Coping

How Sulking Helped Me Become A Happier Person

Who knew crying in bed with chocolate would change my life?

June 26, 2017

Grieving For Loved Ones Over Christmas

Have you been feeling a bit off and can’t put your finger on why? Sure, life is pretty hectic with everyone wanting to get ready for the silly season, but what if it’s more than that? For many people, the lead up to Christmas is a time when they experience grief without being consciously aware of it.

Unfortunately, grief is something we all experience and the realization of lost loved ones is most prominent when families gather at Christmas. For most, it will be due to the passing of a loved one. Tragically, for others it will be the devastation that a loved one is missing. Either way, there is a significant loss and Christmas time can surface emotions which are out of our control.

Regardless of the circumstances the first Christmas is always the most extreme. This is a time when grief is raw and emotions are fragile. It is a very personal experience, so some loved ones will grieve much longer and far more profound than others.

As the years pass by it can get a little easier, however, upon the lead up to Christmas some people aren’t aware of why they experience changes. This can also happen upon the lead up to birthdays and anniversaries. Individuals may get upset easily or feel lethargic, tired, irritated or depressed. It’s a strange phenomenon which happens to many people and is difficult for individuals to comprehend. All they know is that they feel bad, but can’t put an explanation on why.

Strangely, after these events pass, this feeling eases. However, it’s during this time that individuals may experience changes in their behavior. These include insomnia, changes in appetite, loss of desire, plus some may partake in erratic behavior like consuming too much alcohol, taking drugs or gambling.

It’s when routine behaviors shift, that they can indicate symptoms of much deeper issues. So if someone is sliding into altered or unhealthy behaviors, there is usually a reason why. Instead of focusing on the behavior, you need to look past them and acknowledge the underlying feelings and emotions that are causing them.

Once these are identified, the feelings and emotions can be addressed. In most cases, it’s grief rearing its ugly head. It’s an exceptionally uncomfortable emotion and people avoid it any way they can. Instead of avoiding grief, it is an emotion that is best tackled head on. The only way to do this is to acknowledge it for what it is. That may be easier said than done because there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There are only healthy and unhealthy alternatives.

Below are some recommended healthy alternatives to survive times such as Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries, when grief mysteriously appears.

1. Acknowledge grief for what it is.
2. Put extra focus on maintaining your mental health.
3. Eat properly.
4. Avoid alcohol and drugs, including irregular prescription medications, like Valium.
5. Get extra exercise.
6. Know that it’s ok to cry.
7. Talk about your loss and the feelings associated with it.
8. Do things which make you feel good.
9. Avoid isolating yourself.
10. Ask for help if and when you need it.

Lastly, if you or someone you love is overwhelmed with grief, please seek medical assistance. There may be something else wrong, which is masking itself as grief, so if unsure, make an appointment with a GP so they can run tests and make referrals to specialists if required. Look after yourselves and your loved ones and comfort each other in times of need.

Image via preludetoamidlifecrisis.files.wordpress.com

December 7, 2014

Understanding Women With Postnatal Depression

According to Beyond Blue, 1 in 7/8 women will experience postnatal depression (PND). It’s far more significant than baby blues, which occurs in 8-9/10 women. For women experiencing this, it can be a very difficult, traumatic time. Instead of being overjoyed with the birth of their new child, which many anticipated, they often feel very sad, emotional and alone. Unless you have experienced it yourself or perhaps have someone close to you that has, it can be very challenging to understand.

At first, you may not know your loved one is experiencing PND. Chances are she doesn’t either. Even though there is clearly something wrong, some women will refuse to go to the doctor. It can be very hard for some new mums to admit they aren’t coping. Some see other mothers coping and may feel inadequate because they feel totally overwhelmed. This is natural, particularly with first time mums. Unfortunately, culture dictates that women are natural nurtures and many new mums don’t realise it can take time to grow into this role.

When you think of the pressure society puts on new mums, plus the pressure they place on themselves, no wonder some new mums feel overwhelmed and disillusioned. Not only has a massive change occurred in their life but many new mums are often chronically sleep deprived, have trouble breast feeding, lack support at home, gone from working and being surrounded by people, to being left alone day after day with a new baby.

When you think about it, every aspect of their life changed the moment the baby was born. We now know that mental illness does have a genetic component and therefore, some people maybe more susceptible than others. For those at risk of suffering anxiety or depression, this combination of changes maybe the time these conditions present themselves.

The most important thing to remember, no matter what sort of relationship you have with someone with PND, is that it is a recognised mental health issue which they are experiencing. They are not going out of their way to be over emotional, be on the verge of tears, withdraw from those they love or push them away. They are not neglecting their appearance or house work on purpose. They are probably putting all the energy they do have, into looking after their baby. As hurtful as it is, they may not have time for you as they struggle to survive.

This is possibly why this condition is so isolating. Many women with PND will try to cope in their own way, by themselves, in the privacy of their own home. The best advice is to be patient. Hopefully the new mum will go to the doctor to seek help and shorten the duration of the condition. If either your loved one or yourself are looking for support for PND, please check out the list below for available resources.

BeyondBlue – 24/7 

1300 22 4636

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/

PANDA – 10am -5pm (AEST)

1300 726 306   

http://www.panda.org.au/

Black Dog Institute – Comprehensive Australian & State reference list

http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/depression/inpregnancypostnatal/resourceslinksreading.cfm

By Kim Chartres

July 20, 2014