“Everything can change in a heartbeat; it can slip away in an instant. Everything you trust, and treasure, whatever brings you comfort, comes at a terrible cost. Health is temporary; money disappears. Safety is nothing big an illusion. So when the moment comes, and everything you depend upon changes, or perhaps someone you love disappears, or no longer loves you, must disaster follow? Or will you-somehow-adapt?” ―
I haven’t added to this section of my blog, since 15th January. That was five days after the death of my dear and beautiful mother, Valerie; known as Val. It was just a few weeks after the death of my aunt, Pat; my mum’s former sister-in-law. Here I am, writing this blog at my desk, at home. Yesterday was the three month anniversary of the day of my mum’s death. I am not only stunned that my mum died, but I find myself confined to my house, in the midst of a global pandemic which has already claimed more then ten thousand lives in UK hospitals! No doubt there will be a great many who have died in the community setting, too. How surreal this is.
Alongside that, it was only back in October that I had to close my business and end my career as a Psychotherapist, thanks to the uncertainty around ‘Brexit’ and the fact that the NHS had written to me to advise me that my supply of medication to treat my Parkinson’s was no longer a certainty. It became unethical, and therefore impossible, for me to continue my work knowing that I could take on new, vulnerable clients and then find myself potentially unable to go to work, were I to have no medication. Now, just this past week, my husband has been made redundant. This is due to the impact of Coronavirus and the lockdown; forcing his employer’s plant nursery business into financial collapse.
I am now hoping that my Universal Credit benefit will cover the shortfall in our household income. We have already advised our landlord that, subject to this outcome, we may or may not be able to pay our rent. This is, indeed, another very challenging and life-changing situation to find ourselves in. That said, we are far from alone. The challenges we face are shared by millions of people not just across the UK, but now across the world.
Ordinarily, any one of these events would have been significant and impacting. Any one of these events would have taken some time to adjust to, to accept, to get through and then, ultimately, to recover from. Yet, here we are with all of these issues, and more, to get through. The future, or more specifically mine and my husband’s future, is now filled with stress and uncertainty. Again, many people will be experiencing that same sense of uncertainty, as they face similar challenges. The key is to remain hopeful and optimistic. You can start that sense of optimism by simply acknowledging that you are not alone; that there are a great many other people going through the same thing as you. The optimism must come from a place inside; a place of trust and hopefulness.
One of the simplest ways to maintain a sense of optimism is to nurture a sense of gratitude within yourself. Take time each day to think about what you are grateful for. If it is a person you feel gratitude for, then maybe seek an opportunity to let that person know that you care for them, that they matter and that you are grateful for their presence in your life.
With regard to other things you may feel gratitude about/for, I would suggest that you write down at least five of those things and then seek to create a simple plan that will ensure these things, that you value, remain a part of your life in the future, too. This is not always easy to do and so it may be something you would discuss with a partner, sibling, friend or parent. At least while the world is so ‘upside down’ with worry, fear, anxiety and uncertainty playing out, the challenges in life will continue to come and go. Some will be smaller while others may yet be bigger than what we face, even today. Two points I would like to make, here, are these:
- “Don’t get dragged into other people’s madness!” Stay outside of other people’s bad behaviours. Choose to respond in a way that prevents you from entering conflict.
- Identify something about yourself that represents a strong foundation. Tell yourself this:”I have already survived everything that has ever happened to me.“.
Remind yourself that you are strong, resolute, resilient and that it’s okay to have a whole variety of emotions about this. Remind yourself that it is going to be alright.
When I think about tough years, I remind myself that everything about them was temporary. As Humans, we have a great capacity for supporting each other, offering each other kindness and that we are all inter-connected. The beauty in what we are now seeing play out in the UK and, indeed, around the world, shows that the future will be better. People are learning to value the things they never for one moment expected to have to consider or contemplate. Yet, here we all are and we are thinking a great deal.
Do something good with each new day and please, take even just five minutes to do something kind for another person. Drop someone a message to let them know how much they mean to you. This is always a good place to start.
Take great care. These are challenging times but, by staying at home, we are doing the very best to help limit the possibility for the virus to spread. We are doing the very best to protect those we love and value, of our family and friends, and we are doing our best to help members of our communities; immediate as well as global, to remain virus free. In particular, we need our NHS staff to remain safe and well.
On that note, I would like to join the many grateful people who clap and cheer for the NHS and for all of those in Keyworker and Volunteer Keyworker roles. You are all amazing and I thank you.
In my mind, I go back to New Years eve; the night when 2019 was replaced by 2020. I had all manner of plans for this year. Within just a few days of 2020 starting; my mum was dead. You simply cannot always know what is coming your way. Try to identify, now, what you would like to have in place next time you have to deal with a difficult or challenging situation? Do you have that in place, now? If not, create a plan and build the goal of achieving that plan into every hour of every day. You will get there.
If you have had a similar experience or if you have faced, or currently face, significant challenge, then feel free to leave a comment below and share something of your own story.
(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2020.