This is a transcript of Live the 8Wise™ Way Podcast.
Are You Thinking Too Loud?
Welcome everybody to episode 17 of the Live the 8WiseTM Ways podcast with me, Kim Rutherford, Psychotherapist, author, podcast host and today I am, I guess I’m just a normal British citizen showing my respect to Queen Elizabeth and the passing and the grief that the Royal family are going through.
If you have not yet listened to any of these podcasts and you are looking for some support and some help with regards to your own psychological wellbeing, maybe it’s mental health issues, maybe you’re just in a little fluctuation of feeling a little bit lost in the world right now, then why not head back to the start of the whole process really, start from episode one where you can work through the 8WiseTM Ways process and hopefully you will find ways that will help you to manage your mental health and wellbeing from that.
The whole podcast does also work alongside my book, 8WiseTM Ways to a Healthier, Happier Mind and you can actually use the podcast and follow through with the book and use the book and the podcast as your own self-help process. It’s almost like having a psychotherapist in your hand, which is very much why I developed this in the first place, so that people could work through their emotions, work through their challenges, overcome some issues, maybe learn to manage a few things at a pace that works for them in the environments that work for them. So, if you haven’t listened before, then why not go right back to the beginning and start from scratch and see if the process can really help you move forward in a healthier, happier way in your life.
For those of you who are joining me, thank you very much, I do appreciate all of the support. As always I ask anybody if you can, and this is mainly because there are so many people suffering out there right now, not everybody can get access to the therapists or the doctors and so we want to make sure as many people as possible can get access to tools, resources, and techniques that might be helping them in these moments that they might need it the most, so that’s why I ask for likes, that’s why I ask for you to subscribe, that’s why I ask you to share so we can raise the profile, so we can get this information out to as many people all over the world as we possibly can, so that we can get that support to the people who might be feeling a little bit isolated, who might be feeling a little bit alone right now for whatever might be going on in their life.
Now today. I’m a little bit sad recording today’s episode because, as I said I’m from the UK, this has been a 10 day mourning period with regards to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who in my lifetime, I mean, I’ve never known anything different. I’ve never known anything different to having a queen and I never really thought anything of that until suddenly she’s no longer there and you’re in this phase of that consistency, that having this one person who is always in your life in one way or another even though you never met her, you don’t know her, she’s always been this consistent figure. You do have a sense of loss to that, to that figure head and it is quite strange. I’ve spoken to an awful lot of people recently about how can you grieve for somebody you didn’t know, but it’s this concept that grief is only allowed with regards to the loss of loved ones and actually, grief and bereavement happens for so many different reasons. It can be, of course, through the loss and the death of a loved one, but we can grieve lives we had, we can grieve work we had, we can grieve our pets. It’s all about the loss of something and, for me on a personal note, I guess what I am feeling grief for with regards to the queen is, it’s the loss of the life I’ve understood, living in a country with a very specific monarchy and having a very specific figurehead. It’s all of the memories that I’ve had of going to rugby games and football games or when I was a child, we had Pantomimes and we always ended it with God Save The Queen. To know that doesn’t happen anymore is also quite sad. There’s also that other element to it that I’m quite proud that my country had a queen for such a long time and there’s the other realization that I probably won’t see that in my country, in my lifetime, ever again and I wish every king that follows in our current king’s footsteps all the luck in the world with the role. I don’t think it’s an easy role in any way, shape or form, but I am truly sad as a woman to no longer have a queen as my Monarch. So that’s why I’m sad.
People can be sad for lots of different reasons, don’t judge us for it, we’re living our lives, we’re doing the best we can, but I thought that in today’s episode, I wanted to focus it on grief and bereavement because the reality of what’s happened in the last 10 days in the UK doesn’t overshadow the fact that there are millions of people all over the globe who are experiencing genuinely the grief and loss of their own loved ones or what they are experiencing is almost a reminder of what losing those loved ones may have felt like. But there’s also those people who are going through the grief and loss of those other things I’ve told you about as well. They’re grieving a relationship that may have broken down. They’re grieving the loss of a job they may have loved or a career they may have loved. There are so many things that we lose and there are so many things that we grieve for and so I thought today might be the right time to let’s have a focus on grief and loss. And because in these episodes, I always talk about the 8WiseTM Ways, I thought that in this episode I would talk about eight broken down into two sets of four and talk about the four phases of grief so that if you are experiencing grief right now you can have some understanding of maybe what phase you are in and how far you’ve come and the movements that you’re going to have moving forward and so you can start to help manage yourself and look after yourself and be kind to yourself as you do navigate through those four phases.
I also want to talk about the four tasks of mourning, understanding what the process we go through and how that benefits us in the long run because sometimes when we’re in the deepest steps and I know because I have genuinely been there myself, you go “God, will this ever end, what is the purpose of this, what is the point of this” and the human mind is an amazing thing. It does provide us with purpose in a lot of the things that we do.
So I thought today, the 8WiseTM Way is going to be covered in two sets of four, the four phases of grief and the four tasks of mourning. That’s where we are going to work with today on this very poignant episode, I guess, with regards to everything that’s going on in the world at the moment and I just want to start by saying if you are genuinely feeling loss and grief at the moment, if you have recently lost someone, truly, I truly am thinking of you and my thoughts are with you and it is a very difficult time. I hope it doesn’t last horrifically long for you.
Let’s get started with the four phases of grief. Back in the 1970s, there was a British psychiatrist. His name was Colin Murray Parkes and he worked with a psychologist named John Bowlby. Now for any of you out there who’ve ever done anything in psychology, the lovely John Bowlby pops up an awful lot and what they did is they proposed this concept that involved these key four stages, or four phases, of grief. These four phases, that if you’re experiencing grief and loss, that you will go through.
Now the first one is this concept of shock and numbness. This phase takes place immediately after the loss and the concept of it is that, in this moment, the grieving person feels numb. It’s a self-defence mechanism, which is basically helping that person to survive their own emotions which are really strong and they’re coming through thick and fast straight after we experience the loss of someone. In the first instance, we have this concept of shock and numbness, a way that the brain allows you to manage the overwhelming sense of all of those emotions, rather than have to experience every one of them in its toughest and strongest and most intense format, your brain allows you to feel numbness instead, which comes from that shock. But it allows you to survive those initial few hours, those few days and for some people, few weeks, I want to make clear on these four phases, there is no specific timeline, you do not have to process anything at a certain pace. This is about you and who you are and how you function and so please don’t listen to this and think “oh my God, I should be at this phase now”. You will move through the phases the way that is right for you, the way that you need to, and don’t look to do it in any different way, just be kind to yourself.
When we’ve moved through the shock and numbness phase, we then move into this phase of yearning and searching. Sometimes you might hear this known as the pining stage. It’s when we are really missing that person so much, we’re missing that process so much, or that thing so much that we are longing for its return and we are longing for it to be filling up this void that we now feel because this person, this thing is not hearing us anymore. This is when we start to feel those emotions. The numbness has died down, those feelings are coming through and they’re starting to get expressed. This is when we start to feel emotions such as that uncontrollable weeping, that uncontrollable crying that can come on at any stage. It doesn’t take very much to trigger it. This is when we can also feel that intense depth of anger, anger at the loss, anger at why we’re feeling the loss, anger at why this thing, this person, these people, this experience is no longer with us. We can also feel incredible anxiety at this stage as well. What’s the world going to be like, how are we going to cope, how can we get through this. We can become very preoccupied within this process.
People might feel like we’re isolating ourselves from them, and we’re not, it’s just that we are suddenly in this process of preoccupation with regards to what we’re feeling and what we’re experiencing. It can be an incredible time of confusion as well and in that confusion is this not understanding why we are feeling the way we feel, not understanding why we are having to feel the way we feel and why we’ve had to lose that person or whatever we’re grieving and grieving for. It’s a very difficult time, the yearning and searching stage and, as I said, if you are in that stage, you just have to process it the way that you process it, do it at your pace, do it the way that’s working for you, there is no right, there is no wrong way to this. It is literally just allowing yourself to be yourself. That concept of a day at a time really matters at these stages.
After the yearning and searching stage, we move through to the third stage. This is the disorganization and the despair, and this is when you might feel the desire to withdraw dramatically and disengage from others. Things that you may have enjoyed before you might not be enjoying as much so you’re pulling away from it. You’ve started to accept the reality of the loss and you are starting to understand the feelings and those intense feelings that came with that yearning and searching stage, they’re possibly decreasing now, becoming less intense. What you might find at this stage is these feelings of apathy, anger still, despair, hopelessness, and constantly questioning things might start to increase, which if you were to look at it as a curve, you’re right in the curve element now where one is the top of the curve shock and numbness is the top of the curve, as you move down that slope is your yearning and searching, and as you’re in the bottom crevice of that curve, that’s where this disorganization and the despair takes place. That’s why you might feel these different types of intense feelings there as well. Then as you come through the curve and through up to the other side, this is when you move to phase four, which is reorganization and recovery.
In the final phase of this grieving process, you start to feel normal again. This is when maybe you start to balance out your emotions. The intensity might change slightly. Your energy levels might start to increase again. You might start to find that you return to some of those activities that you had moved away from that weren’t bringing you joy or happiness in any way, shape or form. This is that phase where your new normal starts to come into play. That doesn’t mean that the grief ever ends because it doesn’t ever end, but the thoughts of the sadness and the despair, they’ll start to diminish, and positive memories will come through. Those positive memories start to take over some of the more negative experience and negative thoughts and things that you might have been having through some of those other phases.
I want to make it clear again that everyone, everyone, grieves at their own pace and there is no specific amount of time. There’s no usual amount of time. There is nothing that says you are supposed to be doing this a very specific way. You are going to go through this process at a way that your brain works with you and there is no shame in that. Don’t try and rush this. Don’t try and pretend for yourself or for anybody else. Allow yourself to experience what you’re going to experience because that allows you to work through things and get to a stage where it’s easier for you to live this new normalized life.
So it’s really important, as I said, that you look after yourself in these phases and if you are genuinely struggling whilst going through these phases, then don’t struggle alone. There are some amazing, amazing grief and bereavement counsellors out there. Now I myself am not, I am not a bereavement counsellor, so this is not something I would work with people on. That does mean that obviously I work with a lot of other people and sometimes bereavement and loss come into that but if you are looking for a specialist bereavement counsellor, then I do recommend that you look at somebody who is local to you in your area, or you can work with via an online platform in some way. If you are not sure how to do that, then please feel free to get in contact with me and I will point you in the right direction if I can’t help you myself with anything.
As I said, this is about 8WiseTM Ways and the first four of today were about the phases of grief, but we want to understand why we go through this mourning process, what does mourning help us to do, how are we benefiting from it in any way, shape or form and so, for the second half today, I want to talk about the four tasks of mourning.
Now, these were first talked about in a book called Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy by William J Warden, who is an American Psychologist and I think this was back in 1982. What he put out there was that there was this concept of these four tasks of mourning. The first one he called ‘Accept the reality of the loss’. This is when we have to come full faced with the reality that especially if it’s with regards to a person who’s passed, we have to come face to face with the reality that this person is now dead and they’re not going to return.
And so the first task of grieving is to grieve the individual. It needs to be fully completed, we need to get to the stage where we can come to terms with this and mourning helps us to come to terms with this. Without accomplishing this, we won’t be able to continue through the mourning process because we really need to be able to get to the stage where we accept the loss.
We accept the person can’t come back and that then allows us to move forward, as painful as that might be it has a purpose. It helps us to move forward. What it helps us move forward to is phase two, or task two, which is ‘work through the pain of that grief’. We know the reaction specifically to the death of a loved one, for example, is incredibly painful and we’re going to experience a wide range of emotions such as those we’ve already talked about. There may be anger, guilt, fear. There’s probably depression in there, sadness, despair, a lot of emotions that can be incredibly uncomfortable to feel. So working through the pain and working through the grief can take some time. It really requires us as an individual, who’s going through this bereavement, to acknowledge the different emotions that we’re feeling, understand and work through the pain and the emotions that we’re feeling. It’s not a good process for us to suppress ourselves or to avoid these feelings. I know it’s a very common, what I would call, dysfunctional approach to managing a lot of how we feel a lot of grief, loss or even mental health issues in general is to try and suppress the emotions that we’re feeling and experiencing but actually we are better off in the long run allowing ourselves to experience them fully and allowing ourselves to then work through them and, as we do that, we work through the pain. We work through the grief of the mourning period, and then we work better towards task three, which is then adjusting to the environments in which we may be missing the person that used to share those environments with us in addition to any form of emotional, psychological adjustments we might need to adapt to our new role and sometimes we have to adapt by fulfilling the function that this person that we had in our lives used to have.
It could be that suddenly, if it’s a partner for example, we might have to start handling those household finances, raising children alone, finding a job or returning to work, changing our career. Suddenly we have to change, we have to create a new normal, we have to adjust to a world we might not have been ready to adjust to. Adjusting to an environment in which the deceased is missing is the important phase three of our mourning tasks. When we have worked through adjusting to this new environment in which the deceased is missing, we then move on to number four.
Number four is finding an enduring connection with the deceased while embarking on a new life. This is where a lot of people tend to start feeling their guilt. It’s when they’ve moved on in their own life and they’re not sure, well how do I stay connected to that person and it can be really very difficult, but it’s about creating a new relationship with that person, a new relationship with the deceased person whilst allowing ourselves to appropriately move forward in our emotional life and towards living our life again. It requires letting go of the attachments, so maybe some new meaningful relationships can begin to form, but also that we create a new, meaningful relationship with the person that is no longer with us.
Working through these four tasks of mourning, it can really help us come to terms with our loss. It can help lead us towards some form of new normal, but it doesn’t stop us going through the grief process overall. We talked earlier on, I said the four stages of grief there’s no necessary ending to these for those who’ve experienced grief, you probably already know some of you maybe many years passed and that grief can still come in any one of these phases at any time of your life. So just because there are four phases or there are four tasks doesn’t necessarily mean that as soon as the four are over, that’s it. It is cyclical. It can go in a cycle and when we have had amazing people or amazing experiences in our lives, it’s not surprising that they stay with us for a long time and therefore feeling the loss with regards to them for a long time is very normal as well. So, as I said, this is a very different type of podcast episode today. I don’t want to be sad, but it’s hard not to be.
So I just wanted to make sure that I was making it very clear that, although the world seems in mourning of Queen Elizabeth at the moment, it doesn’t detract from the fact that many millions of people right now are mourning the queens and kings in their own lives and I wanted to make sure that if you are that person, if you are experiencing grief and loss at the moment that you know you’re not alone, and there are ways to work through it and don’t expect it to move forward quickly, it doesn’t have to move forward quickly.
It can move forward at the pace that works for. Everything you are experiencing, as painful as it is, is incredibly normal and one day you will feel a bit better and time, as they say, is a great healer and it’s never a truer saying than when it comes to grief and loss.
So, as I said, personally, I am not a grief and loss counsellor and therefore I don’t specialize in this area, but I have worked with people who are experiencing other situations, other issues that I do specialize in, and obviously grief and loss may play a role in that, hence I felt the need to talk to you guys about it today. But, this was very specific with regards to, as I said, I’m British and it’s been a very poignant and thought provoking week this week with regards to what grief really is, what loss really is, how we experiencing it, how one person can touch millions of people in the world even though you’ve not met them and being thankful for the people that come into our lives, who leave us at some stage but leave behind amazing memories, amazing thoughts and love that is incredibly deep.
So, this was episode 17, I will be back to my slightly happier, healthier sounding self for episode 18. So if you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing and psychological wellbeing at the moment, and you are looking for some support, then the Live the 8WiseTM podcast is here for you so please head back and listen from episode one and have a look at the book with regards to working through things and having some tools and techniques almost, as I said, creating your own psychologist in your hand, your own self-help psychological process that can help you work through it.
The podcast, as I said, comes out every week, please like, subscribe, share, let the world know it exists so we can help as many people as possible. My book 8WiseTM Ways to a Healthier, Happier Mind is available everywhere, everywhere you can get a book, so the usual places, the big guys, the Amazons, etc, etc and also from me directly if you come to www.8wise.co.uk and head to the store there as well. To accompany the book, there is also a 12-week 8WiseTM journal to help you focus on one specific goal at a time.
For those of you who, like me, are making the decision to change your life or make major changes and what I call Live the 8WiseTM Way, then you can also get a copy of the 12 month Planner, which helps you takes the concept of the journal into 12 whole months, and really helps you to start looking at all areas of your life and start Living the 8WiseTM Way, doing it that way. For those of you just needing a little bit of a “where do I start, what do I do, how should I be focusing”, then there’s also the wellbeing pocketbook too.
You can access all of those, again, from anywhere, anywhere that sells books online, and you can get them ordered into your local bookstores, but you can also come to me directly if you want to go to the 8WiseTM store which is www.8wise.co.uk. If you want some extra information, some daily tips, then you can come along and follow me. If you come to Facebook, you can find me at the 8WiseTM Wellness Café and in there we run regular challenges, we’re running one at the moment, we’re running a 30 day wellness challenge to help you Live the 8WiseTM Way.
In fact, you can come to me anywhere. You can find me @8Wise anywhere so I’m @8Wise or @8Wisetherapy or @8Wisekim on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter and come along and follow me personally as Kim Rutherford on LinkedIn as well if you want to.
Feel free to get in touch if you want to. You can get in touch with me via my website and any questions, queries, please feel free to let me know and if I can answer them on here, I will do. If you want them answered personally, I will try to do that as well.
There are some free resources on the website as well so just head to www.8wise.co.uk and look for free resources. You’ll find there’s quite a lot there as well. And please don’t suffer alone.
I think my big message to anybody who might be experiencing any challenges with how they’re feeling psychologically at the moment, whether it be this topic of grief and bereavement, or whether it be anything to do with your overall mental health and wellbeing, is reach out. Don’t suffer alone. As difficult as it might feel sometimes to reach out, still do it, I promise you, people do reach back and sometimes you’ll be surprised on who it is who reaches back.
If you feel the need to contact me, as I said, you can contact me directly through the website and I will help you or point you in the direction of any help that you might want or need. And if you would like to come along and join in some of the training that I’ve got coming up then I am running two free 8WiseTM master classes. The first one will be on Wednesday the 5th of October at midday UK time. You can register for this on Eventbrite, if you would like a direct link to that, I’ll get that put into the notes below so you can get a direct link to that. So that is October the fifth at midday UK time.
Then I’ll be running another one on 14th October, which is a Friday at midday as well, UK time and I’ll put the links to Eventbrite where you can register directly on there as well.
The great news is I have got some new courses coming in the next couple of months as well.
We are going to be running an 8WiseTM discovery course, which is a very simple way of helping you to discover how you need to Live the 8WiseTM Way, which tools and techniques link to 8WiseTM you need to implement for your own life so that you can go off and create your strategy. You can go off and create your map and you can create your action plan. Then if you are somebody who really wants to go into it in a lot more detail, and you are somebody who really wants to go through the process as if you were working me on a one to one, when we go through it in a lot more detail, we create the strategy together and we work through that strategy together, really creating a personalized action plan together, then the 8WiseTM accelerator course is coming your way very soon as well, where as a group, we will do that. We will support each other, and we will take you through that process from the very beginning of your self-evaluations, right the way through to you effectively Living the 8WiseTM Way for a healthier, happier mind.
So that’s the group programs that are coming up. The 8WiseTM discovery and the 8WiseTM accelerator. If you are someone who prefers to work one to one, then there are coaching programs available. You can work with me directly. I do work with some people directly, so I have two main 8WiseTM programs.
I have the 8WiseTM business therapeutic coaching, which is for those people who run businesses so we’re talking about our CEOs, our business leaders, our entrepreneurs, and what that does is it’s really a coaching program that helps you to manage the psychological impact of having a very high level role in big organizations and how the different responsibilities you have can have an impact on you psychologically. It’s a coaching program that supports you with business coaching, therapeutic coaching, and also some life coaching in there as well, to help you navigate all of those challenging days and the challenging moments that you have in the everyday business and how they impact the wider part of your life. So that is the 8WiseTM business therapy process and I will put the details of this in the comments as well.
On top of that we also have, for everybody else, it’s your standard brilliant, brilliant, brilliant model, which is the 8WiseTM therapeutic life coaching program which, again, takes you through, if you are at that stage in life, where you go “no, I’ve got to look after my mental health better, I’ve got to look after my psychological wellbeing better, I’m at a fork in the road, I’m a little bit lost, I’m really not sure where my life’s going right now and I’m not feeling great about it” then learning to Live the 8WiseTM Way through that coaching program will be really helpful. And the reason it’s a therapeutic coaching program is because what I do is I combine the psychological elements of psychotherapy with the coaching elements of a good coaching program and model.
What we help you do there is heal from the past, manage the challenges of the present and then create a healthier, happier future and a better quality of life. So, if you are wanting to start Living the 8WiseTM Way, then you have the option if you don’t want to do it on your own, using the books and the podcast, then you are very welcome to come onto any of the courses.
As I said we’ve got the free master classes coming up in October, and we have the 8WiseTM discovery and 8WiseTM accelerator coming up shortly after that so there’ll be more details everywhere about that for you.
Then if you are looking to reach out and work with someone one to one, then get in contact and I do take on one to one clients as well. So, you don’t have to learn to Live the 8WiseTM Way on your own, I have got your back. I will be with you every step of the way in as many different formats that suit you as I possibly can.
So that is the end of today’s episode. As I said, a slightly different pace to normal but I think it’s an important one to have covered. If you are struggling with grief and loss, I am very sorry, genuinely very sorry, for your loss and I wish you well on your bereavement and grief journey, I genuinely do.
Thank you to everybody for listening. As I said, if you can go back, listen to previous ones, like, subscribe, share and I hope you join me, Kim Rutherford Psychotherapist, author, and creator of 8WiseTM on the next episode.
Until then, take care, look after yourselves and I will speak to you very, very soon.
Bye for now.
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