Dealing with the Effects of Depression and Physical Grief – From Guest Blogger Vikki Cunliffe

I’ve watched first hand, a confident, beautiful and outgoing lady, who just so happens to be my Mum, lose everything in the blink of an eye.  You see, her husband, my Dad, was tragically killed when she was in her early 30’s.  We hugged him goodbye that April morning, not knowing it was for the very last time.

Yes, those early days were tough as we all dealt with the natural grieving process in our own ways and at different paces, however there is so much more to this than just grief.  At such a difficult time, you’re encouraged to ‘carry on’ however, how and what do you carry on with?  Depression tends to come hand in hand with grief which is totally understandable.  You need to ensure that you have the right medical and emotional support system in place to help you through it.

One of the reasons I set up my business, Clear the Chaos, is because I wanted to help people move from one stage in their lives to another and quite often this is following a bereavement.  I spend my days working with people who have asked me into their homes, to help them declutter not only physical spaces in their homes, but more importantly their minds.  Clutter is often symptomatic of a condition which is brought on as a result of a significant or life changing event.  Often when I leave a client’s home, I receive a hug and some kind words although it’s my lovely clients who do the hard work, it’s them that recognise their problems and the need to change.

Often a lot of women leave all the household finances to their husbands/partners.  Mum didn’t even know if we had a mortgage, never mind how to pay the utilities.  She was fortunate as the family stepped in and taught her about the household finances.  This is practical help however there’s also the emotional aspect.

There are no set rules

The time will come when you’re ready to go through your beloveds personal belongings.  What do you do with everything? There are no set rules.  You tackle this when you are mentally able to.  A lot of my clients keep a memory box and place the special items & photo’s for safe keeping.  We laugh, we cry and I am honoured to hear so many fabulous stories of people’s lives.  There’s lots of ways to keep your loved ones with you.  One of the nicest I’ve seen is a bear made from old shirts/clothes which are both comforting and personal.

Now the next challenge.  There are good and bad days, but generally speaking life is moving forward.  How do you now get your life back?

Take steps and trust your gut

Take tiny steps and test your own ‘gut’ as well as speaking about experiences with a close friend or family member.  Quite often we are too close to a situation to see the bigger picture.  I have a client who writes or doodles in a diary every day.  The idea is that it’s a snippet of what type of day she’s had.  She tells me it’s so beneficial to her mindset to go back in 6 months time and see the positive progress she’s made.  A very tangible reminder and proof.  She now has far more ‘good’ days than bad and reminds herself on what makes her feel happy so that she can put that action plan in place.  It’s fair to say she has come a long way and still has some to go.

Remember you’re not alone.  Use family and friends and also the many professional services out there to help you on your own path to recovery.  Services such as mine are great value for money and the mental benefits can be enormous.  Go on give it a try.

Author Vikki Cunliffe

Owner of Clear the Chaos

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