Archive | December, 2012

Stronger

27 Dec

Many of you will know why I haven’t updated this for a while but it now feels the right time to come back!

I have been writing in the background but a lot of this was more ‘therapy’ than to share.

Dad died in the summer after a very short, shocking illness, his brain tumour hadn’t presented in many of the normal ways so was undiagnosed for months. By the time it was found it was very advanced and we had only a very short time with him, we also had to fight with the system, to find the right care and to battle what was totally unacceptable. During this time my mum was also diagnosed with Parkinsons, our roles changed, I became the parent, fighting for them, putting them at the centre of my life.  Within a few weeks everything changed, my young parents were only in their mid sixties, we hadn’t been ready for this, we thought we had time.

All of this came on top of a job that was becoming increasingly chaotic and stressful. In the end I took some time away and admitted that I was under too much stress and something had to take a back seat.  A few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to cope with this, I wouldn’t have had the strength or the skills. Thankfully this time last year I admitted to myself that I needed some professional help.

I’d lost the weight, discovered the joy getting fit had brought me, taken time out, done things I’d always wanted to and never done or been able to do, on the surface it all looked ok but there was something big missing. Maybe not even missing but I wasn’t as ‘ok’ as I thought I was.  Perhaps I’d known it all along but the time hadn’t been right to move that far forwards, I’d put into place some stepping stones but there was a final leap that needed to be taken.

A friend told me I needed some professional help, I didn’t know where to start but he moved me towards looking at possible CBT. I found a therapist who seemed to have the right credentials and had helped another friend in the past.

He started by trying to establish what my challenges were, this took a few sessions of talking, he also grasped that I liked to read more about what we were doing, a reading list, a flip chart and a lot of diagrams appeared!  After five sessions we started hypnotherapy, I was sceptial, it seems a step too far, I could deal with the talking and we were making progress but I was assured that CBT wasn’t the answer and I needed to open my mind that this was a route I needed to take and would help.

I was amazed after the first session, a new calmess was there, I didn’t remember much about what had been said during the session but the feeling was pretty stunning. I was told over the next few sessions that I was going ‘very under’, I was accepting the therapy, my breathing was slowing dramatically and I was finally totally relaxing – maybe I’d never done that before.

My therapist taught me how to relax, how to deal with the situations that I found most challenging and importantly that I did have the strength to deal with anything I wanted to.  He discharged me with a whole new skill set and an understanding of who I was. Some say it’s like being ‘re-programmed’, that is the best description I can give. It pulled together what I already knew and shuffled it up into something that made sense.

Little did I know how valuable all this would be, everything that was literally thrown at me was ok, I knew what to do, dad and I had importantly also had some conversations earlier in the year when his brother and mum died about this situation so he guided me too even when it wasn’t possible for him to tell me. He was a very wise man and his words even at the later stages of his illness will always stay with me.

There were times when it was totally overwhelming, that I’d never be able to do it but thanks to my wonderful family and friends we got there, it was the most painful time, however at the root of everything was this new calmness and acceptance.

A few months on, I’m still feeling it, there is work to be done, there always will be – work has become too stressful and I need to find a way of either being able to deal with it or to move on to something new. I’m struggling too with perhaps needing to do something that makes a difference, going through things like this certainly sorts out your priorities.

The new year is just around the corner, we move on as a family, he’s still a part of us, I know I am my father’s daughter, I just hope I can be as wise!  My relationship with my mum is wonderful, she’s doing well and is working with her condition to get fit and remain as healthy as she can, we’ve both learnt that life is very short, you never know what may be around the corner so we don’t wait for tomorrow anymore.

My learnings from the last year are that, that you don’t know if you will have tomorrow, so live today. Take stock, it’s not a failing to admit that you need help, it takes strength to take that step. It will always be one of the most important things I’ve ever done, I’ll continue to have sessions to make sure those skills stay fresh. There’s no going back. I lost so much of my life and I just want to live it now.

And finally a word from my dad ‘ You can only ever truly appreciate the good if you experience the bad’ – so much happened in his life and yet he always remained positive and found the best in every situation and every person.

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