Remember when grief and sadness last had their grip on you?
When it felt like the Dementor from Harry Potter had drained all the peace, hope, and happiness from you leaving only the dark?
When you felt powerless and you couldn’t imagine the light let alone see it.
Remember when this feeling came over you without warning, one minute you were okay and the next the darkness came, spreading right through you. And you thought it would never end.
Oh my goodness, me too.
This was how I felt 12 weeks ago when my Father died.
I’ve grieved before. I grieved each time we failed at IVF, I grieved when my lovely Mum died, when my father-in-law died and when I realised that I would never be a mother.
And this time it was different.
Because this time I grieved with full awareness of all the techniques I’ve learned in the past few years.
And this time I’ve healed so much quicker so here are five ways I’ve learned to slay my Dementor and let the light back into my life.
1. Be aware of the dark.
The darkness of the Dementor can have a powerful hold and it wants you to stay in it BUT staying is the path to more darkness and it’s not where you’re meant to be is it?
This great quote sums up the best thing to do.
To get the light in, you need to take positive action to invite it. Start by noticing the difference between when you’re in the dark and when you’re not and then do what brings your light in.
I noticed that my darkness came when I was on my own, and inside.
Light came in when both my mind and body were occupied and my favourite was to go for a brisk walk whilst listening to uplifting music. Giving myself easy, practical tasks such as clearing out my office made me feel very positive.
Doing something, anything to distract your mind and get your endorphins moving will bring back your light.
2. Re-connect with who you are.
When you go through loss your identity changes and it takes time to work out who you are NOW.
Losing both parents has changed who I am.
Not being able to be a mother changed who I am.
After Dad died I carried on doing. It was necessary because there was a lot to do (people to notify, funeral to arrange etc) and if I’d stopped then I probably wouldn’t have started again.
When we got back home I stopped for a while and gave myself time to regroup.
As my identity has shifted, so have my core values and taking time to re-connect with them reminds me of who I am really and what’s important to me.
Giving yourself time and space to re-examine your values is a powerful and positive way of reminding you of who you are.
3. Be kind to yourself.
The thing about grief is that we all feel it differently and it works to no set timescale.
I don’t know about you, but from time to time my head was filled with all sorts of sentences starting with phrases like…. ‘you should ..’ or ‘you ought to .’ And all this did was to take me further into the dark.
The most common suggestion I received was to be kind to myself, and in the past I had no idea what that meant.
Luckily I do now.
Being kind to myself means doing what feels right, it means taking positive steps to bring the light back in. It also means dealing with those negative voices and replacing them with more positive phrases such as ‘this will pass’ or what will help me in this moment?‘
4. People are doing their best and they don’t know what to say
As you know, most people don’t know what to say, they don’t want to upset you, and they’re worried. So they don’t say anything.
One thing I learned in NLP is that people are doing their best. I find that hard to accept sometimes, but I do believe it to be true. It’s certainly true for me so why shouldn’t it be true for everyone else?
Think about it, be honest with yourself;
Have you ever sidestepped someone’s grief?
Have you ever minimised someone’s loss?
I cringe when I think back at what I’ve said or done or not said and done and I hope now I’ll be more empathic (you have my permission to remind me of this if I trip up).
It can be hard to know what to say and I’ve learned that honesty is the best policy and in my view saying ‘I don’t know what to say’ is a good start.
And if saying anything is hard, take Brené Brown’s advice that ‘sometimes silence and a hug is the most profound act of empathy.’
5. Know when it’s time to get help
Grief is a process, time is a great healer AND sometimes it’s not enough.
I thought I could heal on my own and it was only when I learned the TimeLine techniques that I realised how much the unresolved grief of childlessness and my Mum’s death was still affecting and controlling me.
Not only did TimeLine heal my grief last time, doing that work in the past enabled me to get back on my feet so much quicker this time.
Over to you
Is this your experience? Or have you learned other ways to slay your Dementor?
Please share your thoughts below (using your name or any other you like)
And if you don’t know about Dementors and Harry Potter, find out here.