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Whole People

coaching, counselling and training in Worthing (UK) and online with Pat Spink

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dying

Are you waving or drowning?

Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day, a day to check in with ourselves – are we thriving, coping, surviving or feeling overwhelmed?

And if we’re ok, maybe to check in with those we care about.

There’s a (really short) poem I like: “Not Waving but Drowning” by Stevie Smith – inspired by something she read about a man who drowned and whose friends thought he was waving to them, not drowning.

She compares this to the way in which people in everyday life sometimes try to be ‘brave’ and/or pretend to be ok, when really they’re not.

Continue reading “Are you waving or drowning?”

Introverts – time to re-engage – or not?

For any introverts out there who might not have hated lockdown quite as much as their extravert friends and colleagues.

Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the reduced social interaction, invitations and demands and welcomed the opportunity for some (permitted/unchallenged) solitude.

Maybe lockdown has given you the time and space to find some calm within the storm, reconnect with yourself, draw breath, re-centre, adjust your pace of life.

In my experience, not everyone appreciates the difference between loneliness and solitude – and that solitude is something that a lot of us need from time to time and that we value.

So you might be feeling a little guilty or embarrassed – or fear being labelled by friends and family as rather unsociable, depressed or lazy if you’re not rushing to meet up again in person…

You’re not alone in this (even if you’d prefer be – ha ha!) and you might appreciate hearing from a couple of other people who feel similarly. Continue reading “Introverts – time to re-engage – or not?”

We’re NOT all in the same boat…

I heard a great quote yesterday – not sure who said it first but it was along these lines re the current pandemic:

“We’re NOT all in the same boat,

we’re all in the same storm,

but in different boats.

Some are relaxing in luxury yachts,

others are in rickety old rust buckets, letting in water, having to bail it out

and, of course, everything in between …”

The truth of this really struck me in terms of how differently we’re each experiencing this current situation. Continue reading “We’re NOT all in the same boat…”

Conversations About Cancer

I wrote about how we talk about cancer previously in my blog: She died after losing her battle with cancer…

conversation-1262311_1280.pngAnd I see it’s been in the news again recently.

Evidence suggests that the words we use can land very differently with different people.

Some people find words such as ‘fight’, ‘struggle’, ‘warrior’ and ‘battle’ motivating, whilst for others they will have precisely the opposite effect. Continue reading “Conversations About Cancer”

She died after losing her battle with cancer…

This was the news this month re Dame Tessa Jowell, a former UK Cabinet Minister.

Almost without exception, the media coverage I heard and read talked about her ‘losing her battle with cancer’ or her ‘brain cancer fight’.

These words bother me.

I’ve wondered for quite a while now whether when we talk about cancer in this way we put pressure on everyone who receives a similar diagnosis to ‘fight’.

And, then, when they do die, the implication seems to be that they’ve somehow ‘lost’ or ‘failed’ – and maybe didn’t try hard enough… Continue reading “She died after losing her battle with cancer…”

The Support (We Think) People Want or Need During Difficult Times

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Commonly known as ‘The Golden Rule’, versions of this sentiment can be found in many cultures and religious and moral frameworks.

It has a strong humanitarian message and seems to work well in a lot of situations.

However, the underlying assumption is that the treatment or behaviour we want or expect from others is the same as they would want from us – and there’s the rub. Continue reading “The Support (We Think) People Want or Need During Difficult Times”

How Do Men (and Boys) Grieve?

Last month’s BBC documentary ‘Rio Ferdinand: being Mum and Dad’ was very powerful, I thought. It’s currently on YouTube:

Continue reading “How Do Men (and Boys) Grieve?”

What Really Matters at the End of Life

As you may know, I work at our local hospice with people who are been bereaved, and with people who are anticipating bereavement. Because of this, as well as because of my own personal experiences of death of friends and family, I was interested to hear what B J Miller has to say in this TED talk. Continue reading “What Really Matters at the End of Life”

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