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Coping tips

(25 Posts)
Fishpieplease Thu 17-Jan-19 09:56:04

I’d really appreciate some tips/strategies on how you keep gong when family life gets tough. I’m talking bereavement and all its practicalities,grandchildren seriously ill,all at the same time. The kind of thing that isn’t planned,so I can’t say “no” but at the same time I’d like to stay relatively sane.

sodapop Thu 17-Jan-19 10:08:53

It's hard isn't it fishpie troubles never come singly. I try to prioritise, realise I can't do everything and deal with the things I can do something about. Bereavement is different and we all deal with this in our own way. Take one day at a time, one step at a time. Don't be afraid to grieve and talk about your loved one.
I'm sorry you are having a difficult time, look after yourself, you can't help if you are ill. Take care.

HildaW Thu 17-Jan-19 10:16:00

Fishpieplease. Sounds as if you have a lot on your plate. Its tough when so much is out of our control and I too am coping with a lot. I do find that some sort of physical activity helps me a lot. I try and squeeze in a couple of walks a week if possible, its all the better if the sun is shining and there is some greenery about. Took our dog for a walk the other day along a little lane nearby and found myself just concentrating on the snowdrops coming through....its a sort of unintentional 'mindfulness'. It does help as does any other physical activity that requires a bit of concentration...its lovely when you realise that for an hour or so those horrid worries and thoughts have not been in your head.
Hope you can find something similar to help. All the best.

Nannarose Thu 17-Jan-19 10:16:27

Very difficult without specifics, but here goes:

Keep the children's routine as much as possible
Take all help offered - from specialist nurses to someone who offers to take the well child to school, or take them home for tea or similar. If it doesn't really work out, you can say so nicely.
If you can afford it, buy in help such as cleaning, getting groceries delivered etc. and be OK about using ready meals
Prioritise - and that means looking after yourself as well
Cry, and if you need to, lean on a friend
Keep to the principles that has always kept your family going (I am thinking that ours has always been to tell everyone the truth, even when difficult)

Hope that helps

EllanVannin Thu 17-Jan-19 10:23:32

Everyone needs a coping strategy at some point in their lives and there's no easy answer to how people deal with staying " sane " as each individual is different.
Throughout my life I've had bags of stress and when thrown into situations feet first your " flight/fight " mechanism kicks in.
I chose to fight------all the way and at some points " taught " my brain to shut-off. This way I became accustomed to each eventuality as it happened and so I was then able to cope and accept that " things happen " and to deal with them accordingly.
I'm a pretty strong individual to start with but my own philosophy in managing life and death is individual and pretty well self-taught.
Keep fighting within yourself and train the brain to accept that things happen in life. Be prepared---for the unexpected. Things can't be, or never are always as bad as they seem.

Izabella Thu 17-Jan-19 10:24:35


MawBroon Thu 17-Jan-19 10:29:45

flowers fishpieplease you sound as if you are going through an especially hard time. Sometimes it seems the rest of the world either doesn’t ever have problems or doesn’t care.
I hear people talking about their cruises/extensions/new cars/children’s or grandchildren’s achievements /new babies/outings/family gatherings etc etc etc and it can be hard not to feel isolated. When my DH died 14 months ago everybody around me seemed to be a couple and that was not easy.
GN is a great place to let off steam or find a sympathetic shoulder when you need one.
You also need to remember you cannot bear all the burdens or solve your family’s problems. Lovely that they lean on you, but they need to remember you are human and not superhuman. The temptation as a mum or gran is to be the strong one in the family, the problem solver or mediator. It is simply impossible to be all of that and retain one’s sanity.
Do draw comfort from friends if you can, from your garden if that relaxes you, or pets - a cat on your lap or a dog at your feet who wags his tail and loves you unconditionally.
Pop into Soops Kitchen here on GN where kindness and virtual cake are in plentiful supply.
What is that thing about the important thing not being the cards you are dealt but how you play them?

grannyactivist Thu 17-Jan-19 10:39:02

My life is often fraught as I have a large family and at any point there seems to be some sort of trauma going on. (Currently I have a terminally ill sister, a brother awaiting an operation for a brain tumour and two severely mentally ill family members.)
My strategy is to ensure that I get support for myself, otherwise I wouldn't be able to cope with the demands of my very pressured job and family crises. I'm fortunate to have a husband who absolutely gets the strain I'm often under and does his best to shore me up and I have friends who do likewise. When I can I take a few days holiday, alone, to recharge my batteries and this enables me to keep going.
Hope things improve soon. flowers

HildaW Thu 17-Jan-19 10:52:04

EllanVannin had some very useful insight and I heartily agree with all she said. Just one point, she says she's a pretty strong person anyway and recognising that is certainly useful. However I'd just like to add that just because anyone is finding what life is throwing at them is overwhelming, it does not mean they are the opposite of strong, i.e. 'weak'. When life gets too much its all to easy to feel defeated, to write yourself off as useless and just not cut out to cope. All around you there seem to be these other folks getting on with life and you are the only one who is struggling. Its just not the case. Being overwhelmed does not equate with weakness...and I'm sure EllanVannin was not in anyway inferring that.
I get swamped by the stress of worrying and yet when there is a real emergency I do rise to the challenge - I've certainly coped in the past even though I might have suffered afterwards. Its the worry and stress that's crippling and what makes us feel powerless. No one is weak if they cannot cope with life's really nasty stuff, they just have not got the right help.

Izabella Thu 17-Jan-19 11:07:49

Good post Mawbroon

Nonnie Thu 17-Jan-19 11:48:36

Wish I had something helpful to say but I don't as I am going through a similar thing. All I can say is don't try too hard and don't feel guilty when you can't cope. It is normal to not cope. Some days I can barely get up and others I manage to get some things done but my motivation has completely gone. Be kind to yourself and when it is hard just keep on keeping on.

Fishpieplease Thu 17-Jan-19 12:32:45

Thank you all for your kind words as wise suggestions. It’s strange how writing it all down as well helps a bit. I’ve got some really good friends,including some lovely GNs,but I wouldn’t want to be that draining one who’s on the phone all the time “for a chat”. I think it’s very true that it’s tempting to try to be all things to all people and it’s just not possible.

Newatthis Thu 17-Jan-19 12:38:08

My Mil had a serious stroke at New Year and will now not be able to live independently, my Bil died last Saturday after a short battle with Pancreatic Cancer and I at present, after having a chest infection since October now have a more serious chest complaint. Just keep positive. When I am low I think of my little granddaughter's smile and her sweet nature and know there is a ray of light in my world.

EllanVannin Thu 17-Jan-19 13:18:38

HildaW, I wouldn't dream of using the word " weak " as I'm sure you'd understand. I will stress that we're all individuals who deal/cope with life's downturns in our own way.

I'd had so many that I felt prepared, if you like, although I'm no pessimist in this respect. My life is such that it would be worthy of a book but hard to imagine it would be fact and not fiction.

In just one year of my 78+ years, there came a diagnosis of Lymphoma to my GD's partner ( 30 ) father of their 7 children, who's spent the best part of a year in hospital keeping him alive, then came the deaths of 3 of my close lifelong friends and then I had a TIA. Just in the space of over a year, last year.
The start of this year brought a heart attack to my D's ex H and he's now recovering in hospital after a triple-bypass, at only 60.

My determination and strength to get through these " hurdles " stems from serious familial problems I also had to endure in the past. There are times when I've had to wonder how I came out of certain situations unscathed and with my brain/mind in one piece. I've remained focussed and also committed to my family and others of course in whichever way I can help.

I might add that I had no idea that I'd had a mini-stroke apart from one day my left leg felt like a lead weight as I tried to negotiate a small step and it had decided it didn't want to bend, but I just got on with things until a bout of dizziness and lack of proper balance prompted me to see a GP. A warning, perhaps ? CT scans don't lie.

HildaW Thu 17-Jan-19 17:30:27

EllanVannin, I know that you had not, I was just thinking about what a good friend always says about mental health and well-being. She's is qualified in that field and just likes to point out that some people feel they are 'weak' because they are not coping. Its something that needs dispelling. Its so easy to feel that everyone else is coping so much better but many are just better at keeping up appearances.

Bikerhiker Thu 17-Jan-19 18:05:28

When the horrible situations that life throws at us arise it is easy to feel different from everyone else. I look at people in the supermarket and think 'how can they carry on as if nothing has happened? If they do have horrid things going on then they are coping better than me.' Then I realise that someone somewhere is always having a hard time and unless it is you or someone you care about then you simply don't know and it doesn't affect you.
So many sad things on here. No answers apart from we must exercise a little self preservation and do whatever we need to survive, otherwise we are no good to ourselves or anyone else.
Sending hugs to everyone.

Dorsetcupcake61 Fri 18-Jan-19 09:55:43

Hi there. My heart goes out to you as i was in a similar situation a few years ago.Things will improve but whilst in the midst of it all try and find something each day that brings you pleasure and a little time for you. It may be reading a few chapters of a book,a short walk or a hobby. For me it was knitting,I'm not brilliant but it's very relaxing. Sometimes it's difficult when everything seems bad news but focus on the good in life and little acts of kindness and love that are all around you. All my life I have always found it very useful to write down how I'm feeling when worried or stressed. You can express feelings you may not always want to verbalize to those dear to you. It can be a great release and put things in perspective. I hope things improve soon. Sending you virtual hugsxx

Nonnie Fri 18-Jan-19 10:24:09

Some thoughts on the above: it is not 'weak' to feel things strongly. If your read Depression the Curse of the Strong by Dr Tim Cantopher you will understand.

I work hard at reminding myself of all the good things I have in life and I have many but it doesn't help me cope with the really bad thing which is affecting me and others I love.

Yes, try and do something each day but don't beat yourself up about it when you fail, that only makes you feel worse.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 18-Jan-19 11:35:22

Please, make time if only once in the week to do something you like, or nothing at all, if rest is what you chiefly need. And with all you are dealing with, I bet you need time to turn off the phone, put your feet up and read a book or watch your favourite TV programme or film, or go for a walk.

Grieving is a process along a rough and bumpy road, most of the time. What helps me, might not help you, but I allow myself a limited amount of time to be really sad, cry, etc. and then I try to start doing something else. I know it sounds odd, crying for twenty minutes by the clock, then getting on with some boring chore, but it got me through the days and months after my sister's death, which up to now was the worst bereavement I have suffered.

Keep us posted about your grandchildren, it's worrying to think of seriously ill children, so we will all be thinking of you and them.

KatyK Fri 18-Jan-19 11:55:17

Because I am nervous and under confident because of all that life has thrown at me, someone once described me as weak. I had to smile. The fact that I'm still here is proof that I'm not weak. flowers for all who are struggling.

Nonnie Fri 18-Jan-19 12:18:12

Don't people say stupid things Katy? Don't suppose they mean it, just being thoughtless. I have a friend who is not dim but after I had had yet another operation she said I was a hypochondriac. No, I had just had a lot of things wrong with me!

KatyK Fri 18-Jan-19 12:25:58

Yes Nonnie they do. I suppose if nothing much bad has happened to them then how would they know, to be fair. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes is a good saying.

loopyloo Fri 18-Jan-19 12:35:08

I find it helps to write things down. So I take sit down write out the problems and then try to see what I can do. A lot of the time there is not a lot I can do. That's when I pray.
Talking to friends helps. That's where GN comes in very helpful.
Looking on line for help and advice.
Practical things help like having my phone and having a cheap backup phone. Also having a cushion of savings, easier said than done but very helpful in an emergency.
Going for a walk.
Prioritising things.
Knowing who to ask for help.

HildaW Fri 18-Jan-19 16:24:33

KatyK....that's exactly the sort of stupidity that I wanted to highlight. I fully understand that lack of confidence is a real trial. I am one of those people who learnt very early in life to 'put on a brave face' so that people I have met later in life find my lack of confidence a mystery. Thankfully the people I mix with nowadays do understand that a lot better....we are all a little older and wiser and a lot more tolerant. Its certainly true that if others have been through tough times they are much better at understanding and giving support. A sympathetic ear is a wonderful thing and highlights the importance of social contact when you are trying to cope.

KatyK Fri 18-Jan-19 19:32:44

Yes indeed Hilda. My DH used to despair of me but now he says he understands. I am fortunate to have sisters who have been through the horrible stuff too and we support each other.