HOW TO COPE WITH LOSING A PET OF OUR BELOVED FRIEND

It is a given that we live a lot longer than our pets that we care for, cuddle and nurture and so much more with them that , it stands to reason that we will, at some time or another will have to come face to face with losing one. Whether you know it’s coming or it’s unexpected of the actual time to say our goodbyes to our fur-babies, it is a sad and emotional time. Fortunately, there are many ways to cope with the loss.

Method 1 – Before Your Pet’s Death

  1. Accept your pet’s fate.

At some point, we all will need to come to terms with the mortality of our beloved pets. Even, if the Vet gave a certain diagnosis of the animal’s health and how long it is expected to live for – we definitely need to be
ready for that. Preparation is key. There are very few animals that, like pets, have the expected lifespan of humans.
If your pet is ill or is a “senior” pet, it’s a good time to talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s continued quality of life of what you can do for it to get comfortable and free from any pain.

2. Talk with your vet.

When talking with your vet, ask if and how much pain your pet is experiencing.
Gather every information that you’ll need based on what your pet is facing.
Knowing this will help you make the right decision for your pet, and knowing that you make the best choices for your pet helps you better cope with the loss of a pet.Consider the animal’s quality of life.
Ask yourself a few questions before you make the final decision if you do decide to let your pet go. Is (s)he in pain? Can the pain or illness be treated medically, and still offer your pet a good quality life?
Does (s)he have a good appetite? Is your pet happy?

Finally, give thought to whether medical treatment is financially viable for you.
For most of us, finances do need to be a consideration, albeit a very unpleasant one.
Based on the vet’s assessment and your own judgment, make the decision, with your pet’s happiness in mind.
If you’re not sure, consider getting a second opinion from another vet.

3. Take pictures of your pet.

You will want something to remember it by. Even if (s)he looks sick and miserable, it is very important to take photos and videos, as bittersweet as it may feel. In the future, you may wish to boast about what a wonderful pet you had, and you may want to show people what he or she looked like. Collect anything else you want to remember him/her by. This includes a favorite toy, a blanket, or a decorative element from a tank or cage. Consider taking a clipping of your pet’s hair. You can also dip your pet’s paw in a small bit of paint and place it on a piece of paper that you can later display after the pet has died.

4. Continue to spend time with your pet.

Despite, it’s quality of life it is reassuring for your pet to know that you’re there with them until you let go. Let your pet know how much you love him or her, and cherish every moment. They will know that you’re still with them. Animals can sense people auras and what their nature is like from when you first got them to when you’re about to let them go. As that happens, your bond and friendship with your pet grows. Pet your special one in all its favorite places, and above all else make sure s/he is comfortable. Talk and maybe even sing. Do things that your pet has always enjoyed, when still able, like letting curling up on your lap for hours at a time, giving plenty of time to roam in the yard, and eating yummy little treats. If there was ever a time to spoil your pet, this is it. Discuss your pet’s diet with your vet. If your pet is at an advanced age, a change in diet may make your pet happier on many levels – offering a diversity of foods and/or foods that are easier to eat or digest (and help prevent weight loss). At the same time, respect your pet’s wishes; if (s)he wants to be left alone, don’t violate your pet’s comfort. Let your pet have his or her way

5. Consider staying with your pet during euthanasia. (MORE LATER ON THIS)

I know many people won’t want to come to terms to put the animal down.
Yet, it has clearly shown that when you’re with the animal after it’s put down, they’re at peace to know that you’re with them. It is usually a painless and peaceful process for your pet, but most importantly you will be with your beloved pet in its last moments, helping to ease its way along. Remind the vet to give an anesthetizing agent so that your pet goes to sleep BEFORE the actual injection occurs that ends his/her life.
Holding and petting your animal can give you as much comfort as it gives your pet, and though it’s a sad experience, it’s one that will help you to feel you did all you could for your pet in this world.

6. Make arrangements as to what you will do with his earthly remains.

When preparing for the loss of a pet, you also need to prepare for all the practicalities that follow. They are an absolute nightmare if you’re unprepared – and may add to your grief and stress at the time. You want to ensure you’ve taken care of all arrangements beforehand. You may wish to bury it in your yard with or without a grave marker.
You can also have it buried in a cemetery or cremated.Or you can ask for their ashes once they’ve been cremated and then do a proper ceremony of letting go.

7. Give family and friends a chance to say goodbye.

Before your beloved pet leaves your home forever, let the people who’ve enjoyed his/her presence know that it’s not going to be around for much longer.
You’ve been given a chance to say goodbye, and so should they. Assuming your pet feels comfortable with people, getting attention from various sources will
make you and your pet feel more loved.

Method 2 – After Your Pet’s Death

1 Allow yourself to cry.

Bottling up your emotions is not good for you, and you will feel sad forever.
Forget all that nonsense that you’re not supposed to mourn an animal as much as you would a person. There was a bond that you cherished, and no matter the nature of the bond, it is missed.

2. Tell your friends about the loss.
You might send out a mass e-mail, but not to everyone in your address book.
Send it to those who know you well, and care about you. You will receive many responses that let you know others loved and appreciated your pet and will validate your feelings.

3. Remember your pet.
Don’t pretend you never had one. Even though it makes you sad, it is best to remember and cherish the memories, not ignore them. It may hurt at first, but it’s the only path to closure, and it’s the only way you’ll ever be able to remember fondly your time with your pet. This is a good time to make a scrapbook or post photos on your blog or homepage. Include pictures, stories, and notes about your pet.
Read “The Rainbow Bridge” poem online. It will make you feel better about your loss. Create some form of legacy for your pet when they’re gone to be remembered by.

4. Get on with your life.

Although losing a pet is very sad, it is no reason to shut yourself up in your house or go into depression. Your pet has always felt comfortable in your comfort, and the sooner you get back on track, the sooner you’ll be yourself again.

5. Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter.

While emotionally, you may not be prepared to welcome another pet into your home right away, the act of helping to care for a homeless pet,
a pet in desperate need of a caring human, may help with your grieving and sadness.

6. Do something in memory of your pet.
Plant a tree, donate to a shelter or college of veterinary medicine.

There is so much more you can do while coping after losing your fur-baby as it is quite similar to how it works with when losing a person that you’ve loved and cared about. The question is do you wish to get another pet after losing your first one that passed?

There are many wonderful reasons to once again share your life with a companion animal, but the decision of when to do so is a very personal one. It may be tempting to rush out and fill the void left by your pet’s death by immediately getting another pet. In most cases, it’s best to mourn the old pet first, and wait until you’re emotionally ready to open your heart and your home to a new animal. You may want to start by volunteering at a shelter or rescue group. Spending time caring for pets in need is not only great for the animals, but can help you decide if you’re ready to own a new pet.

Some retired seniors living alone may find it hardest to adjust to life without a pet. If taking care of an animal provided you with a sense of purpose and self-worth as well as companionship, you may want to consider getting another pet at an earlier stage. Of course, seniors also need to consider their own health and life expectancy when deciding on a new pet. Again, volunteering to help pets in need can be a good way to decide if you’re ready to become a pet owner again.

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UNDERSTANDING THE STAGES OF GRIEF

Everyone experiences grief differently. Many people who lose a friend or loved one experience several stages of grief as they deal with a loss. Psychologists who work with people as they grieve have noticed the ways that people cope with the loss.
There are some commonalities including distinct stages such as denial, anger, and depression. There are a few more to name, but what you may not know is that these stages aren’t about the grief of someone dying, but rather something extremely different. There is now more to it than the five that we hear about of the stages of grief which I’ll
explain in a minute.

Types of Loss

Most people associate the word ‘grief’ with the sadness that surrounds the death of a loved one. Yet people can experience grief after many other losses, including a breakup, losing a job or a home, having a part of the body like an arm or leg removed, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, or having to drop out of college.

The Grief Process

People go through a number of stages when they lose a loved one.
You may experience them in any order and any number of times. You may feel sad
at the beginning, move on to anger, and then return to feeling sad. The crucial thing to remember is to take your time to grieve. Allow yourself to do it in own unique way. Never let anyone tell you how to grieve or for how long. It’s up to you! Accept any help if it is given to you while you’re grieving.

What You Probably Don’t Know About Grief

Many people think that the stages of grief are about the loss of a loved one.
However, they are actually related to people who are dying, rather than a personal loss.
Dr. Kübler-Ross is credited with developing the stages of grief, but most people don’t realize that what she created was for people with terminal illness. She wrote a book called On Death and Dying. In this book, Dr. Kübler-Ross writes about the stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Dr. Kübler-Ross interviews terminally ill patients and discusses how impending death affects a person. She writes about how the patient, their family, and loved ones cope with the loss.

She did not develop the stages to describe the stages of loss people go through when some dies, however, they are about what terminally ill people experience. The stage includes – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. After some time, people adopted these phases to apply to their personal loss, and they seem to fit well. Below you will find the stages of grief as a terminally ill person experiences them. They are also applicable to losing a loved one.
*Just as a quick note that not everyone will go through these stages of all of these. Some miss a few stages while grieving. This will only be for some people not all.

Kubler Ross Stages of Grief
Dr Elizabeth Dr. Kübler-Ross , a Swiss psychiatrist, introduced the concept of the five stages of grief in 1969. What are the five stages of grief? According to Dr. Kübler-Ross’ model, there are several stages of grief. Through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance people process their loss, whether that’s a terminally ill patient or a person coping with losing a loved one. She was also interested in the way people communicate their grief to others through their words, emotions, and behavior.

Denial

When you’re in denial about the loss, you try to convince yourself or others that the event hasn’t happened or isn’t permanent. You know the facts, of course. If your spouse has died, you might accept that it happened but then believe for a time that his death means nothing to you. If your parents have divorced, you might try to get them back together even after they’ve moved on to other relationships.Following a job loss, you might go back to work thinking they didn’t really mean it when they fired you.

Anger

Anger is a typical reaction to loss, and it’s one of the Dr. Kübler-Ross’ stages of grief.
You may be angry with the person who left you, or you may feel angry with yourself.
You might express the anger by shouting at people through sarcasm,
or by showing irritation at everything from significant letdowns to minor problems. This stage can also happen at any time, even after you go through a period of acceptance.
The benefit of the grief stages is that they help you deal with the loss and move on.
Anger can energize you to do just that.

Bargaining

At some point, you may find yourself bargaining, trying to get back what you lost.
This part of the stages of grief and the higher power help the person cope with the loss.
People often promise their God that they will live a better life if only they can take back what they lost. A child may promise to pick up their toys and stop arguing with their siblings if their parents will get back together. Bargaining is a stage that sometimes brings up uncomfortable discussions that go nowhere.

Depression

Next in the five stages of grief is depression. The depression can present with any of the symptoms of clinical depression. You may feel sad and cry often. You might notice changes in your appetite or sleep patterns. You might have unexplained aches and pains. This stage can be too painful in a breakup in a relationship and in the death of a loved one. If you’re moving through these stages of grief, divorce can seem like the end of your life, so it’s natural to become depressed. It is a situational depression that may soon pass naturally as you move toward acceptance.

Acceptance

The last of the Dr. Kübler-Ross stages of grief is acceptance. You understand what you lost and recognize how important that thing or person was to you. You no longer feel angry about it, and you’re finished with bargaining to get it back. You’re ready to start rebuilding your life without it.

Complete acceptance brings complete peace, but often, this stage is never complete. Instead, you might feel sad during death anniversaries or angry when you feel current circumstances would work out so much better if you just had that thing or person with you now. When you accept the loss fully, you’ll understand the stages of grief better.

The Seven Stages of Grief
Dr. Kübler-Ross refined her model to include seven stages of loss. The 7 stages of grief model is a more in-depth analysis of the components of the grief process. These seven stages include shock, denial,anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance. Kubler-Ross added the two steps as an extension of the grief cycle. In the shock phase, you feel paralyzed and emotionless. In the testing stage, you try to find realistic solutions for coping with the loss and rebuilding your life.

Other Variations

There have been different grief models over the years. In addition to the 5-stage and 7-stage models, you may hear about the four stages of grief and the six stages of grief. John Bowlby, a British psychologist, studied the stages of grief and loss long before Dr. Kübler-Ross presented her five stages of grief. His work was with children with attachment issues. One of these, of course,is grief. Bowlby’s four stages of grief are: 1) shock and numbness, 2) yearning and searching, 3) despair and disorganization, 4) reorganization and recovery.

The six stages of grief s merely an extension of Kubler-Ross’ original 5-stage process.
The only difference is that the shock stage starts before denial. What are the stages of grief then? That is a question only you can answer. The stages of grief you go through might be different from the ones someone else experiences.

Getting Stuck

Sometimes, the grief process doesn’t go well. The bereaved may become stuck in one stage of grief, unwilling or unable to move through the process. In a worst-case scenario, the person can continue to be angry, sad, or even in denial for the rest of their life. When this happens, they usually need to talk to a grief counselor before they can move out of that stage of grief. Otherwise, the intense pain might continue over the course of many years. Also, they may miss opportunities to build a new life that can bring them happiness in the here and now.

Help When You’re Grieving

Grief counseling helps people who are overwhelmed after a loss. If they are stuck in one stage of grief, this type of counseling can help move them towards recovery. The counselor assists and guides you as you talk about the loss, identify your feelings, and separate from and learn to live without the person you lost.

Along the way, they will help you understand the stages of grief. They will support
you by providing information about grief in general as you go through the process.
They help you identify and hone the coping skills you’re already using. If the method
you’re trying to use for coping isn’t working out, the grief counselor can help you identify that problem and introduce you to coping skills that work better.

Real Men DON’T GRIEVE, OR DO THEY?

Men are the forgotten grievers!

A woman in tears, openly expressing her pain, wanting to connect with a male partner whose impermeable stoicism has left her feeling alone. A man, his heart breaking on the inside, confused amidst a world shattered by loss, locking his pain behind a wall of silence, unsure how to express vulnerability or to receive support.

Is there really a difference in the way men grieve and respond to loss? After doing some research it’s safe to say that I’ve known plenty of men who fit the stereotype: emotionally controlled, disinclined to talk about matters of the heart, as apt to seek out solitude as connection focusing on action rather than talk.

Men grieve far more than we show or discuss. One of the biggest reasons for the misunderstandings on this subject is that we don’t talk about it, and we do a rather poor job of listening when women try to share their own grief or prod us to talk about ours.

We almost never cry in front of other men. If we feel that a woman is “safe,” we may cry with her. But most of our tears are shed when we are alone, perhaps while driving our vehicles. In all too many cases, our hot tears become a deep-freeze of anger or rage. Most very angry men are very sad men.

But these were the surface responses of men whose inward experiences were far more nuanced, changeable, and multidimensional than stereotypes can capture or assess.
The real picture was more complex.

Still, it can be helpful to bear in mind, without being rigidly attached to, the perspectives of researchers and clinicians convinced such differences are real. This perspective suggests that, as a group, men tend to be less expressive of their feelings—with the possible exception of anger—and that this disinclination to disclose or process emotions may actually intensify during times of stress and vulnerability.

So it is with grieving. When a cherished pet is critically ill or has died, men and women will not experience or express their reactions in the same way. Failure to understand and accept our different ways of grieving can result in hurt feelings and conflict between partners and among family members during a very difficult time. There are big decisions to be made – whether to proceed with expensive diagnostic procedures or treatments, choices about euthanasia, options for care of the pet’s body after death. There are goodbyes to be said and there is grief work to be done. Behaviors can be misinterpreted;
needs may be misunderstood; expectations may not be met.

Male grief has certain characteristics that are important for us to know. Otherwise we may assume that, when faced with the crisis of losing a beloved companion animal, real men don’t grieve.

Like everyone else in our Western culture, men are saddled with certain stereotypes.
Real men are supposed to be tough, confident, rational and in control, not only of themselves but of situations as well. Real men don’t cry, aren’t afraid of anything and wouldn’t be caught dead asking for directions, let alone for help. Real men know exactly
what to do in a crisis, and they’re strong enough to support the rest of the family, too. Add to these stereotypes the assumption that, if a man doesn’t express thoughts and feelings of grief the same way a woman does (by crying or by openly sharing with others, for example),
then he must not be grieving at all. If the grief doesn’t show, it must not be there!

Scientific studies indicate clear differences between the male and female brain, not only in how it is structured, but in how it is used as well. We know that the left side of the brain houses language skills, while the right side controls spatial problem-solving skills. That the connective tissue between the two sides (the corpus collosum) tends to be thinner in males than in females may explain why a man tends to use one side of his brain at a time,
while a woman uses both – and why a man is less able to verbalize what he is feeling. Other studies indicate that from puberty a male produces less of the tear-producing hormone prolactin, leaving him physiologically less able to cry.

So do real men grieve when they lose a beloved companion animal? Most certainly they do– but they may do so in an instrumental rather than an intuitive way.

In general, men tend to put their feelings into action, experiencing their grief physically rather than emotionally. They deal with their loss by focusing on goal-oriented activities which activate thinking, doing and acting. Rather than endlessly talking about or crying over his lost pet, for example, a man may throw himself into time-limited tasks such as digging the animal’s grave, constructing a burial box, carving a memorial marker, planting a memorial garden, or writing a poem or a eulogy. Such activities give a man not only a sense of potency and accomplishment as he enters his grief, but also a means of escaping it when the task is done.

If a man relates the details of his loss to his closest male friends, it’s likely to be around activities like hunting, fishing, sporting events and card games.

Although a man may let himself cry in his grief over losing his pet, he is more likely to do it alone, in secret or in the dark.

Regardless of the differences, the pressures of grief are still present for both men and women, and the tasks of mourning are the same: to confront, endure and work through the emotional effects of the pet’s death so the loss can be dealt with successfully. Grief must be expressed and released in order to be resolved, and men need encouragement to identify
and release emotions, to talk about and share their thoughts, and to accept help and support from others.

Research

There is evidence that men are more likely than women to remain silent or grieve in isolation, engage in action-oriented forms of grief expression, or lose themselves in distractions such as work or throwing themselves into a new relationship. Research suggests that men appear to be more susceptible to developing a reliance on alcohol or engaging in risk-taking behaviors following a loss and are more likely than women to commit suicide following the death of a spouse. Some studies suggest that men are more likely to use the strategies of avoidance, intellectualization, and minimization when grieving and, although research is inconsistent on the point, they may have a greater tendency to somaticize emotional and psychological pain

Grieving men may be at greater risk of death when compared with men of the same age who are not grieving. Some believe this may reflect the impact of internalized
stress or the effects of poor self-care. Others suggest that men tend to have smaller social networks than women and more difficulty asking for and accepting support,
making them less likely to receive, and more likely to reject, encouragement to prioritize one’s health .

Theories about purported gender patterns among those who are grieving tend to focus on biology, socialization, or a combination of the two. Biological hypotheses range from the impact of testosterone and the nervous system to concepts drawn from evolutionary psychology (such as speculation on the biological basis of role differentiation).

Psychologist Judith Stillion, PhD, CT, articulates one of the earlier arguments on behalf of the importance of socialization. During childhood, boys and girls receive different messages that profoundly impact the ways they grieve, she says. Boys, she believes, receive four fundamental messages about what it means to be a man and what constitutes proper male behavior. She refers to the first as “the stiff upper lip syndrome,” in which boys are taught that men must be strong and stoical in the face of difficulty and are discouraged from expressing vulnerability and encouraged to accept pain without complaint. The second is that a man must be in control at all times, self-reliant and able to handle any situation without asking for help. She calls this the”powerful loner stereotype.” The third message is that a man must protect and keep safe those who are important to him and never trouble them with his own struggles or concerns. The last is that a man must be ever ready to overcome any challenge without fear.

“I don’t need to talk to anyone as I can cope on my own!”

Doka and Martin suggest that men and women express their grief along a continuum of styles ranging from those that they call intuitive, centering on the expression
of affect, to those they call instrumental,which find expression physically and cognitively. Although they are careful to contextualize gender within a matrix of other variables—underscoring that no two people or groups will ever grieve exactly alike and that most prefer some blending of these styles—in general men seem to feel more comfortable with a style more heavily weighted toward the instrumental end.

Cultural Messages

Though we may hope boys in the rising generation of men are no longer receiving such rigid injunctions, many males continue to receive such messages as adults, even when grieving. I’ve worked with many men who report that when they’ve attempted to talk about their feelings or shed tears they have felt rebuffed or gotten the message, subtly or overtly, to “be strong,” “don’t cry,” “suck it up,” or “don’t make others feel uncomfortable.” Such experiences not only close down opportunities for connection and authentic support but also can undermine trust and reinforce stereotyped patterns and defenses tending toward isolation.

Cultural expectations about what constitutes healthy grieving hold that to heal, one has to speak about, process, and “work through” one’s thoughts and feelings by sharing them. Ideally this allows the bereaved to adapt to the world in the absence of their loved one while maximizing social support networks and reinvesting in other relationships and meaningful activities. Those who grieve silently rather than talking about their feelings may be labeled as excessively withdrawn, clinically depressed, or uncommunicative. Men who prize stoicism as an expression of independence or dignity, or as a way of not putting their burdens on others may be considered to be in in denial or out of touch. Men who engage in action-oriented expressions of grief, such as physical activity or private rituals away from the eyes of others, or who attempt to cope through distraction, positive thinking, planning for the future, or intellectualization may be accused of running away from their grief.

Though any of the above tendencies when taken to extremes or excessively relied upon can lead to complications, there is nothing inherently wrong or unhealthy about any of them. In fact, these tendencies may simply be a part of a style of grieving that social worker Tom Golden, LCSW, (2010) refers to as “the masculine side of healing.”

By this he means that there may be a style of grieving and healing that men gravitate to more readily than women. In his book Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, he puts it as follows: “The masculine side of healing is not as accepted a mode of healing as the more traditional verbal and emotional expressions. It tends to be quieter and less visible, less connected with the past and more with the future, [and] less connected with passivity and more aligned with action. As a consequence, I have noticed repeatedly that people who use a predominance of this masculine side of healing are suspected
even by mental health professionals of ‘not really healing.'”

By thinking in terms of a style of healing in which men may feel more at home, we can better assess and appreciate the potentially useful aspects of this style in the larger context of one’s bereavement journey, rather than dismissing it as dysfunctional.

So is the inward experience of grief really different for men and women? Or is the pain simply more likely to find expression along gender lines? Maybe the
difference is not so much in the experience of grief itself but in how the pain of grief is absorbed, processed, and expressed, or what we typically call mourning.

Unquestionably, many men have inherited the messages described by Stillion—the powerful loner guarding emotion behind a wall of strength, unwilling to be vulnerable,
uncomfortable asking for support. But this response may be reflexive and potentially self-protective when one is feeling unsafe or overwhelmed. When the value of
such responses are affirmed and the boundaries they set respected, and when the language of action, silent gestures, personal codes of honor, are decoded and affirmed,
men often become more forthcoming about things which they had been struggling to carry alone.

If we mistakenly view a surface style as indicative of an unwillingness to connect or process on a deeper level, or if we discount this style as invalid, insisting that those for whom it is helpful are not doing the work of bereavement, we will miss opportunities to go beneath the surface and offer support. If we accept and respect what may be a masculine or instrumental style of healing, we can avoid the trap of stereotyped expectations and build trust by not dismissing these strategies or attempting to force ourselves beyond one’s defenses.

It must be remembered, of course, that this style, although it can become an avenue into healing, may also lead to serious complications, causing men to suppress or feel shame about normal thoughts, feelings, and difficulties which often attend grief, and potentially creating distrust when it comes to asking for or accepting support. It can also lead to isolation, relational conflict, undisclosed anxiety, depression, or a reliance on dangerous forms of escapism such as drinking or extreme risk-taking, possibly leading to premature death.

It’s also worth remembering that there are plenty of men who gravitate toward an intuitive style of mourning and many women who prefer one that tends toward the instrumental. And that these preferences may be more fluid than fixed, changing with the context, level of trust, and so on.

When the subject of gender differentials in grieving comes up among social workers, the conversations can get pretty lively. Some argue that, although we need to be careful not to overgeneralize, there are clear differences in style between men and women. Others may agree that it’s wise to be aware of ways gender socialization can impact one’s sense of self but distrust such generalizations because they can dull one’s sensitivity to nuance, subjectivity, and changeability when it comes to processing and healing from any significant loss.

The good news is most hospice and bereavement social workers are flexible and inclusive when it comes to these matters, incorporating multiple dimensions of experience and expression into their work, going beyond the traditional verbal explorations that have typified grief bereavement counseling in the past. They understand the need to take the time necessary to establish trust and safety. They respect a client’s defenses
and are sensitive to the ways these may be affected by gender. And most respect the potential value of solitude and of more action-oriented strategies for
coping and healing, whether these strategies are preferred by a man or a woman.

ADVICE

To better understand men who are grieving, it’s helpful to recognize that:

Our own gender biases may influence how we “read” another gender’s grieving.

Although men and women grieve differently, neither way is inappropriate. It is not helpful to take sides, supporting one way of grieving over another.The way we grieve is as individual as we are: some men grieve in traditionally “feminine” ways and some women grieve in traditionally “masculine” ways. What looks like inappropriate behavior may be a man’s way of avoiding feelings or displaying emotions publicly. A man should not be judged for how he is grieving. If a man seems more angry than sad at the death of his pet, he may just be angry at the situation – and anger may be the only way he knows to express his grief.
It’s useful in such cases not to take the man’s anger personally, or to react defensively against it.

Some men turn to drugs or alcohol in an effort to numb the pain of loss, or to lower their inhibitions so they can let loose their emotions.
They need to know that, because alcohol is a depressant, it will only add to the sadness they’re already feeling.

“One more drink and then I can get my work done for the day!”

Men are less likely to seek the support of others (either individually or in a group) in order to express (think, talk, cry, or write about) their feelings, especially if they don’t feel respected, or if they find certain aspects of grief to be embarrassing. A man needs encouragement to share his reactions and emotions, to explore what his pet’s death means to him, and to acknowledge how the loss affects his life.

Men often appear to be further along in the grieving process than they actually are. Even if a man appears to be all right, it is unwise to make assumptions about what he is feeling. When in doubt, ask!


HELPING A CHILD TO GRIEVE AFTER A LOSS OR DEATH

NEVER rush a child while they’re grieving, let them grieve and do what they can to release these emotions that they’re feeling. Just be patient and ready when they need to talk.

Remember, in my last post that I mentioned about that children don’t grieve after a loss or death? Well, that’s not a hundred percent, true. It’s quite the opposite.

Children and teenagers express their grief in a variety of ways. Some may be sad and verbalize the loss like many adults. Depending on their ages, however, they may show sadness only sometimes and for short periods. Children may complain of physical discomfort, such as stomachaches or headaches. Or they may express anxiety or distress about other challenges, such as school or sports.

Loss is more intense when the child had a close relationship with the person who died, such as a parent or sibling. However, this is not always obvious from a child’s reactions. A child’s grief may seem to come and go. And a child may rarely verbally express his or her grief. This is normal. Your child may also re-experience the intensity of the loss as he or she grows up. This may occur more often during certain milestones in life, such as starting school or going on a first date. Even into adulthood, important events such as graduating from college or getting married may trigger renewed grief.

Age has a large influence on childhood grief and how children understand and react to the death of a family member, friend, pet, or close adult.  It is good to know where a child is likely to fall developmentally.  This will help you to better understand how they view the loss and will help you to make age appropriate choices about language and interventions.

Of course age won’t help you to predict exactly how a child will react, other factors will have an impact as well.  Maturity, past experiences, education level, socio-economic status, what part of the world you live in, and access to support resources are merely a few of the many factors that influence us all.

Understanding how children and teens view death

It is helpful to know how children understand death at different stages of development. It varies by age and often changes as a child develops emotionally and socially. Other factors also influence children’s reactions. These can include personality, previous experiences with death, and support from family members. Keep in mind that children do not move abruptly from one stage of development to the next. And features from each stage may overlap.

It is advised that with children of any age or background you should do the following:

  1. Acknowledge their presence, their importance, their opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
  2. Be patient and open minded.  Allow them to grieve in their own way.
  3. Be available – Sit with the child, listen to them, and answer their questions.
  4. Reassure them the circumstances that led to the death were extreme and it is unlikely other adults in their lives will die any time soon (unless this is untrue).
  5. Let them know that a range of different emotions are normal.
  6. Validate their feelings and do not minimize them.
  7. Check in with other adults involved in their life – teachers, school counselors, coaches.Explain death using real words such as “died” rather than confusing phrases such as “gone to sleep.” You can say that death means the person’s body has stopped working or that the person can no longer breathe, talk, move, eat, or any of the things he or she could do when alive.
  8. Share your family’s religious or spiritual beliefs about death.
  9. Encourage your child to ask questions, and try to answer them honestly and directly. If you do not know the answer to a question, help find the answer.
  10. Use books, drawings, or role-play games to help a younger child understand death.
  11. Make sure your child understands that he or she is not to blame for the death and that the person who died is not coming back.
  12. Provide lots of affection and reassure your child often that he or she will continue to be loved and cared for.
  13. Encourage your child to talk about his or her emotions. Suggest other ways to express feelings, such as writing in a journal or drawing a picture.
  14. Without overwhelming your child, share your grief with him or her. Expressing your emotions can encourage your son or daughter to share his or her own emotions.
  15. Help your child understand that normal grief involves a range of emotions, including anger, guilt, and frustration. Explain that his or her emotions and reactions may be very different from those of adults.
  16. Reassure your child that it is normal for the pain of grief to come and go over time. Explain that they cannot always predict when they will feel sad.
  17. If your child is older, encourage him or her to talk with an adult outside the family, such as a teacher or a clergy member. You can also consider an age-specific support group.
  18. Keep routines and caregivers as consistent as possible, and continue setting limits on behavior. Care, consistency, and continuity help children feel safe.
  19. Encourage spending time with friends and engaging in other age-appropriate activities.Reassure your child that it is never disloyal to the person who died to feel happy and to have fun.

Addressing daily routine and role changes

The death of a parent or other close family member can directly affect a child’s day-to-day life. Family routines and roles change, such as a surviving parent having to return to work and spend less time at home. These changes are an added disruption and may add to a child’s distress. Even young children will benefit from extra preparation, conversations, and support around these transitions.

Although the death of a family member with cancer is painful, it may also lessen some of a child’s stress. For example, the death of a sibling might mean that a parent is not dividing time between a sick child at the hospital and another child at home. It is normal to have strong, mixed feelings, including some relief, when a family member’s suffering is over after a long or difficult illness. Help your child realize that these feelings are normal and that he or she should not feel guilty for having them.

Honoring and remembering the person who died

Children as young as age 3 understand the concept of saying goodbye. They should be allowed to choose how they say goodbye to a loved one.

  • Give preschool-age and older children the choice of attending memorial services. But do not force them to attend if they do not want to.
  • Some children may want to attend a memorial service but not a viewing or burial.
  • Allow older children and teenagers to help plan memorials if they want.
  • Talk with children about what will happen at a service ahead of time. Consider visiting the church or cemetery.
  • Ask a trusted adult to help take care of young children at a service or to go home with a child who decides he or she wants to leave early.
Give time and patience when the child is ready to talk to you about the loved one that you loss together. Never feel bad at bringing up some of the things that you remembered about your loss.

I have put together a list of typical grief responses by age.  Again, every child is different and we can’t quantify all the unique and individual qualities of your child in this list.  If your child reacts in a way that concerns you then it might be a good idea to talk things over with an expert like a pediatrician, school counselor, or child psychologist.

Infants (birth to 2 years)

  • Have no understanding of death.
  • Are aware of separation and will grieve the absence of a parent or caregiver.
  • May react to the absence of a parent or caregiver with increased crying, decreased responsiveness, and changes in eating or sleeping.
  • May keep looking or asking for a missing parent or caregiver and wait for him or her to return.
  • Are most affected by the sadness of surviving parent(s) and caregivers.

Preschool-age children (3 to 6 years)

  • Are curious about death and believe it is temporary or reversible.
  • May see death as something like sleeping. In other words, the person is dead but only in a limited way and may continue to breathe or eat after death.
  • Often feel guilty and believe that they are responsible for the death of a loved one, perhaps because they were “bad” or wished the person would “go away.”
  • May think that they can make the person who died come back if they are good enough.
  • May worry about who will take care of them and about being left behind.
  • Are very affected by the sadness of surviving family members.
  • Cannot put their feelings into words and instead react to loss through behaviors such as irritability, aggression, physical symptoms, difficulty sleeping, or regression (such as bed-wetting or thumb-sucking).

School-age children (6 to 12 years)

  • Understand that death is final.
  • May think of death as a person or a spirit, like a ghost, angel, or a skeleton.
  • By age 10, understand that death happens to everyone and cannot be avoided.
  • Are often interested in the specific details of death and what happens to the body after death.
  • May experience a range of emotions including guilt, anger, shame, anxiety, sadness, and worry about their own death.
  • Struggle to talk about their feelings. Their feelings may come out through behaviors such as school avoidance, poor performance in school, aggression, physical symptoms, withdrawal from friends, and regression.
  • May worry about who will take care of them, and will likely experience feelings of insecurity, clinginess, and abandonment.
  • May worry that they are to blame for the death.

Teenagers (13 to 18 years)

  • Have an adult understanding of the concept of death but do not have the experiences, coping skills, or behavior of an adult.
  • May act out in anger at family members or show impulsive or reckless behaviors, such as substance use, fighting in school, and sexual promiscuity.
  • May experience a wide range of emotions but not know how to handle them or not feel comfortable talking about them.
  • May question their faith or their understanding of the world.
  • May not be receptive to support from adult family members because of their need to be independent and separate from parents.
  • May cope by spending more time with friends or by withdrawing from the family to be alone.

To end this, help your child understand that the person who died lives on in his or her memory. Parents who are terminally ill sometimes leave letters, videos, or photographs to help children remember how much they were loved. Children can also compile pictures and other special items to create their own memory. For younger children, most of their knowledge of the person who died will come from memories of other family members. Talk about the person often, and remind children of how much the deceased person loved them. Over time, children can understand that they would not be who they are without the influence of the special person who died.

The problem with creating mental health and autism videos

Hi guys, as you can see reading straight off the bat about what this topic is all about and I want to be real, honest and transparent with you. As you know that it’s hard as it is going to be for me as well as most likely any other person that has their struggles to do this
to be as brave as they can be and not to fear about getting judged or misunderstood. Some of the videos that are being shared can be restricted especially
in this area of sharing our life stories and experiences with Autism and many other hosts of conditions we may have which I clearly shared one of my videos which I will link here: and with that if we are all brave enough to make a stand to talk about it
then I feel our job should be done. Let’s hope that we can agree to disagree or agree to disagree or whatever to what is to come of my points I would like
to share today on my channel.

This video will share more than what I’ve written and will hope that you all will understand it better.

If any of you really know me as a person I love to try and help people and do my darn hardest to be happy regardless to what my everyday battles/struggles are
even if I do wear them either with pride or not.

So, let’s get on with the video now.

Point number 1- Representing the whole entity of the spectrum of Autism, can it be done?

Just hoping that this makes sense to many of you or hoping you understand to what I am trying to say but I will explain this to you.

I have now come to realise that despite it all that we are all different with different needs with Autism. We can’t all represent autism as a whole as it’s a whole
new ball game as well as being a spectrum of different Autism Spectrum Conditions along with us we all have a different story and life experiences etc.
I have also realise this now too.I believe that as a person with Autism or as I keep calling myself as an Aspie. This platform
is for me to at least share my stories and experiences as well as documenting as much as I can what my life is like as an autistic for others to gain a better
understanding and knowledge about who and what I am underneath autism and a few mental health conditions I have. I believe strongly that I should be able to be
express myself without the fear of being judged, criticised by others or others telling me what to do or say or think. I am my own individual self.
I am not to be born to be the same as others. I am born to be different and to stand out. I am learning to come out of my shell than I’ve ever have and am trying to
learn to love myself again and to not be hard on myself when I do have these really bad days that are thrown at me. I have learnt alot along the way while facing these
struggles and that all I can say is that I am blessed and humble to be alive and have a few small amount of people who are there with me on my journey.
We can’t live in a world of perfectionism. You can try but I hate to say it that you will fail! Being perfect to everyone will not be easy and that we should
just be able to do what we love. I feel sometimes that whenever I do something that I tell myself, “Aspie, you got this regardless of what you been through,
you can get through your day shining brighter as a star!” I’ve come to realise that despite what others has said to me I want to speak on my terms and no one else, I
did share about this topic about this which I will link here if you wish to view what I am trying to say here. “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlBD23cHcO0&t=616s”
I have learnt now that you can’t always please everyone and if anyone does attack you for doing the things that you love, you must be doing something right, right?

As you know or should know by now that my channel is about all things Autism and Mental health along with sharing you my life stories and experiences with it.
Trying to understand the whole spectrum is impossible and difficult as we are all different and have different needs etc in our lives no matter where we are in
life. There is a lot of learning and experimenting about the spectrum and all and just listening and watching some people share their experiences with Autism- to know
that I am not alone makes it so much easier. 2
I have noticed that when I have been in groups that it’s never easy for me to try and speak the way that they want me to as we all know that we have our
different styles of communication as well as just everyday struggles. For sure, I believe that I am getting better it is just a matter of hoping
others can accept to how I am wired differently. I have also mentioned about this in my video of the future for the autistic community again I will link it here
and in the description. When we are on the spectrum, there could possibly be some similarities of the traits and characteristics that we share yet again
we need to be aware that there is never a same autistic when you meet one for the very first time. We know that there wasn’t enough advocacy for the whole
spectrum. No one or anything like some businesses can represent the whole spectrum of autism. We can’t please everyone as I learnt that when I was nearing my twenties.
I did spoke on pleasing everyone or we can’t forever be perfect for anyone. I did a poem about perfectionism which you can watch here: https://youtu.be/ixPDwl9PeMI.
I have noticed that we have to be put in a box with some expectations that others would like to see from us. I am now accepting that I can’t please everyone and what I say or do or even when I am in front of the camera with you all that I do my utmost best
to make the best content for you all to enjoy no matter what it is of a subject matter or some follow me vlogs and more. I want to be true in myself based
on my life experiences to what I’ve been through and hope to share with you all and that something that I share may shed some light and hope for you all
that you’re not alone and that I can relate to some situations we face in life but not all yet also being your listening ear or sound board for any advice.
I will do my utmost best also to represent my side of Autism of what goes on in my life as well as just other hosts of conditions that I have yet, I know that
I’ve not shown any behind the scenes footage of what goes on in my life yet I want to do what I can do for you all. I want to try and as said give back to you all as much as I can. I am really humbled and blessed to have some of you that has stood by me through the very beginning and I can’t thank you all enough. I appreciate this. I want to try and open doors of opportunities and communication on my medias where you can be safe and not be judged even if you would like to
private message me that is fine with me. Most of us autistics are now trying to open doors of acceptance more than awareness as did share my thoughts about what
we need which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPQcBVbW1pE (World Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month/What does Autistics want? ACCEPTANCE [April 2019])

2. Being able to help someone through my videos

I am grateful that there are times like these that people tell me that some things that I share of the everyday topics help them. I love hearing what you think
or even some feedback to make my content better as well for you all. I am hoping that with the other items that I enjoy. I also admire ones that shows
what we are as a person as a whole with what we share. I may not know everything about Autism and Mental Health yet we need to grow and share some interests.
I love to engage with you all about mental health and autism that’s personal. I hope that with some variety that adds a bit of fun about me?
Let me know in comments section.

3. Autism and mental health Advocacy

I do try to go to some events that is related to what I love to do and hoping that I can be really strong minded for what I love to do.
I believe that we can be an advocate in our rights. We all different for sure.
I hope that with whatever I share will learn from me and I learn from you.

I will hope to hear from you all of what you want to share based on this video that I am sharing.

(COLLAB) Introducing Jesse from #EagleEyeGaming #PTSD [2018]

(COLLAB) Introducing Jesse from #EagleEyeGaming #PTSD [2018]

Feel free to visit this interview here: Introducing EagleEyeGaming

Hi all,

Welcome to another one of my interview collabs where I invite special guests that have wished to participate with me in talking about Mental Health or General Health. In these series that I’ve put together will introduce people from YouTube and other places that I’ve met them.

Today’s guest is Jesse from EagleEyeGaming talking all about PTSD, how it is with him on the daily and you can find his channel by clicking here to visit him: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfpKEsCjGMOEV5W8rO6cCLw

You can also find him on the following also:
Discord:
Jesse#6831

Facebook:
https:www.facebook.com/Eagle EyeGaming

Thanks for your support and thanks for watching.

Accounts to my social media sites to follow me on:

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/aspie.answers

Twitter:
https://www.twitter.com/@aspieanswers

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/@aspieanswers

DONATE TO THE CAUSES AND FUTURE PROJECTS HERE:

GOGETFUNDING:
https://gogetfunding.com/aspwergersawareness/
Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/AspieAnswers

VISIT MY MERCH STORE HERE:
https://shop.spreadshirt.com/life-of-an-aspie

IF INTERESTED IN COLLABING WITH ME WITH THESE SERIES CONTACT ME ON DISCORD FOR COLLABS MENTIONED:

Mini_Aspie#4666

OR on my facebook page.
AspieAnswers

DEAR PAST LIFE

DEAR PAST LIFE

DISCLAIMER/TRIGGER WARNING: This writing was when I was in my darkest moments in my past while I was struggling with some personal issues. I am no medical doctor, I am just you’re normal Jo Blogs and that if you see anything that is out of the ordinary and see any of the warning signs of late to what I may have shared in my past videos on my channel – (link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWKw1HpNsu_EyAhhEJrayyw) seek professional help for yourself or your loved one or even seek medical advice for yourself or your loved one as I don’t forever condone self-harm.
Now, let’s begin my poem.

 

Hello past life,
How we have now met again and you are turning up out of the blue,

Turning up out of the blue and unexpectedly and without heed warning,

You won’t forever give a clue to come and visit me,

Visit me when I’m on my all-time low or on my bad days,

Is there a time you can go away and not be a mystery stray,

Are you visiting me to stay or eventually go away?

You come into my life to taunt, haunt and tease me,
Along with that you come into my life and make yourself at home by creating doubts, confusion along with the unanswered questions,

Having to keep on seeking but no matter what or how hard I try,

You came in to cause so much pain, havoc and hell,

Only then and there, time will tell,

Now is the time to tell me why,

Why I have to suffer so much in silence and being in so much pain?

Why do you go and make me so crazy and so insane?

Why now you decided to give me the emotional scars?

Why do you hurt me so much?

Why now that I feel so out of reach, sight, and out of touch?
Why did you take away and suck out all the joy and happiness?
Why did you become the thief of the night to steal the things that I loved and cared the most?
There’s seems to be no end in sight and I am at a lost!
Why did you steal the people that I cared so deeply that you leave me internally bleeding?
Did I say or did something wrong to deserve all this?
You were dressed in a disguise or even a mask and that makes it more deceiving!
Seeing as they say seeing is believing!
Why to the point you came in to destroy me?
And let me live to be normal and to be free.

Why make me suffer every day?
Please stay clear away
and let me be!
Do I really deserve this torture and pain?
Do you like seeing and driving me insane?
To the point that it burns me deep and leaves emotional scars.
I’m now at a loss,

Now you’re deciding to have a party inside of my head,
I don’t know what to do now,

Somehow, you’re taking me places I don’t know,

Places of the unknown and that are so unfamiliar.

All I want to do is scream and shout,

Yet there’s no words coming out.

I want to pull out my hair
I don’t want to live anymore and to not live in fear

I don’t understand why you’re doing this to me now- why now?
I don’t know for how long I’ll be able to hold on,

I don’t know how long I can be strong

I am now closing my grey eyes and start to breathe,

Pretending not to be forever seen for a time.

I feel safe and secure

I am and I will change for my better and brighter future

Nothing and no-one will forever hurt or harm me,

I can be just ME

I was a little girl that’s carrying the whole world

I’m drowning and suffocating

This is so unreal and unbelievably as well as undeniably toxic

But today is the day that I am going to seize the moment and day,

To break the chains and break free,

To be me,

Left and being alone

Today, I’ll make my own life and song,

Time to move on and be strong.

 

ALL ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH Collab Idea from Sammie Wilson from Small YouTubers Community

First of all, I want to take the time out of my day as I am writing this to thank Sammie Wilson from one of the many YouTubers groups that I am in to let me write all about Mental Health. I can’t thank her enough for sharing a little bit more about herself and some of her writings that she personally shared with me, I can relate one way or another.

DISCLAIMER: This is going to be a disclaimer, trigger and content warning for you all right now for those of you who are reading this right now as I share this in advance that some may offend you to what I am writing for you to read based on my life story and truth yet needs to be shared for others to know that they’re not alone and that with saying this that I am giving you all my experiences, knowledge and some hopefully sound advice through it all. I am writing this right now from my heart to open up to you all and invite you all on my journey so far into what I’ve been through as you’re all or some of you are aware that I’ve shared some of my stories on my channel on YouTube called Aspie Answers- Life of an Aspie”

I thought to bring this out of the reasons behind in why I’m doing this and this is not to dwell on the past or anything like that or even seeking any attention like behaviors from you all or even just sympathy. I just want to share with you all basically that this is hopefully to engage with you all, support you all in a way, hopefully  that you can walk in my shoes as I walk in your shoes and actually experience the pain, insecurities, fear and so much more in which I went through in the past life .

I want you all to know that I am no medical doctor, I am just your everyday Jo Blogs and if you know someone who’s struggling or showing any signs and symptoms to any of the previous videos I have shared based on these topics and more, I advise you to seek help either for yourself or for your loved one for whatever reason it may be for example some medical help and/or assistance.  As I can’t stress this enough as I have shared this so many times before.
If you see any people that you know of that you care about are showing signs and symptoms of anything of the previous videos based on mental health, do seek professional help for yourself or your loved one or even seeking second opinion for yourself or your loved one because I don’t forever condone self-harm.


MISSION STATEMENT

What are you wanting to gain from the experience?

As far as I can remember I have been dealing with my own demons and traumatic experiences that I went through in the past and still to do this day it’s an everyday battle. My demons of anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, anxiety attacks along with so many others to name a few. They are a part of me yet I don’t let this rule my life or let it overtake my everyday thoughts and everyday actions to what are needed of me to do or even accomplish. I will not let these rob me of my joy, goals and dreams that I have got.

I want to be able to share with others my stories and experiences as I’ve already done so through my book, channel and through my writings on here in my private space of my blog page. I want to share with others that there is HOPE and that it’s not the end for them. I believe we are here for a reason and that purpose yet it’s up to us to how we deal with our everyday struggles as some are there to teach us some life lessons along the way through the good, bad and the ugly. I also believe that we are the creator, writers, artists etc. of our story. I believe that no matter what we go through, that we should be able to make the right choices to know what to fight of our battles and what to leave alone. I’m one of the many that has decided that enough is enough and that I thought to voice out for others that hasn’t got a voice yet. I was the many that decided that I wanted to share my stories and experiences along with also advocating, mentoring and educating others. Certain types of mental health conditions we face are an epidemic and a worldwide problem. Yet, we can be the solutions to the problem if we choose to. Alongside from all of this, I wanted to help people as much as I can and where and when I can when I am needed for example through my blogs or even just through my vlogs I share on YouTube or anywhere for that matter. I’ve always been passionate about health and mental health is just many of the few passions of mine. I would like to see that the stigma/stereotyping of mental health but not just mental health to be banished for good. I believe that we are starting to make progress in this front yet it will definitely take time. As they say that you will need to build an army to fight a war and to win one.

Despite my everyday personal struggles with the demons clearly mentioned now that I go through in my life, I want people to understand and be well aware of the effects and tolls of what mental health does to someone or even have on that person. As we know that there are many different side effects/symptoms that will vary from person to person as they go through their own person mental health conditions and they may range from example headaches, tiredness, weight gain/loss, no energy or motivation, not eating and the list grows and continues with other hosts of symptoms/side effects.
I’ve also seen and heard some of the everyday struggles that others may go through and some of the ones that I really knew just gave up and ended up taking their life due to their demons that were haunting and taunting them. Along with this decision that they made, this was due to no one was listening to them or knowing the signs before the alarm bells rang and sound off to say that something isn’t right. The ones that took their life were the ones that weren’t taken seriously enough as they thought that they were living a lie, they felt that they may have been a burden to others that were in their circle and with them that others around them thought that they were just crying out for attention due to what they’ve done to themselves. The ones that are suffering in silence that did decide to take their lives in through all of their mess or hell that they were living in that they felt that they were being judged by others, rejected from others and asking for help from others where they needed it the most that they felt so helpless and useless. Some of us that go through these battles of our demons will try to deny them all and put a mask on and to brave out our day and to try and continue our day like a normal person.
It’s a sad fact and reality to what we are living in as I believe that we go through so much and that from what we’ve been taught or what we read is that we don’t  need to talk about our problems or to show them or to just harden up and forget about it all etc. etc. Yet, this is the wrong way of thinking and belief pattern we have ingrained in us that we need to rewire our thinking patterns and make a stand as this is a problem/epidemic happening worldwide.

I hope to also gain as much knowledge and skills as they say that knowledge is power and what we do with that knowledge again is up to us by choice. We shouldn’t have to be silenced from whatever we’re facing even though yes we should be thankful for having social media and some platforms where we can reach out to others and that in saying this that this can create a positive or negative result/outcome for us all. I feel also as my hope not to feel judged, laughed at or whatever it is as just to come to someone and feel accepted, loved and wanted.

Questions:

  • Why are you so passionate about mental health?

Honestly, there are a lot of reasons in some that has already been answered and that it is similar to my mission statement to what you’ve just read, because I see, hear, and read about everyone’s personal struggles of the life story with mental health.
Here in New Zealand where I am, the healthcare services for health and disability is improving yet there’s still a long way to go. I am not trying to bash the medical system that we have along with what they do for the patients into just giving them everyday medications as we know that by choice that is up to you to take them and also to know what to do with our lives and not to rely on the medications given that it will make us better. Sometimes, with the medications that are given some people aren’t told of the side effects of what likely to happen. So, it pays to know what we’re taking and how much is too much. We know that there’s no quick fix or magic cure for mental health conditions yet again it’s up to us by choice to how we are going to manage our everyday life Meds may help eventually however in an acute setting it’s near impossible to get the patient to take meds so non-invasive techniques are utilized more frequently it’s not just one thing that contributes to de-escalation, and each situation is unique therefore there isn’t just one way to deal with things and the sane technique may not work twice.

Here in an article written from the Ministry of Health in New Zealand, this is what it reads briefly of an article/report that they wrote:

By measuring our performance against international benchmarks, we can see that New Zealanders usually get the health care they need when they need it and that most New Zealanders are generally happy with the health services they receive.1

Among New Zealand’s strengths are:

  • a publicly funded, universal health system with a committed and highly trained workforce
  • health services with a strong focus on primary care and a widely supported focus on wellness
  • a unique public health and no-fault accident compensation system, which serves the whole population throughout their lives
  • a strong desire for health and social services to work better together
  • local decision-makers in district health boards (DHBs) who are well positioned to respond to community needs and integrate services
  • a growing best practice evidence base developed through research
  • Māori and Pacific health providers, connected to their communities and modelling integrated approaches to health.

… And connected to a changing world

New Zealand will always be geographically distant from the rest the world. But we are now more connected with it than ever, as people move around the world, technology markets become global and the internet spreads knowledge and cultural practices.

This international context will continue to shape New Zealanders’ experience of health. It means our system needs to be aware of developments and effectively draw on and absorb global ideas and evidence.

Global challenges

  • Health and social services must be provided to increasing numbers of older people who are living longer.
  • The health burden of long-term conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, dementia and musculo-skeletal conditions is growing.
  • Benefits need to be assessed in light of affordability as new technologies and drugs emerge and expectations about health services rise.
  • The global workforce is highly mobile.
  • New infections and antibiotic resistance are emerging.
  • Climate change has health and social consequences.

We face challenges

‘Given New Zealand’s ageing population… it is critical that the health system includes in its planning specific actions to manage this demographic change.’
–Non-governmental organization

New Zealanders are living longer, and every year, more of us are aged over 65 years. This is good for individuals and their families. But it does mean social and health services will have to adapt, and it challenges the health system to find ways of providing services that are still affordable.

Keeping an older person healthy and independent can involve more health and social services than are needed for younger people. Older people are also more likely to have a disability and to have more than one health condition. We want a health system that supports people to live longer but also to spend more of that life in good health.

Dealing with long-term conditions is a particular challenge with an ageing population. Dementia is one example. We expect the number of New Zealanders with dementia to rise from about 48,000 in 2011 to about 78,000 in 2026.

Obesity is becoming more common and has long-term health and social impacts. Among New Zealand children as a whole, 10% are obese, but the rate is 30% in Pacific children.2

Some of New Zealand’s population groups do not benefit from the health and disability system as much as others. For example, while New Zealanders overall are living longer, Māori and Pacific peoples still have lower life expectancies than the population as a whole (see the graph below). People with an intellectual disability can also expect to live for 18–23 fewer years than others.3 Disabled people generally experience worse health than the rest of the population. 29% of disabled people rated their health as fair or poor compared with only 4% of non-disabled people.4 Children are another population that may not access the health services they need because they depend on others for that access.

Life expectancy at birth, by ethnic group, 1950–2014

Source: Complete New Zealand Period Life Tables – time series summaries: Life expectancy by age
and sex, 1950–52 to 2012–14
 from Statistics New Zealand.

‘The cost of providing health care in a way that adequately meets current public demand is becoming prohibitive and … we will quickly fall behind the developed world in this important task if we persist with the current model. It is unsustainable.’
–Non-governmental organization

New Zealand’s total health and disability spending is about $18 billion, or about 9.5% of gross domestic product (GDP); this covers spending in the public, private and non-governmental organization (NGO) sectors, including ACC expenditure.5 As a percentage of GDP, the total is slightly over the OECD average but consistent with most OECD countries. New Zealand is unusual in that taxpayers fund most of its health expenditure – about 7% of GDP.6 Health makes up about 22% of government spending.

The cost of providing health services through the current model is unsustainable in the long term. The Treasury estimates that, if nothing were to change in the way we fund and deliver services, government health spending would rise from about 7% of GDP now, to about 11% of GDP in 2060 (see the graph below). It is essential that we find new and sustainable ways to deliver services, investing resources in a way that will provide the best outcomes possible for people’s health and wider wellbeing.

Projected government health spending as a percentage of GDP

Source: Health Projections and Policy Options for the 2013 Long-term Fiscal Statement from the Treasury.

An independent review of New Zealand’s health funding system7 noted three ways in which funding arrangements sometimes prevent resources from being used to achieve the best possible outcomes.

  • Present arrangements may not clearly show the results that we get from health spending, making it hard to prioritize funding or take into account long-term, cross-sectoral benefits from investment.
  • When demand changes, service mix and design may not change quickly enough to deal with it. Often our funding and contracting arrangements encourage health services to keep doing things as they have always done them, instead of allowing them to work differently.
  • Some funding arrangements contribute to disparities between groups in their access to services, and sometimes they widen the gap in unmet need.

New Zealand’s health workforce also faces challenges. It is ageing – 40% of doctors and 45% of nurses are aged over 50 years.8 it also has a large unregulated workforce (numbering about 63,000), including care and support workers, or kaiāwhina, who often have limited access to training. Many of our workforces have trained overseas – 42% of our doctors, 32% of our midwives and 26% of our nurses. This means we need to continually invest in training so that our health workforce has the skills needed to meet the health needs and expectations of caring for New Zealanders.

New Zealanders’ needs and expectations are themselves changing. These changes are happening not only because the population is ageing but also because it is becoming more ethnically diverse. In Auckland, for instance, around 39% of residents were born overseas; Asian populations are growing the fastest and now represent almost one in four people living in Auckland, New Zealand.

… But we have many opportunities

By focusing on preventing illness and by making healthy choices easy, we can help people either to avoid developing long-term health conditions or to slow the development of those conditions. An important part of this focus involves providing universal health services and public health initiatives that cover the whole population. In addition, tailored approaches are needed for some individuals and population groups so they can access the same level of service and enjoy the same outcomes as others.

In New Zealand, we have a strong and growing knowledge base, developed from research, about what contributes to good health, from birth into adulthood.10 this knowledge will be an ongoing resource to guide policies that help children to start out on pathways for healthy growth and development. Early intervention can help prevent some health conditions that can occur later in life.

We can keep expanding our thinking about who contributes to health by tapping into the skills of individuals, families and whanau, communities and businesses. Building stronger partnerships with them will help us to do this.

Like other sectors, the health sector can benefit from advances in technology and related infrastructure such as broadband. When routine tasks are automated, skilled staff can focus on what they do best. Sharing information in appropriate ways across organizations and with patients and families and whānau can let us know who is missing out and what isn’t working so we can change it.

In summary, our healthcare system may be functioning well enough today, but we can’t guarantee that it will be tomorrow. This strategy provides an opportunity to improve our health system and wider social services, so that in the future we are better able to support the health and wellness of New Zealanders. A key to our success in making these improvements will be our ability to work together. (Reference: https://www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/new-zealand-health-strategy-future-direction/challenges-and-opportunities)

One other reason behind why I am so passionate about mental health as well as the other areas that I am working on my channel and blog page is that I know and understand fully what it is like to go through our everyday life with our demons that tries to haunt or taunt us in anyway it can as well as being empathetic, compassionate, loyal and caring. As some of you who knows me that majority of the time, I put others needs first before my own which I now need to learn to say no and work on me before I worn out.

Question 2: How would I help the person with mental health if it was a family or a friend?

In answer that if they came to me for help or just someone to talk to that is the start of building a trust factor between us. I will then therefore access the situation that they are in. Find a quiet place for us to sit down and talk so that no one isn’t around. I will be sure to pay my full attention to them into what they’re about to say and only them by switching off or silencing my devices such as my cellphone and computer so therefore no distractions. Walk in their shoes (empathetic not sympathetic). Start off by relating to them and to again as mentioned earlier that they’re not alone as this is normal. It takes time and will get better eventually. Take it day by day. No need to rush whatever you’re going through. Let them talk, vent and what to see if they want my input of my own opinions or not. Yet majority of the time they just want someone to talk to and for someone to listen. Along with just wanting to be heard.

Question 3: What advice would you give to someone that is dealing with mental health?

What they’re going through does get better and that they not alone in this. Just be saying and reassuring to them that I am there if they need me to talk or vent etc. is sometimes more than enough. Yet, however, in their everyday personal struggles they go through for it to get better, they will have to want and have the desire for it to get better. As again we all have choices and that it’s up to them for their choices as I can only do so much for them to help them. Let them know that they’re loved and wanted by others around them and that they’re not any labels that others may have labelled them as. There are ways- so many ways to the way mental health affects us but it’s up to us to find ways or methods to change our perspective etc. to move forward.

PERSONAL FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. As you are aware after reading my blogs or story I wrote along with doing my vlogs I have shared with most of you what I go through. I will write it again for the ones that has landed on my page and is new to reading this is that I suffered when I was a teenager psychosis along with social anxiety, anxiety, Aspergers Syndrome, panic attacks, anxiety attacks just to name a few.
  2. Do I take any medications on a day to day basis?
    No I don’t take any medications yet I do other methods to keep my mental health and general health in check which is meditating, yoga, Pilates, exercise, dancing, writing, singing, vlogging, positive affirmations, gratitude writing and so much more to at least distract myself to not dwell too much on my demons.
  3. No I haven’t yet been through counselling through my mental health yet in the past I did some counselling for other personal reasons for a time. It was okay for a time as it did help me a bit.
  4. I do make daily goals for myself everyday even if I don’t fully achieve them then that are okay. It is okay to fail once in a while as well as falling as this teaches us what we need to do and work harder for striving for our goals that we have set to achieve. I believe everyone’s journey is different and it’s not a race at all. We shouldn’t race to the finish line as we should all enjoy life and its processes.
  5. I keep myself motivated by gratitude and waking up in the morning and knowing that I am forever blessed to have all the small things I have even if my health isn’t in great condition sometimes. Just knowing that I am alive and kicking. Knowing in myself that I am the only one that’s in control of my life and no one else is. I am the one that choose to do what I want to do as every day starts with us by choice into what we want to do and accomplish. Sometimes, also what keeps me motivated is just hearing what others go through and what they do in their everyday life to survive is more than enough for me along with maybe if I hear some of my favorite songs I will sing and dance to them. Just to know that I can love myself along with being at peace in myself. I also believe that if we have the right attitude and mindset along with the right people to support us that this can go a long way also.

Well this is the end of what I want to share with you all and that there was so much more yet I hope you’ve enjoyed this read.
Thanks for reading this.

Much love

Aspie.

 

A Letter to My Anxiety

A Letter to My Anxiety 

Just a little side note: Before I begin, these letter that will be on my series for the “Dear….” that some of these were written a long time ago and all that we need to express ourselves one way or another- be it through our videos, writing and more.

Yes! Some of the topics I may choose to write and share with the world may be touchy yet it needs to be shared from what I have been through along with many others that may have as well, My main purpose here is that we can learn from each other and to grow more in each other – as a reader and writer. I feel in my heart right now that some of these everyday topics that we choose to sweep under the carpet or under our feet, to ignore them or to just deny the fact that it is not happening but in fact let us be REAL here IT IS HAPPENING. Whatever is happening in our lives, we need to question, “Why are they acting this way?” How are they really feeling?” etc. We cannot always blame others for our thoughts, actions and circumstances as we need to understand and see it from a bigger picture. With this one and many more that I wish to share, however besides it being touchy that I pray and hope that it does shed some light and encouragement to let you all know that we are not alone!!

 

Dear Anxiety:

I am a new, stronger and better person- Thank you. Do you remember the first time we met? I sure as hell do. I remember the first time we met so clearly, yet it may have been so long ago. We met when I first started trying to make friends while moving and transitioning to one town or city to the next. The second time we met was after another season and transition of change that you became apparent and showed up again, while I was maturing and started the dating scene.

Anxiety, you do however tend to show up unexpectedly and unannounced when I just feel comfortable and at home and turn my world that I thought I knew, upside down. Every day, every minute, every hour I spent awake laying in my bed and this dark feeling sweeping over and inside of me will awaken me from my deepest and darkest slumber. From there on, you were almost like a friend of mine, trying to steal everything in life that was in reach and at arm’s length. At first – I was too blind and in oblivion to what you were trying to do to me, and when I knew that my world was spinning out of control as well as sending waves of emotions sweeping in and around me to the point where I could not breathe or control myself, I started to hate you. I then began to hate myself also, as well as blaming myself as I thought everything that I was going on was my fault. I hated you for ruining my life, innocence and more. The more hatred I began to feel for you and towards you- the darker and heavier my heart began to feel, and then Depression came into my life, and also became a friend of mine. The feelings were so real towards you were true and that some days, they felt so strong I did not want to live anymore as I wanted to close everything off and shut down everything in my life. I have now however, tried to reach out and to explain to people who cared about me, yet I got tired of explaining myself and my behaviours to them. That then caused them so much anger, hate and more towards me. I tried to reach out to them once more and when I did that, they thought in their minds that “I was too complicated”, “Too hard to understand” and many other labels. These thoughts became so overwhelming for me that frustration started to grow inside of me, as well as other mixed feelings that I was trying to tame.

Despite everything I faced, either big or small, I say thank you, Anxiety. You taught me more than I will ever know and you did. However, you pushed me to some boundaries that I dared not push myself. I then began to learn more about myself as well as loving myself more, and to treat myself more with respect which I so much craved for. Yes, I am human. Anxiety, you pushed me to take a step of the unknown to remain true to myself and to be positive and help me to create a better and brighter future.

As I have now grown up and am becoming a stronger, independent and confident young woman taking the first baby steps to finding what I need in life as at the moment, I am still a student whose self-teaching and self-learning in this walk of life. Despite it all, Anxiety, you are still hovering over and around me to start to stress and panic over deadlines, assignments and more. I am now the one who  has now  started pushing herself to go further and to move on forward and not look back. Yes, I have made plenty of mistakes and I am not proud of them. Have we not all made mistakes that we are not proud of or want to try and bury and forget them? Despite these mistakes and choices made, they are my life lessons, teaching me everything in what I needed to know and that I needed to know.

I want to thank you Anxiety, for waking me up all hours of the night. Despite it being restless nights, you started giving me a driving hunger and passion to follow my dreams and goals in life. Despite the sleepless nights, you came and became a renewed being, soul and spirit of myself filled with grace, humanity and more. Despite reaching and seeking out help, I knew that I was not alone facing this, as there are many others like me going through this struggle. I knew that there was support and help out there for me, yet I needed to find it for myself. You also opened up my eyes and heart to accept my flaws, imperfections that I have and I am not ashamed; for what I have got as this has made me who and what I am today. I have come to terms and realization now that; I am the only one in control of my life and everything in it. I am the one in control of my happiness, peace, self-worth and more. Thanks for letting me have a bit of time where I could self-reflect to who are and will be in my social circle, and to deserve to still be in there despite it being a lonely road ahead of me.

Anxiety, one more thing I would like to say to you right now is; despite all the years that you were there causing me so much pain, misery, heartache and more, I am proud to say it was well worth it and I would not have been the woman I am now today, and would be in the nearest future.

Thank you!

Yours sincerely,

Aspie