Thursday, November 01, 2012

Dealing with loss

Our cat has gone missing and life feels hard at the moment.  Some years ago I had bereavement training and it inspired me to come up with the following list of elements that help one deal with loss.  The first major thing that helps is the passage of time.  That might sound like you can't do anything about it, but actually you can.  Meditation for example helps you live in the moment.  The second major thing is safety - having a roof over your head, security.  The third is emotional support - friends and family.  So I have compiled a list of all the things that can help us (or me) deal with loss:

Write a journal.
Give the day a mark out of ten.
Try to do something memorable on each day.
Spend as much time with loved ones as possible.
Scheduling - schedule your time more effectively so you have plenty of 'me time' and healthy activities.
Enjoy the passage of time - note the seasons and the weather.
Live in the moment.  At this particular moment in time note precisely how you are feeling, sights, sounds, tastes, what you are doing.
Take each day at a time, each hour at a time, each minute at a time, each second.
Do deep breathing for ten seconds.
If you are really struggling, ask yourself 'What can I do to distract myself for 5 minutes?'

Appreciate being cosy wherever you are - snuggle up in a blanket
Put the heating on.
Try to control your expenditure/maximise income if you can.  Monitor it.
Have a cuddle or hug from a loved one
Concentrate on the feelings of warmth, beauty, finesse or other pleasant feelings.
Enjoy reassuring aromatherapy - like frankinscence.
Try to get everything that is broken fixed.
Ask for help from friends and family.
Don't make big decisions at this time - like moving house.  Appreciate what you know and love.
Do some cardiovascular exercise - keep yourself healthy and well.
Give yourself your favourite free treats when you concentrate on your safety - like a cup of tea, lipsyl or a hand massage.

Ask for support from friends and family - ring them or pop round.
Schedule activities where you meet people or talk to them on the phone.
Utilise professional support - from your GP or other service where you can.
Now is a good time to just see the friends and family who nurture you, not see the ones who are like leeches!
Appreciate the thing you have lost - with photos, momentoes, just remembering how they were and imagining them being as they were.  Their spirit and soul live on in our memories at least.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dealing with loss - what helped me get over previous losses




getting up early

going to bed early

support from friends


planning sundays







planning holidays

going on holidays





friends' families

P's family

my family

self help books

measuring how I feel every day

drawing a graph of daily well-being

eating well

meal planning




friends on the phone

doing list by computer



doing things for others

using timer to increase time spent at doing a certain activity - meditation, writing

enjoy the moment

celebrate success

celebrate any old thing

free treats - hand massage, paint nails, sit in sun for 5 mins

make bread

invite people for meals, coffees



celebrate the person's life in J's case, ceremonial things - funeral and scattering of ashes

helping to support the other people affected

defer things when not well and deal with symptoms as and when

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Learning something new every day, especially when it is useful!
2) The power of light, even in the autumn and winter
3) Caring about and for others, making each second as rewarding as you can
4) Getting in my 'confidence circle', a magic trick I use to get as confident as I can for stressful situations (think about 3 times you have been most confident and take yourself there as vividly as you can)
5) Self-hypnosis scripts given by others that help you relax

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) The sight of the glorious autumnal trees in the sunshine
2) A crisp morning with the fog blowing away
3) The kindness of loved ones as they look after us when we are not well
4) an unexpected gift of heathers for the garden, which will look wonderful all winter
5) A regular run in the morning, at one's own pace, running as fast as you can, getting all that adrenalin and endorphins going.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Getting shopping delivered
2) The smell of frankinscence aromatherapy oil to help you study
3) Coaching
4) Acronyms
5) little moleskin books for writing down all my notes

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Getting in the 'Cat Zone' by stroking them
2) A nice warm sugary cup of tea
3) A bear hug you can wallow in
4) My arms being supported by the desk and stopping injury
5) Paul McKenna and his great therapeutic interventions

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Running to 'Fairies Wear Boots' by Black Sabbath
2) Interval Training so you get out of breath and really push yourself#
3) Being at one with yourself in nature
4) Diamonds
5) The tap tap tap as I gently type

Monday, September 17, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Laughing with aquaintances about a business park being a wedding venue
2) The roads being clear on a Monday
3) A beautifully delicious handmade sandwich, made by moi
4) Self hypnosis under a warm blanket
5) The power of the mind and what a character Mesmer was

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) The amazing accompaniments to the cheeseboard at our local restaurant The Hummingbird in Chapel Allerton
2) Warm sunshine in mid September
3) Sipping rose wine in the warmth, perhaps for the last time this summer
4) Talking to loved ones on the telephone
5) A lie in on a Sunday morning

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) The warm sun on my back as I run across the sports field
2) The green blades of grass glinting in the sunlight
3) The smell of freshly mown grass
4) A cuddle from a loved one
5) Hot cup of tea with one sugar

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A good day

I went on a lovely run this morning - a bit too warm, but I had more ideas for the PhD and various other things, a great way to meditate.

We've had other good news, on the PhD front and a couple of other (hopefully) chickens coming home to roost, if that's the right term, although I know you shouldn't count your chickens...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The arrival of the potting shed

The potting shed has arrived.  It brings with it a sense of the new - seeds, plants, a new urgency for life. It's fab.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

E's easy salmon recipe

Take the salmon steak/s wrap in foil with butter, salt and pepper for 20 minutes.

Whilst it's cooking put on some new potatoes to boil.  Make a sauce - a roux - with a slice of butter, flour, white wine and milk/creme fraiche.  Serve with peas or asparagus.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why I made a declaration of support for 'Care not Killing' today

Last Tuesday I went to a truly uplifting and inspirational presentation at the University of Leeds by Age UK.  It was inspiring because it enabled me to see the 'bigger picture' of where my dementia research might fit into the world.  I've been getting a bit lost in the nitty gritty of the detail and it made me see there are millions of people out there, who I could help, because I am looking into the reasons why some people who get dementia seem to slip through the social support networks of friends and family.  The presentation was also incredibly upbeat.  Yes, we have an ageing population - and isn't that fantastic?  I truly believe that it - human longevity - is the greatest achievement of science. It's wonderful that people born when I was born can expect to live a good twenty years longer than people born when our great grandparents were born.  OK, there is inequality which we must also do something about, but the progress in us living longer is truly astounding.

I got into correspondence with Age UK, saying how much I enjoyed the presentation and they asked me if I would consider blogging for them about my research, or related topics.  And it made me think 'what can I blog about?'  My research is in its infancy - in a way I am overwhelmed by what I feel we don't know. I don't feel in a position to start broadcasting to the world on my findings so far - there aren't any.  But I feel passionately about a number of things that are related to ageing, one of those things is opposition to 'Dignitas'.  I am sick of hearing about what a 'burden' older people are.  Then I saw this article in the Telegraph today basically saying what a huge resource our pensioners are.  Feeling I had to act with my feet to help say to older people 'you're worth it!' I then signed the declaration of support for Care not Killing.  But I suppose I would support that wouldn't I?  To expect anything less would be like expecting turkeys to vote for Christmas.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Three Amazing Things

1. Wondering whether I'm out of a PhD shaped hole I was in, the very fact I'm wondering, rather than agonising must be a good sign.
2.  Thinking I might have made a breakthrough in fact.  A systematic review has its flaws - missing papers which I have in my paws.
3. Drafting of emails that I might never send, but they get my thoughts in order.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Three Amazing Things

1) The drive from Leeds to the British Library
2) Early green shoots of leaves on young trees at the British Library
3) Getting relevant documents at the BL

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Listening and watching a brilliant presentation - about the wonderful longevity of human beings, a positive story about the 'ageing population'
2) Lipsyl
3) handcream
4) frankinscence oil
5) The barrel scraping that is this exercise in counting one's blessings

Monday, April 16, 2012

Six Amazing Things

1) Getting through to someone at the Library, then them emailing me back!
2)  Friends, family and colleagues who help you along this journey we know as life.
3) A bright car ride in the sunshine, where I sort of knew the way, might have even enjoyed the drive.
4) A certain special day coming up.
5) Important people in my life, that I do my best to thank as much as possible, but if I
haven't for a while and you're reading this and know me - Thank you!  For everything! 
5.5) Left over rissotto (made totally from scratch, including the stock by moi) and purple sprouting brocolli in sesame oil - yum!
6) Kisses at the end of texts, emails and internet postings x x x

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Been doing my blog relatively consistently for nearly seven years.  And it's been fun!
2) The clock ticking again.  So reassuring to have a clock that ticks.  You can lose yourself in it.
3) Reading and remembering from my blog my funny system of how to decide who got a wedding invite - a code, fortunately that could be cracked!
4) Running on a beautifully sunny and cold Spring morning like today.
5) The appreciation of English grammar.  Trying to be consistent in where I put my full stops.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Has this blog turned into the world's dullest blog?

I've been perusing my old blog posts and back when I was engaged and a newly wed they were great, funny and optimistic.  So, what has happened?  Where has my optimism gone? Well, life is probably more sedate without a wedding to organise and then freshly remember.  Work [and life] is probably a bother when you look back on it and a PhD is undoubtedly tough, not to mention family members getting sick, and it isn't their choice to get mentioned on the Internet. 

But the main reason- the passion which makes me, me - why I wanted to go into dementia research and am still motivated is because it is such a huge, unresolved issue. The elephant in the room.  Under the carpet.  And there is consensus. That could be one of the reasons I've been so quiet, as I want to maintain support from all parties, without alienating the right. All the political parties are united in that they want to resolve the problems associated with dementia - the devastation.  Everyone wants to increase research so we can get to the bottom of why this awful disease is so awful - and the sorts of things we can do to stop it being so dreadful.  We have such great examples to learn from - there's been amazing advances in the treatment and care of people who are HIV positive, people with learning disabilities, people with AIDS and cancer survivors.  So my optimism is still around, just a bit pushed out by the work I have to do to get the PhD done.  I must try and write some improved blog posts and get my regular readers back. (Hi Mum!)x

Ten Amazing Things

1) New motivational texts by my PC
2) Keep Buggaring On!  Apparently a Churchillian favourite - KBO he used to say.
3) Worth a go!
4) Just try your best!
5) Break it down into doable chunks.
6) Going on a run past the men playing football and then cricket.
7) Running fast between two lamp-posts to the Prodigy
8) Getting our shopping delivered
9) Accepting my self and situation, flaws and all
10) Doing most of poster

Friday, April 13, 2012

Nine amazing things...NAT - helping me go running

1. When it is light - spring, summer, autumn
2. Putting running clothes on
3. Getting up early
4.  Having music on my Ipod
5. Being warm
6. Waterproof socks when wet
7. wear gloves
8.  Cup of tea before I go
9. Saying 'I am going on a run, I am going on a run'

TAT - Ten Amazing Things

1) The sweetness of my tea as I drink it
2) Motivational short texts by my computer and desk:
3) Do it to Fail!
4) Perspective, get things in it!
5) Nobody is going to die if I don't do this - and there is a heck of a lot of support in places where people do die...Much more than at my desk...
6) The invention of the telephone for talking
7) Computers for writing
8) The internet for publishing
9) Skype for chatting to friends and relatives, like Star Trek machines
10) The mildness of the British climate

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Writing a chatty email to a friend...and waiting for the reply
2) Enjoying a nice cuddle from someone special
3) Using up the last of the strawberries and bananas with some nice granola for breakfast
4) Twiddling my engagement ring on my finger
5) Paying nice people money I owe them

Monday, April 09, 2012

EAT this time - Eight Amazing Things

1) I have revived the positive side to FAT, Five Amazing Things, which lifts one's mood if one counts one's blessings
2) Being able to freewrite on the computer
3) Being painfree today and most days, appreciating being alive.
4) Reflections, in the border of the computer screen, in life and in the mirror
5) The clock ticking again, so reassuring in its regularity.  And the odds of it ticking again, continously, pretty good (especially as I think we have some spare batteries)
6) The benefits of new additions to our language and communication
7) :-)
8) Never understimating the value of the aromatherapy oil of frankinscense.  It transforms the mind, for pence, and one can write and write and write...  The mind expands...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Five amazing things

1) The dew on my slippers as I went outside this morning
2) Getting passed as satisfactory for my PhD at this point
3) The warmth of my woolley socks on this cold spring morning
4) Being able to publish immediately, or keep this all to myself
5) Meditating briefly to the clock ticking

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Love: Risk, Inevitability, Certainty and Infinity

I went on a run this morning and I was doing so was pondering the documentary I watched on Queen on BBC4 last night.  Husband and I had a chat about it as I am embarking on some risky health behaviour, which chimes with what Freddie Mercury was up to in the 1980s.  We know one thing and that is at some point we are going to die.  But how certain are we of that?  Isn't inevitability only a hindsight thing?  And then when you think about certainty, a 50/50 risk seems quite good and I know my risky behaviour is less than that - otherwise the doctors would stop me doing it full stop.  It is a 'calculated risk'.  But did Freddie do the calculations I wondered as I was running round the field?  And I thought about the sun rising in the morning, again a very high (has got to be hasn't it?) probability.  Will I ever know if infinity exists?  Are there scientists out there who believe in certainty?  Because if we say that something is 100% going to happen then surely we are believing in infinity, which is an ideal thus busting the material view out of touch.  Perhaps I am so uncertain because dementia, like life, risk, certainty, infinity and inevitability is just too complex a thing to say anything concrete about.

Friday, April 06, 2012

The passage of time: anniversaries

Both myself and the media love celebrating anniversaries.  Mine are better than theirs though.  I don't like celebrating the anniversaries of conflicts.  I like weddings, lives and births. Perhaps it is in the media interest to celebrate wars : 'Divide and Rule'.  We're having these 30 year anniversaries at the moment - of course it brings back childhood memories for me.  Thirty years since Thatcher was elected PM and now thirty years since the Falklands War.  I remember the doom that descended on our household when She became all powerful.  It followed us on our move up North, where my parents broke up. I remember my brother as a baby or toddler with the 'Vote Labour' rossette, crying his head off.  We laughed, took it off, but it was seen as a bad omen. We moved for Dad's career to a college where he was principal.  It is no coincidence, to this depressing piece of writing, that it has just shut - after 61 years. 

But, life goes on, people still go on holiday, there are always happy times too.  We still went on holiday, with Mum and Dad (who hadn't yet spilt up) in 1982 with the hippies from the South.  That is my memory of the Falklands War.  We went to Pontins holiday camp.  We were in a theatre of some sort.  A boy came on stage.  I was fascinated by him dressed up as a girl in a tutu, with make up on, singing 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina'.  The audience was laughing their heads off, cheering and jeering.  My parents and friends weren't.  I didn't get it.  I wanted to stay until the end, but I think we walked out. My first awareness that my family's - what became my -  political views were at odds with everyone else's.  A feeling I'm still not used to 30 years on.

We seem so close to what was happening 30 years ago, with the cuts, wars and a general feeling of gloom and doom, yet so far from what was happening 40 years ago. Perhaps it's just because I wasn't around 40 years ago.  Or perhaps things were more optimistic in the early 70s. That's the passage of time for you, confusing, complex and all encompassing in the moment.    But it is a very special anniversary for our family this weekend, so we will have a glass of champagne to celebrate that wonderful event on Sunday.  We can unite in joy, love, peace and happiness the world over, despite what the media tell us.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jobs that I hate doing, but that I feel 100% better after doing, and in an ideal world I need to schedule in at 7am when I am alert

- running
- completing tax return/doing accounts
- doing a budget/cash flow forecast
-talking to husband about money
- putting clothes away
- washing
- cleaning
- filing
- sorting
- working
- writing
- reading
- transcribing interviews
- learning IT/doing IT
- car boot sale
- clearing clutter
- making bread

Jobs I only really like to do in daylight

- cleaning
- tidying
- put clothes away
-put clothes out to dry
-putting rubbish out

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Favourite free (ish) treats

These are the rewards I give myself when I have done a run or something else physically exhausting:

phone call to friends/family
husband time
hand cream
acu pressure
a doze/meditation
amazon wish list
read self help books
chewing gum
make up
put contacts in
stroke cats
look at magazines

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Recipe for bread in bread machine

There are eight ingredients.

I put the wet ones in first:

1) 7 fluid oz of warm water
2) tsp oil
3) 1tsp honey
4) 1tsp brown sugar

5) 430g granary flour
6) two tsp of dried milk
7) one packet of yeast
8) two pinches of sea salt
(optional tiny bit of Vit c)

Switch the machine on.

Three ways to properly get to know people

1) Live with them
2) Work with them
3) Go on holiday with them

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Wise Words of Wisdom

My good friend had three pearls of work wisdom to pass on to me the other day: 1) pay 2) the work itself 3) the people you work with. If you have 2 of these then you're ok.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Best Christmas and New Year ever?

I really did have one of the best ever.  And the question is, why?  I didn't win the lottery, husband didn't manage to get much time off, I wasn't abroad, I didn't have a car.  So why, why, why?  A colleague at work hit the nail on the head when he said 'Well, I suppose it depends what they've been like before.'  The past ten years or so either I've been seriously ill, a parent has been seriously ill or a close friend has died and/or we've been snowed in. 

I've always loved Christmas - or said I did.  It's something that stuck in my mind when we met the vicar before we got married.  'You're cultural Christians aren't you?' he said, in his very understanding way that all those preachers have. I nodded enthusiastically thinking of all the things I loved and still love about Christmas, most of which I can tick off this time.  Carols in the chapel on Christmas Eve (tick), seeing as many friends and relatives as I want (tick), Christmas music on the radio (tick), giving and receiving of gifts (tick), wonderful food and drink (tick), putting up some decorations (tick), being grateful and thankful of life and one's health (tick). 

Apart from myself, friends and family being alive and well, perhaps the biggest reason is that for the first time since 1995 I am truly happy in what I am doing.  I am thoroughly enjoying my PhD.