Saturday, 25 March 2017

What I learn't after losing a loved one.

There’s no handbook for how to handle life situations, we simply live and learn along the way. After recently experiencing the loss of a loved one, I’ve come to understand there’s no right or wrong way to deal with grief. No one can guide you on how to grieve. We all react to situations differently and with grief not only is your mind trying to accept the fact someone has gone, It then needs to adjust to the change and impact their absence has to your daily life.
I don’t know how to make the process less painful or pass quicker, I just have a few pointers I’ve learnt over the past month.

Some days are better than others.
I find myself more tearful and emotionally fragile on the oddest days. It can be the smallest thing that triggers a sad spell or even make me question myself and think twice about whether or not I have really accepted what happened. Some days I’m smiling, laughing and working towards a much more positive attitude. Then something at the back of my mind feels almost guilty for laughing and I go back to shutting down my emotions. This rollercoaster is the only way I know how to deal it, but I understand its normal to have good and bad days, the main thing is you are trying to adjust to the new life without the loved one.

Don't block it out.
Out of sight, out of mind, right? No, in this case grief is not like the parking ticket you can hide under paperwork. I feel like its an unavoidable thunderstorm, you just have to trawl through it and embrace the emotions as best you can.
I say this because I strongly believe that time does not heal. The saying 'time heals' is thrown around so frequently I refuse to believe it does. If I sit and think about my most painful moments, I can revisit them in an instant and they still leave me with a sharp pain/ lump in the back of my throat. The pain never left me, time didn't heal anything; time only gave me opportunities to make new memories, happy ones to replace the ones that hurt.
The new memories helped me not to focus on the pain as much. So don't think by shutting away the emotions of grief time will magically erase them. They will be lurking around as soon as you are ready to accept the loss.
The advantage we have it the luxury of time, we are still living, therefore we need to address our emotions, work through the pain and use time wisely making new memories to help our future selves.
Maybe isolate yourself to collect your thoughts, or like myself you might find solace in writing, so start a diary and write down everything you are feeling. If you feel comfortable being around more people then do just that, do whatever it takes for you to understand what it is you are going through.

Going back to normality.
What is normal when someone so close is no longer there? How do you carry on with a daily routine when so much of it was consumed by that loved one?
I don't know how apart from physically running on autopilot until you can mentally adjust to the idea of doing things without them.
Remembering the simple basics go out the window like eating, sleeping even showering.
It takes a while (depending on how close you were to the loved one) to let the mind accept what has happened and remind yourself even though you don't want to, that you physically need to continue as best as you can.
Neglecting yourself won't achieve anything or make the grieving process easier. Normality in your daily routine is essential, taking care of yourself will help give you strength to mentally accept what is going on and allow your mind to emotionally process it.

You don't have to do this alone.
I cannot be more thankful for my cultural support and my families values and beliefs. We may not see each other daily, we may not even keep in touch but through our toughest time, we were all there. Dealing with grief as a unit helped me massively.
In my case, Ive never experienced the loss of an immediate family member and I found it overwhelming to say the least. If it weren't for my support system (family and Gurps) I know I would be shutting myself off from society, resisting normality and shying away from accepting what happened.
I was overwhelmed with emotion and that's fine, thats a normal part of grieving but I didn't know what to do, I didn't know how to react, I could only communicate with those around me how I felt inside, tell them how I was hurting.
This helped release a lot of pain and also through communicating it brought the family closer, we were open about our feelings, became more compassionate and sympathetic towards one another.
I understand sometimes discussing these emotions with family can be difficult, but don't hurt in silence, speak to a partner, friend or even seek professional help.
Expressing emotion is cathartic and sharing a problem with someone who cares for you will help you deal with the situation a lot better.

What to take from one of life's most painful experiences.
As mentioned at the start of this post, we live and we learn. I've had so much time to sit with my thoughts and process what has actually happened. As much as the loss of a close one saddens me, I am also filled with an insane sense of gratitude.
I'm so very grateful for the time we had, I'm so grateful for being able to have him in my life for this long, I'm so grateful for all the memories.
My eyes well up when I type this but I'm happy to look back on our relationship and I wouldn't trade a second of it.
This loss has grounded me in terms of how I maintain my relations, has taught me the value of time and communication, It has taught me the strength of family and unity.
I can't walk away completely broken, that will benefit no-one, I smile looking back on the good times and look forward to making new memories.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Listening to my gut feeling and making personal improvements

Ever felt this feeling at the pit of your stomach, with everything inside you telling you your just not meant to be there? I have, many times over.
I’ve experienced this during social events, during my working day on my 9-5 and even at home. It’s almost as if I knew I needed to do something to break away from where I was.
I didn’t know what it was I needed to do, I didn’t know how to explain exactly what I was feeling, but I knew the place I was no longer kept me happy and to shake the anxious feeling I needed to move on.

It’s okay to outgrow people.
From a young age I’ve always been happy go lucky with my social life. For me it didn’t and still doesn’t define my happiness, I was just as comfortable sitting on the sofa at home as I was relaxing in a sheesha lounge with friends or in a bar. I didn’t need to have a wild Friday and Saturday night to feel like I’ve ‘lived’.
I started realising about 4 years ago that the level of engagement I would have with people was no longer fulfilling and if anything made me question my need to attend social events all together. I noticed personal changes I would make around individuals, I’d talk a little less and listen a little more.
The more I listened the more I felt at unease, I realised I had mentally outgrown the people I spent the most part of my teenage years and 20’s with.
I wanted to discuss achievements, set goals and work towards bettering myself, I couldn’t care less about X,Y or Z, mediocre gossip or reality tv talk. I didn’t want to binge drink till the early hours of the morning then eat trash at 3am, I didn’t want to experiment with drugs because it’s not a lifestyle that interests me in the slightest.
In a sense I didn’t understand what I was feeling back then but now I know it’s safe to say, It’s okay to not fit in, you don’t have to follow the rest of them; if you feel different follow your gut. If that road leads you temporarily down a route by yourself don’t panic, when you focus on what you believe and start working towards goals that interest you, likeminded people will be on the same path as you and a new set of friends will develop.
I’m not saying drop your friendly entirely, I just need you to know, it’s not a bad thing to feel out of place. Use your gut instinct to help you better your situation and move on towards a position that keep you happy and betters your future self.

The dreaded 9-5
Ever sat at your desk and thought, is this it? Is this my life? Is this excel spreadsheet going to be the death of me?
Unless you’re lucky to have been blessed with a silver spoon in your mouth, you, like myself will have to work to fund a lifestyle. Money is crucial in our lives, for the basics; food and shelter, everything else is a cherry on top.
Why are so many people stuck in a 9-5 they loathe? Why not be fearless enough to pursue your passion, follow your true dream and work towards loving your job?
I personally think it’s easy to get complacent with life, but if like myself you hate the reoccurring thought of knowing you are not fulfilling your maximum potential, changes need to be made.
It’s not as simple as packing up your job and doing what you love, I know; I’m in that position. But I believe if you find your passion, work on it with all your spare time, the time you invest in making your dreams become a reality will outwork the 9-5 and the hard work will pay off, allowing you to pursue a field of your choice.
You just need to be motivated enough to keep at it even when the rewards are slim, keep at it even when you aren’t receiving the recognition you feel you deserve, keep at it until you are in a position to comfortably leave your 9-5 and depend on your passion to bring in revenue.

Is my house really home?
If I’m not at work I’m usually at home, so it’s essential for me that my living space works for me and not against me. I mean that in the sense of it being my sanctuary; a place I can unwind and feel relaxed.
I’ve been lucky enough to move three times in the past three years which is a blessing in disguise, it’s never fun to part with a location you get comfortable in but there is a silver lining, you are forced to assess your material possessions.
When boxing everything up I make a point of clearing out items I no longer use and general junk I accumulate over the years.
This detox of material possessions is what keeps my home my safe heaven. I cannot stand unnecessary clutter, I don’t enjoy over packing my storage units, so I keep items to a minimum. Everything I own from my books to clothes and kitchen utensils are in a set place and all accessible.
A pet peeve is knowing I have something but not being able to find it, argh!!! How frustrating. So to avoid ever falling into that gap again I have adopted the process of smart shopping and regular clear outs. My home is my happy pace and I make sure I do everything possible to maintain that peace.

Listen to your gut feeling, no one knows you better than yourself. Sometimes it’s good to leave a comfort zone because I’ve learnt most the time I’m holding onto them for a false sense of security; if I really sit and think about it I didn’t need any of the comfort zones I led myself to believe I needed, I was strong enough to cope by myself. I hope you are too : )

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