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By Spencers Solicitors

  Laura Reaney    
  January 8, 2018

It’s ok to not be ok... a short sentence with a big meaning!

You may recall that I wrote a blog in October 2016 for National Breast Cancer Awareness month. I discussed my own personal experience of seeing someone I love fight a battle against cancer and sadly my best friend Louise lost that battle in April last year.

I feel like now is a good time in my life to share my journey of bereavement, grief and getting the help I needed. I want to hopefully try and make a difference and make others realise that ‘it really is ok to not be ok’.

I didn’t have a clue what grief felt like until I lost Louise last year. Several months went by and it suddenly hit me and I realised she had gone forever and was never coming back. We were best friends, like sisters and did everything together, losing her left a huge hole in my life. I didn’t want to talk about my loss with anyone, that’s just the type of person I am and always have been.

Lots of people mentioned counselling to me but straightaway I became defensive and said it really wasn’t my thing… this is where I was proven wrong. My GP recommended that I should self-refer to Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield for bereavement counselling. My heart filled with dread at the thought of going along to see a counsellor, it just wasn’t my kind of thing, and I hated the idea of sitting down and talking to a complete stranger about how I was feeling. It was going to completely expose me and all my emotions, and if I’m completely honest it made me feel like I was admitting to the world that I wasn’t coping and I was cracking up! I just kept telling myself I needed to get over losing Louise mainly because I thought that was what everyone else was thinking I should do. Suddenly something just changed, it was like a switch, I realised I needed to deal with my grief to enable me to move on with my life and the only way I was going to do that was to give counselling a go.

I went along to my first session with very much an “open mind” and after 2 hours I came away feeling refreshed and positive and like I could breathe again without that feeling of complete heartache. The counsellor made me recognise that it was completely ok to feel like I did and that I wasn’t losing my mind or going crazy, I was simply grieving and reassured that the pain from that can affect people in many different ways. I’d finally taken that first step to finding a way to help me deal with my emotions and heartache. All those thoughts and theories I’d previously had about counselling really were a complete misconception on my part. I’d let there be a stigma attached to counselling and I realise now that was wrong.

Counselling can be for anyone struggling to cope with their emotions. You might be suffering from grief after losing someone you love, you might be going through a relationship breakup, work related stress, a long term illness or a trauma such as a road traffic accident which has left you with some form of psychological injury including anxiety, depression, anger or low self-esteem.

If you’re struggling to cope with your emotions then it might be worth thinking about counselling. I can’t tell you how much of a positive impact it has had on me. Ashgate Hospice is truly amazing and the support they have given me and continue to give me is just incredible and I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. This is why it is so important that we all continue to raise money for such a worthy charity. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed about accepting you need help and would benefit from talking to someone. Go with an open mind and remember ‘it’s ok to not always feel ok’.

Spencers Solicitors has proudly supported Ashgate Hospice for many years in many different ways. One of the latest ways we pledge support is by donating 10% of our Will drafting fees for anyone who is referred to us by Ashgate Hospice and we also advise of the option to gift a donation to Ashgate as part of any Will. Ashgate Hospice is a local treasure providing amazing support to local people and it’s a privilege to continue our support.

About the Author

Laura Reaney is a Paralegal within our Serious Injury Team.

Laura, who joined the team in 1998, originally started as an office junior before training as a Litigator. After gaining extensive experience within personal injury, Laura now specialises in assisting on complex and high value personal injury claims. Over the years she has assisted senior Solicitors in dealing with accident claims involving amputations, serious spinal injuries resulting in permanent disability, brain, head injuries and fatal accidents.

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