Monday, 28 March 2011

Struggling to be organised

Today the sun is shining. I had a really good sleep. I have put washing on the line. Washed my hair. Spoken to Clive's brother Malcolm. Spoken to my sister who is coming midweek with baby Sophie (hooray!). All good stuff.

But I have a massive amount to do and do not feel like doing a jot. I would go for a walk but I have a parcel due for collection. Clive would call that reason 'balderdash'! Why? Because I know my neighbour is in and he would hand it over ...

This is so unlike me. I just cannot seem to get off the starting block today. Instead I am telling myself off. I have that panic feeling again which I don't like and it scares me. So advice to self and what Clive would say is 'when you don't feel like doing anything, just do something'.

For the first time since Clive died today I have looked up 'bereavement' on the internet. Am I doing it right? Is there a proper way to grieve? Should I by now be the life and soul of any party and 'have got over it'? Let me see....

The Royal College of Psychiatrists say: This state of agitation is usually strongest about two weeks after the death, but is soon followed by times of quiet sadness or depression, withdrawal and silence. These sudden changes of emotion can be confusing to friends or relatives, but are part of the normal process of grief.

Although the agitation lessens, the periods of depression become more frequent and reach their peak between four and six weeks later. Spasms of grief can occur at any time, sparked off by people, places or things that bring back memories of the dead person. 

So that's when I am now, 4 - 6 weeks. Having been mentally ill the past I know how it can build and the spiral can quickly go down. I have no intention for revisiting that place. Which is why I need to know if these panicky feelings are 'normal'. This comment would suggest they are but I am not depressed - but in shock.

From the BBC health page:-

How to help yourself

Be gentle with yourself. It's vital that you don't expect too much from yourself. Give yourself permission to be disorganised for a while. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes.

Well does that let me off the hook? Maybe just a little? Clive was so target driven and I can be when I am my 'usual' self. I feel like a balloon that was big, bright, firm, happily bobbing along. Someone popped it with a loud BANG and I am now shriveled up in a crumpled, mis-shaped form in a dusty corner. We had both been working so hard for months now on all his new 'stuff'. The bookings were coming in. We were a vibrant, dynamic team. I know my verve will come back. Trouble is that I DO have high expectations in all I do of myself. I am rarely disorganised and hate to feel so as I do now. I am not good at forgiving my mistakes (see yesterday's blog!) This comes under the 'kindness' principle I have.
But this is sound advice. I have just printed that comment off in large letters and will keep looking at it!!!

Care for yourself physically. Lack of sleep and nourishment may mean that you're more prone to infections and illness, so eating little and often and getting rest if at all possible are both important.

I read this earlier so I have just had a good plateful of left-over roast dinner and a banana whilst  I sat in the garden. The rest bit alludes me but I did dose for about an hour this morning, and I had 8 hours without the need for a tablet.

Take exercise. If possible do some form of exercise, even if it's only a gentle walk.

Okay, so when I have done this I will sort Simon on parcel duty and go and walk somewhere.
I have been doing this as one of my Hanzak principles.

Avoid alcohol. Reliance on alcohol may help temporarily to dull the pain, but in the long run it doesn't help.
I have been having a glass of rose but one bottle has lasted over a week. So that's ok. I am more likely to have a sleeping tablet at times when I want to shut down.

Avoid sleep medication. It's not advisable to rely on sleeping pills for any length of time. In the first few days, they may help you to get to sleep but your body and mind need to adjust naturally to bereavement and sleeping pills may inhibit this process. They can also become addictive.

Oops! Read this one too late. I am not addicted to them as last night proved. I am seeing my GP in the next few days so will clarify this with her.

Be kind to yourself. Try to do one thing extra for yourself each week, such as buying yourself a bunch of flowers or going to the cinema.

I have booked for my nails to be done again tomorrow. Lynn was stunned at the chipped, tatty mess thay were yeasterday. It will be the last voucher Clive had got for me ...
The cinema is going to be a tricky one as that was one of our favourite past times. Usually using Tesco Clubcard vouchers. Maybe Dom and I should go in Cheshire to a funny film?

Deal with your feelings. Write down all the feelings that are in your head, especially before going to bed, as this may help you to sleep better. Sharing the pain with other members of the family can be helpful, but they too may have their own pain and may not want to hear your story repeatedly. A good friend who's not so emotionally involved may be prepared to listen. If this is difficult then there are support groups that can help.

Well guys I guess this is where my blog comes in! I could be criticised for having 'the time' to write all this out - why am I 'wasting' time when there are practical matters to be sorted?  I make not apology for this being part of my recovery. Usually after I have 'off-loaded' onto my blog I then buzz for a while. I can sense that will happen this afternoon. I have also made a few calls and arrangements to help me with the stuff I need extra support with. That has made me feel better. Also not a single day goes by without several of you telling me how much my blog is helping you! That is amazing!

Work on your self-esteem. Your self-esteem may have taken a real knock. To help morale, buy a notebook to record your daily 'successes'. Write at least five successes each day. Acknowledge yourself each time you achieve something, however small.

Didn't I start this blog off with that? Clive was always keen to work on my self-esteem and everybody elses!
We can't let him down on this one can we?

Recall happy memories. Remembering the good times with the person who died can be painful but healing. Looking at photographs, making a memory book and keeping meaningful mementoes may help.

I have a box which is gradually being added to.

Don't rush to dispose of clothing. Rushing to get rid of your loved one's clothes and possessions, even if you're persuaded by friends to do this, isn't necessarily useful. It's best to do it when you feel ready. You may want to keep an old jersey which still reminds you of your loved one's special smell. This is normal. It's worth remembering that others may value a keepsake.

I am in no rush to do this. My friend who lost his wife almost a year ago has yet to do this. I do find it a comfort.

Take things slowly. Making big changes such as moving house, starting a new relationship or changing your job should be delayed for at least six months. You've suffered a huge loss, and need to adjust to that change in your life first.

I so want to stay in this house which had become OUR home. I have no intention of starting a new relationship but boy am I truly appreciating the ones I have. My job isn't a job. That suggests something you do to pay bills. My career is making showing people how to survive when life throws a dirty ball at you, whether that is through postnatal illness, bereavement or loss in any other way. It is my passion. My purpose to make the journey easier and happier for others. I just need more time to adjust and create my new keynote, materials and business cards!

Elaine Hanzak-Gott is actually a very privileged lady. She is surrounded by amazing family, friends and colleagues of herself and of her beloved Clive who really want her to find a way through this pain. In doing so she is helping them, which is one of her biggest pleasures in life. She also shared the kind of love that not everyone in life ever gets to experience.

On Valentine's Day two years ago Clive took me to 'Go Ape' in Dalby Forest. He had me swinging through trees and climbing like a seven year old. Initially I was scared! At the practice bit with the trainers, about three foot off the ground, Clive encouraged me to 'let go'. I was clinging onto ropes for dear life! He repeated 'Let go - FEEL the support from the safety harness and ropes. You are okay. You are safe and can do this'.
I let go and just dangled there. That showed me I could 'let go' and take a chance.

After a while I did this:-

I took a leap into the unknown, safe with the support I had, with Clive looking on smiling and being very proud of me.

What has changed?

Elaine x

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