others”.
- “feel engaged with the world around you”.
- “live and work productively”.
- “cope with the stresses of daily life”.
- “spend time with friends, loved ones and people you trust”.
- “talk about or express your feelings regularly”.
- “reduce alcohol consumption”.
- “avoid illicit drug use”.
- “keep active and eat well”.
- “develop new skills and challenge your capabilities”.
- “relax and enjoy your hobbies”.
- “set realistic goals”.
“Counselling provided by trained professionals can make a profound impact on the lives of individuals, families and communities. This service helps people navigate difficult life situations, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, natural disasters, school stress and the loss of a job. It provides the tools and insights to manage mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Ultimately, counselling empowers people to lead healthy and fulfilling lives”.
“Better expression and management of emotions, including anger. relief from depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. increased confidence and decision-making skills. ability to manage stress effectively”.
Different talking therapies also suit different people.
- “Talking therapies on the NHS”.
- “Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)”.
- “Guided self-help”.
- “Behavioural activation”.
- “Interpersonal therapy (IPT)”.
- “Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)”.
- “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)”.
“The cost of private counselling can vary depending on where you live, with a session costing anywhere between £10 and £70. Many private therapists offer an initial free session and lower rates for students, job seekers and those on low wages”.
5.4 We would say counselling is advisable. You might find yourself in a state where you really do not feel like yourself, you do not recognise yourself, or you might just not be happy with your behaviour.
Should you decide on this route, it needs to happen at the right time for the individual. (You are advised that it shouldn’t be before 6 months following the loss). Should this be the case, you will know for yourself when that time is.
6. Useful links: Bereavement/ Grief/ Counselling:
- Loss and Bereavement wellbeing info
- Coping with bereavement
- Grief and Bereavement -The Mix
- Get help -Cruse Bereavement Care
- Reconnecting with Life After Loss (One step at a time)
- How to Recover and Find Strength after Losing a Parent
- What the death of a Parent can teach us, if we’re willing to learn
- 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Losing a Parent
- How to Handle People When Your Loved One Dies – Psychology Today
- Your Parent Has Died. What Do You Do Now?
- Emotional Response to grief – AXA PPP Healthcare
- Dealing with grief and loss – NHS
- What are the mental and physical effects of grief?
- Helping Yourself as You Cope with the Loss of a Parent
- The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network
- Talking therapies
- The Importance of Counselling
- 9 Key Benefits of Counselling and Talking Therapy
- What to Expect in Your First Counselling Session
- Counselling Directory – Find a Counsellor Near You
- Counselling – NHS
- British Association For Counselling and Psychotherapy
Supporting a friend:
- What should I say to a friend whose Mother has died?
- 4 Ways to Help When Your Friend Loses a Parent
- 7 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Who’s Grieving
- 10 Best & Worst Things to say to someone in Grief
- What I Wish My Friends Had Said to Me After My Mum Died
7. My counselling experience:
Some like myself may feel as though you do not need therapy. However, funnily enough, right at the six months mark I felt I needed something. The change was needed.
The reason for this was I noticed I was becoming to easily irritated, I was oversensitive, I was taking everything the wrong way even if it may have been intended nicely and in my best interest. I did not like the way this was making me feel and so I knew it was time to get help.
My workplace offered various counselling, and so I decided to utilise this. It was 6 sessions that were subsidised through my workplace.
I found this very very strange. After the first session, I felt like I didn’t want to go back. It didn’t feel like this was right for me. I almost felt uncomfortable, and also the same reason why I went there was happening in the session. Me taking things in the wrong way and getting annoyed. However, I decided to give it a chance and persevere. I am glad I did so, as unexpectedly, from these sessions I got to see my situation from a different light which was welcomed and very insightful and useful, having that different perspective.
I left my workplace, and so those sessions ceased, and I didn’t continue with counselling. This was up until March 2018 things started to feel like they were getting on top again with everything happening all at once all needing to be done at the same time.
Through my doctor, I sought advice on counselling.
I used the contact information I was given, and through my local council started a CBT online programme Silvercloud. I struggled with this form of outlet. I didn’t feel I was connecting with it, or that I could fully engage/Express myself. This was not for me. As this was the stage before being put forward for face to face sessions I stuck with it.
In March 2019. I began doing face to face sessions through Talking therapies. This time around, I was very conscious of the fact that I am not present in the moment I was in. My body would be there, but my mind was a million miles away. Also, sometimes I would be talking to myself about my ever growing to do list, thinking about how to achieve them, rather than being present and enjoying where I was in that moment. I am still working on being present in the moment, but I can say by far this has been the best therapy of all the ones I have done.
I am now wondering if it is because the sessions before were stepping stones to get me to this point. Had I not had those experiences, would I find this so useful? Or maybe I have experienced some growth over time with our ongoing situation which now allows me to be more open. Whatever the case may be, I am very happy I sought counselling and I am very pleased with how much my current therapy is helping me through in this present moment.
There is no timestamp on grief. You will never get over the loss. You need to try and find a way to get through each day and be as positive as can be. However, never deny your feelings.
8. My last therapy session:
1st July 2019
I literally feel like I now need to stand on my own two feet.
The support and understanding I gained from these sessions, I can’t really explain.
My sessions ending feels like a loss. As it’s been such a lonely journey, when there are official organisations that give you genuine support it makes so much of a difference. We can count on one hand the level of support of this kind received from official organisations, which we find to be a great shame.
I am eternally grateful and thankful for the experience I gained in my 12 weeks of sessions. It was beneficial to me in more ways than I could have imagined. I’ve acknowledged many realisations, explored feelings that I had locked away in order to keep pushing forward as strong as can be in this probate process.
Having solid support networks during times like this is essentially important, and so when you lose one. You feel it.
I just hope that moving forward as we continue this probate journey; I can take with me what I have gained and use it to give me the strength and mental stability needed to continue through trying my best to be positive. As this therapy session has run its course, so too will this probate journey.
It’s been two weeks since my last session, and I notice the change. I no longer have that avenue as an outlet. I feel I will need more as although the 12 weeks were beneficial, I feel I will need further sessions and will be looking into arranging this for myself.
Counselling really does make a healthy difference if you are dealing with/going through a difficult situation. From my own experience, I would highly recommend it.