Monday, November 28, 2011

Death and Happiness

Today I am saddened by the death of Gary Speed at the young age of 42. I did not know him personally but like so many others have watched and listened to the stories from those who did.  I have heard so many people say what a happy person he was so how could a happy person with all the success he had feel so low that they end their own lives?

So many of us put on a face to the world around us, when asked how we are we may say "fine" or "no bad". We may not want to admit to others that we feel so terrible that not living seems like the only option.  Talking about how we really feel to a trusted friend can be a life saver, when we say the words that rattle around inside our heads we can challenge them.  If we have no one to help us challenge the negative thoughts of hopelessness then they will grow stronger as we focus on them. 

I remember one very bleak night not long after Calum died, sitting crying as I couldn’t sleep.  I just wanted this terrible pain to end, I wanted the hurt and hopeless feelings to go away.  I thought that if my husband and daughter died with me then we would all be together again with Calum.  That would take away the hurt and pain for us all and it would be ok.  I had an outlet for my thoughts though – I wrote to Calum in a journal.  Even as I wrote the words I realised that it was not death that I wanted but a happier life back.  At that time I didn’t really know how I could have happiness but it got me through that night.
I have lots of friends and family who supported me through this terrible time, they listened to me, were kind to me in so many ways and through the pain and sorrow some light began to appear. (You can read a little more of this in David Hamilton’s book Why Kindness is Good For You). What I held on to was that I wanted to be happy, it was right to be happy and so I developed a mindset to allow happiness into my life.

My story is not a miraculous overnight recovery, it took time to grieve for the loss of Calum and heal the pain.  It’s 4 years on and I am happy, I still have times when I feel sad or low and I acknowledge them because living a happy life means living a real life with all its ups and downs.  I still write to Calum, I find that it helps me to get the thoughts out of my head and help to shift my perspective. I also write when I am happy and inspired so I share the positive thoughts too.  

If you find yourself at a real low talk to a friend, GP, Support line like Samaritans or Breathing Space or try writing. Ask yourself what is it that I really want – to end the pain and misery may be your first answer but what do you want instead? Is it to be happy? Make that your focus and it will shift your perspective on life a little. A little glimmer of light on a dark night can be all that it takes to start your journey. 

 You can read some of the practical ways that I handle the lows and create more happiness in my life in previous blogs.  I support individuals, teach Creating aHappier life courses and run Happiness Clubs, where we can all learn new skills and share in a common aim – to be happier.  Please feel free to contact me if you want to know more.