Side by side


This week has been a new experience for me. I have been trying to marry my sadness at the loss of my brother’s dog- both the dog itself but more painfully the impact on my brother, while at the same time also trying to accept and live in the moment of all the great things that I am doing and getting on with.

The balance of both sadness and lots of joy has been a new and tricky situation for me. In times past, on the whole things would either be absolutely awful or absolutely amazing. This week I find that both are occurring simultaneously for me- and I have found it difficult to manage- mainly because I manage my life by compartmentalising everything, everyone and myself!

I have not seen Penelope for 3 weeks. And I have been thinking about my upcoming session on Friday. What do I tell her… Where do I start? Do I let my grief be the focus of the session or do I spend some time telling her all the massive strides I have taken forward? Well, in line with dialectics I will obviously do both. Because both are equally valid and equally true.

I remember a previous therapist saying to me once, that one of the hardest things can be to accept that someone has been both horrible to you and at times nice. That confusion throws me at times- but it is working with the grey. I tend to box people into competent- incompetent, generous-stingy, capable- incapable… And actually sometimes people including myself can vary on that spectrum.

On Monday I felt paralysed by my emotional pain. Everything I had been working on seemed Sooo pointless. By Tuesday I was able to accept more that Nellie dying is absolutely awful, but that doesn’t have to negate everything else. Yesterday I was very wobbly and today I’ve identified my struggle of two things going on at the same time. That is really helpful.

Hair cuts, jewellery, clothes, making soups and eyebrows seem so unbelievably pointless when I think about my brother. And in many ways yes they are. But I’ve had glimpses that sometimes the more mundane things in life are the things that enable to you keep going when the bigger things are shaken. Going grocery shopping, washing up, having a shower are part of the rhythms that may help stop a potential crash.

I have had to accept that Nellie has died and i am trying to accept that my brother will respond the way he chooses to respond. I have had to put into practice the skills of self-soothing and distress tolerance in a way I haven’t had to for quite a while. I am tired, very shaky and vulnerable. But I have also known what I have needed to do to manage. I’ve been exercising, cooking, watching films, sitting outside, tidying up. Apart from one day I haven’t totally collapsed- which is wonderful 🙂

Thank you for all your thoughts.

Thanks for listening.



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