Mental Health

Dealing with grief

The past two years have been a constant grind, to the point I started counselling in February as I felt close to a complete breakdown.

It all started 30 December 2018, when H had a stroke. He was relatively fit and there were no warning signs, and I still remember the utter shock of the neurologist informing us about what had happened. We were also told to prepare for the worse, and it was touch-and-go for 48 hours. At the time, I had all five children at home and, while three were adult, life still became something to survive, day by day.

H came home July 2019 in a wheelchair. He could stand but not walk. His left arm was – and still is – utterly unresponsive. Life had changed irrevocably. Being in a council house, we have to wait for them to green light adaptations. In the meantime, he sleeps in a bed in our living room, cannot get upstairs, and has to toilet in the kitchen. As of writing, we’ve lived like this for 20 months, 12 of which were spent shielding due to Covid-19.

Lockdown on top of our new situation was very hard. We had to cancel the holiday we’d booked for our silver wedding anniversary, and all of H’s occupational therapy and physiotherapy stopped. This had a massive impact on his mental health. I had to deal with his emotions on top of mine, on top of carrying the kids.

The end of 2020 was dreadful. My best friend lost her mum, H’s father passed away, and I found out my dad’s cancer had spread. I was glad to see the back of the year, hoping 2021 would be better, especially with the vaccine rolling out. However, life is very unfair. My eldest son lost his girlfriend in a road traffic accident, which is why I sought therapy, and then, a couple of weeks ago, I lost one of my very dearest friends.

Dealing with all this is taking time. I resisted counselling as I thought I was strong enough to cope. But we all have a limit of what we can handle, and seeking help isn’t beng weak. Sometimes it’s the strongest thing we can do. So if you’re struggling after a year of lockdown, I highly recommend speaking to your GP or go private, as I have.

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