Kindness and understanding

One time when people need both kindness and understanding is when a loved one is dying and they find themselves perhaps in unknown territory of feeling lost and sadder than they ever thought possible. As I frequently write; just acknowledging their sadness rather than avoiding making contact is all one needs to do, a touch of a hand and a few words expressing empathy, if you do know how they feel.

This weekend I found myself in such a situation and reminded those in need that it does get easier, to remember their loved one before their deterioration of health and to keep them alive in their heart. I also reminded a younger relative that their parent would wish them to go on living life to the full and making every day count.

There are not many families that are not touched by cancer and seeing a loved one suffer and disappear is truly a difficult time and one which takes time to move on from. When we know in advance that a special person is dying, we can at least have time to say goodbye, though this period affects the grieving which there is no quick route.

As ever, tell those you love that you love them on a regular basis and as my wonderful mum would say ‘The time to be good to people is when they are here!’ 

Musical bumps

Musical bumps…and I don’t mean the game we played as children which I believe the fun police have said is now too dangerous!!

I am referring to when we hear a piece of music or a song and we are immediately transported back in time to a memory, a place or a person. These ‘bumps’ can of course be great prompts to bring back happy memories and in my work with dementia clients this can prove invaluable.

On the other hand one can hear a piece of music which may remind us of a loved one we have lost and we may feel reflective and saddened, but even those feelings are useful in helping us to allow our bereavement process and healing to continue.

Let’s face it the music score creates the scene, the atmosphere and the moods in any great film as the amazing John Williams has continued to prove over some four decades. Personally, I would be lost without my music whether it is lifting a mood or emotive to shed a tear or two.

My music list and appreciation is both long and eclectic and in case a certain man is reading my blog today…we had Barber.

Positive Monday

Mondays can be a bit of a drag some weeks even for the most positive soul. But isn’t it great when the week starts off with positive news? Over the past months I have had the privilege of helping a few friends, family and clients with keeping motivated after interviews have been non-productive.

Often the reasons we don’t get that brilliant job we felt we were made for are nothing whatsoever to do with us, our skills, or how we performed on interview…and sometimes it is because something better is out there with our name on it.

However, getting back on the job-seeking horse can be daunting when our self-esteem has taken a knocking, and would-be-employers or agents saying ‘you were over qualified’ is just simply unhelpful.

Sometimes we just have to be patient and that great opportunity will come along and have our name on it and all is perfect in the world. So for one talented young man, who may read my blog today well done…I am almost as thrilled as you.

As for me; well I had a surprisingly high mark on my first assignment on my  latest course. The first one is always the hardest… getting back into the swing of studying and trying to gauge whether one has ‘done enough’ to please the tutors is often daunting. We are never too old to accept positive feedback nor be excited to receive a great mark!

I am now in an excellent place, to a) start assignment number two and b) see what Tuesday holds.

Calming influence of animals

DSC00006 candy face


Speaking as the crazy cat lady of my village….it’s true I do value and appreciate the gifts that my feline friends provide. I am not talking about some of the interesting objects they fetch in or the hairs they leave on my best jacket…I am referring to the calm and affection they bring. *Above photo of our much loved and missed cat Candy.

It is a proven fact in terms of health benefits stroking a cat or a dog lowers our blood pressure level. Have you ever noticed if you are unwell or maybe feeling unhappy animals seems to know and come to you?

Having a pet can certainly left the spirits and for those living alone having a dog encourages you to get out, exercise and meet people.

I always maintain a home isn’t a home without a cat..but then I am bias.

Support for eating disorders

Recently watched the Panorama programme dedicated to eating disorders in men and boys presented by Nigel Owens the Rugby referee. Worrying stats were revealed of young men being affected by eating disorders with 42% increase in referrals over the last two years.

As with most mental illnesses intervention early really does aid success for recovery. Sadly youngsters wait far too long for referrals for support help and often are turned down because of shortage of staff and a variety of other factors.

We all keep hearing how the government are investing billions into this area with aims to see children within four weeks, one week for real emergencies! In reality this will be impossible to achieve meanwhile a lot of male youngsters suffer in silence.

The documentary covered various cases demonstrating the devestating affects on the body and mind with 13 -17 most at high risk. It revealed facts from support agencies; Beat charity receive 20,000 calls a year. Often eating disorders are viewed as ‘female illnesses’ when this is clearly no longer the case – even so this ‘assumption’ can make it harder for parents and GP’s to recognise/diagnose.

As ever modern media plays its part in making youngsters concerned about their visual appearance and so it starts. Often eating disorders are associated with boys who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality too.

Nigel closed the episode by saying it is a strength to admit one has a problem not a weakness, and advising viewers not to be like him still suffering some 27 years on. Get help and stay one step a head and have a chance of recovering.


Our children..our most precious gift

I am finally getting around to typing up my reflective notes for my journal from all the amazing documentaries I have been watching over the summer. On July 21st my blog was dedicated to Olly Alexander’s ‘Growing up Gay‘ but today I would like to quote from his emotive closing advice and comments:-

 ‘Be honest about our wounds and scars –it’s part of the process. Encourage positivity –be your authentic self. It should be normal for parents to be able to talk to their kids as they deserve a happy life.‘

To echo his honest and heartfelt thoughts, I would like to add a comment I heard on TV from Alan Titchmarsh:

‘We can only ever be as happy as our happiest child!’ 

Think about that one for a moment and ask those awkward questions or at least give your child the platform on which to open up…Remember they are only ever on loan to us.

Resuming studies

Anyone who has had a break from their studies will know it can be quite a struggle to get back on the learning horse and regain one’s focus.

Even the most positive and ethusiastic students can find themselves delaying the inevitable. This week I have found myself in this very same situation, so I did the sensible thing and rang one of my support tutors to have a general chat and confess where I felt I was at!

Distance learning can be daunting but I have had a very positive experience these past few years receiving great encourament and support from the BSY Group. As I revealed yesterday to a new tutor, the personal comments I received on previous coursework always inspired me to press on. Whatever age we are – receiving praise for our achievements is always well-received and makes it all worthwhile.

My chat albeit perhaps not terribly focused (for me) nor containing any specific questions to be answered, helped me to appreciate my chosen projects this year had indeed been advance homework rather than causing delay starting my course. Working with the elderly and the young in mind has provided valuable research for my latest Psychology studies as well as giving me an opportunity to make ultimate use of my varied skills and qualifications gained with BSY. I have even ressurected gems from running a writers group many years ago within reminiscent and sensory work.

In life, I always maintain nothing should be a waste of time, even the bad experiences hopefully teach us something. Reflection gives us an opportunity to grow..if we just make time to do it.

So for any students mature or young on the run down to resuming studies; enjoy the break you have had, keep healthy and be inspired to meet the next challenge.