Befriending and Volunteering

December 7, 2017

I often talk to people who are interested in working in the community in some way, perhaps volunteering with the elderly or young people or with homeless organisations.

Volunteering can be an incredibly powerful way to help improve your own confidence, self-esteem and feelings of worth. You can clearly see the impact your time and effort makes with the people or organisation you work with.

Here are a few links to help you make a choice about where you might provide assistance or time. Some of these are specifically aimed at people living in and around Brighton & Hove. I have included more general UK links at the end. Please feel free to contribute other suggestions in the comments.

Befriending an elderly person in Brighton and Hove

“For many older people loneliness is an unwelcome feeling of loss. The fear of loneliness alone is said to cause more anxiety than a lack of money or deteriorating health. In fact, loneliness is proven to cause early loss of life which is why services like ours are needed to help elders to feel connected with their community, with volunteer befrienders and each-other.” ( www.tttb.org.uk).

Contact Time to Talk to discuss ways you can help.
Time to Talk Befriending – Hove Tel: 01273 737710          http://www.tttb.org.uk/
email info@timetotalkbefriending.org.uk

Volunteering and befriending vulnerable adults across Brighton and Hove.

Brighton and Hove Impetus are an independent organisation delivering a range of services aimed at improving the wellbeing and quality of life of vulnerable adults across the City. They support people with learning disabilities, people with mental health issues, older people, people with physical disabilities and people with autistic spectrum conditions.

Volunteer roles include: Home visitor, volunteer drivers, phone support – further information can be found on the BH Impetus website http://www.bh-impetus.org/

Brighton and Hove Befriending Coalition “a group of organisations that provide befriending services to a wide range of people at risk of isolation and loneliness in the city” http://www.bhbefriending.org/
Call 01273 229005       email contact@bhbefriending.org

Volunteering with organisations working with homeless people

The Clock Tower Sanctuary provides a friendly, bright, centrally-located, safe space for homeless young people to engage with their peers. t: 01273 722 353

Details on how to volunteer with CTS here

BH Community Works has a volunteering search platform for local volunteering opportunities in Brighton and Hove.

UK wide links:

vinspired is the UK’s leading volunteering charity for 14 – 25 year olds. vinspired helps young people to make their mark on causes that they care about, whilst learning new skills and talents along the way. vinspired recognises that volunteering can help young people thrive, and transform the communities they live in. It teaches them vital skills, like teamwork and problem-solving. It prepares them for their future.” (https://vinspired.com/ )

Age UK – https://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/

 

Do ithttps://do-it.org/

“Sorry for your loss”… Coping with grief and bereavement

January 30, 2017

bereavement
Losing someone in your life can lead to huge changes and make you feel differently about much that you used to take for granted. Grief and bereavement can take you by surprise and mess with your head.

Bereavement can cause confusing emotions

How long you take coping and adjusting to the loss is not dependent on anyone else’s timetable and there is no right way to grieve. People feel intense emotions or sometimes don’t feel the strong emotions they might have expected. We don’t always react in the way we might have imagined or we can be hijacked by powerful distressing emotions that are confusing even though they might have been expected. Sometimes grief can take you by surprise after a period of time – a kick in the stomach triggered by a word, a feeling or thought, a piece of music or the smell of a familiar scent.

grief aloneIt can feel desperately lonely dealing with loss and grief. Friends don’t always understand what to say and often say nothing at all – perhaps feeling scared they will say the wrong thing or can’t cope with their own fear of death. Others say what they think should help “move you on”. Perhaps you won’t be ready to move on and their well-meaning comments will feel inappropriate or ill timed.

Family members might be going through a similar or totally different set of feelings from the same loss of family member. How do you address it within the family? Can you cope with the differences? Or are they ignored? Are there unresolved conflicts? Or is there anger that the deceased is no longer there for the ones that remain? Many of these things can lead to you to feeling lost and alone.


I don’t have anyone to talk to about my loss

Sometimes you may want someone to listen to you talk about your loss, other times you don’t want to talk at all. Friends and family can often be an amazing help, listening empathetically when they share understanding, being there on the end of the phone when you most need it – keep these people close. Sadly, some of your friends may not be able to support in the way you would like. They may be emotionally unavailable to cope with your loss on top of their own difficulties in life. At times it can feel like people call or text less often and you can feel neglected and disappointed in friends you had felt were close to you. Death and grief scares some people and often their tactic is to avoid an awkward situation, rather than considering your feelings above their own.

talking to the dogRather than talking to the dog (or perhaps in addition to), you might wish to consider contacting a counsellor to help you through your bereavement. Talking about loss and letting your feelings out can help you begin to adjust to life and to consider what the relationship with the person meant to you. Bottling up or repressing difficult feelings can maintain the grief and make
coping with bereavement much harder.


When does bereavement end?

You may have read about the stages of bereavement. While it is common for grief to move through stages, for example denial and anger initially, we don’t always stick to textbook approaches in life and you might find that your personal experience of grief differs from what you read about on the Internet – and this is normal. We might not grieve in ways we have seen others grieve, or might spend far longer in certain stages than we might expect. If you are coping alone or feeling alone with your grief, you can find yourself feeling overwhelmed with difficult feelings or perhaps feel numb and lacking in feeling. When feelings are unprocessed in this way, it can sometimes lead to complicated grief or even depression.


Acceptance

Accepting a loss is complicated. There is often shock initially, even when the person has been quite unwell and death is expected. It is common to go through a period of disbelief and confusion. The range of emotions experienced when grieving can also be confusing. Despair and sorrow are expected and are common, but guilt and anger can overwhelm if you are not expecting to feel that way. You may feel nothing at all, numbness or emptiness taking over instead. You can be left with questions as well as emotions – why am I feeling this way? You might find yourself reacting to people in your life in challenging ways as a response to the grief you are experiencing.

bereavement memoriesGrief can also allow your mind to focus on the person and your relationship at a much deeper level than perhaps you were used to when they are alive. Unanswered questions may arise, never to be answered. Unresolved issues that you had successfully buried, may be unearthed and leave you with new emotions or thoughts.


Coping with grief

Sometimes grief feels so bad, it can completely stop you in your tracks. It feels almost impossible to carry on with normal life. Relationships may suffer and it could be difficult to cope with work assignments or even to get out of bed. These are normal reactions and part of the bereavement process, but if you feel it is going on for longer than you would expect, you may need extra support. If you are coping by self-medicating, drinking more alcohol or drugs, eating erratically, behaving recklessly or becoming violent or are having suicidal thoughts, talking to both your GP and/or a counsellor would be a important step forward. If grief has moved into a general feeling of worthlessness, it could be helpful to speak to someone to prevent it developing into depression.


Moving on

moving onA few months after my mother’s death I mentioned my feelings of sadness to a friend. His response, by text said, “time to move on”. It was an ill-timed, and perhaps thoughtless reaction of someone unable to empathise with my situation. Fortunately I had others around me who were more understanding.

I did adjust and over time I found I wasn’t thinking about my mum quite as much as when I was first bereaved. I would still have my moments where I felt the loss deeply, seemingly at random moments, but often triggered by something. Fifteen years later, her life and personality have more meaning to me than her death.

Other losses may be more difficult to deal with and take longer or be a bigger part of our life after. The loss of a baby or child can be incomparable and difficult for others to relate to, leaving the sufferer more alone with their confusing feelings.

therapy roomSpeaking to a counsellor about grief and feelings may help you adjust and begin to accept the loss and help you to live your life again. You are always likely to miss and think about the person and some feelings of grief may stay with you. It changes who you are, but you can go on.

If you would like to speak to Claire about bereavement or issues surrounding grief, you can email claire@insightcounsellingbrighton.co.uk or call 07967 611736 or use the Contact form.


Helpful information

Cruse Bereavement Care National helpline – http://www.cruse.org.uk/

Child Bereavement UK – http://childbereavementuk.org/

Bereavement Advice Centre – https://bereavementadvice.org

Samaritans 116 123 (UK)http://www.samaritans.org/

 

Coping with Christmas

December 21, 2016

How do you feel about the holiday period coming up?

ball-65825_1280Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this time of year is often difficult for many people. Many people suffer with depression over a prolonged holiday period. Some people find themselves alone for much longer, businesses are often closed, leaving people without regular places to be. Preparing for the time on one’s own can be anxiety making and difficult for those who may already be lonely at times.

 


Why do some people find themselves depressed during the holiday time?

blur-1867322_1280For some, there is simply so much to do, relatives arriving, gifts to purchase, house to clean and not enough time. Stress can make the preparations harder. For others, it might be the opposite and anticipating the empty days over the holidays can be distressing.

xmas-660694_1280It is sometimes difficult to not compare our lives with others. It might look like people are having happy, amazing times, when we are not so full of joy. Television and social media bombard us with images showing families celebrating together with happy smiling faces. This can severely affect self-esteem and confidence – are we good enough?

We might look back on previous years when times were different, grieve and mull over difficult times in our lives. Having extra time on our hands provides opportunities for rumination and thinking about what is not going right in our lives.

Loneliness can be terribly hard at Christmas. Spending time alone over the few days when other people are apparently with family and friends, can feel very isolating. Even when surrounded by people, this feeling of loneliness can be much worse than normal if the connection with the people with you isn’t strong.

 


How can you help look after yourself?

winter-575101_1280Be aware of how you are feeling. Try to consider ways you can help yourself – exercise, eating well, drinking alcohol wisely rather than to excess. Don’t let go of your normal routine, continue to exercise or do extra if you don’t regularly exercise. Self-care is important. Try to avoid slumping in front of the television and get outside – even just for a walk.
If you do have people around you and can talk about how you are feeling, give it a go – people can sometimes surprise us by being supportive, empathising or just listening. Sometimes people push our buttons over the holiday -we might be spending much more time with people we wouldn’t normally or old family feuds resurface. Taking a step back might be the best option, rather than responding with anger.

reading-1246520_1280Find a good book to get engrossed in instead of getting involved in the disagreements.

 

 

Mindfulness

ice-846733_1280Whether you have tried mindfulness or meditation before or not, it might be a good time to start. Is there five or ten minutes where you could find some quiet time just for yourself? Focus on your breath and sit quietly for a few minutes. Don’t worry if you can hear noise or can’t concentrate for very long. A few minutes time out may help you manage your stress levels.

However you spend your time, look after yourself as best you can.


If you feel you need help or would like to talk to a counsellor about feelings of loneliness or anything else contact Insight Counselling at info@insightcounsellingbrighton.co.uk or use the Contact Page.