Asking for help when you are struggling with serious illness or profound grief can take a huge amount of will and courage.
When Rose Kirkbride from Morecambe lost her beloved mum Carol to cancer, she found it difficult to process her feelings of sorrow and unsure of where to turn.
Rose found out about CancerCare, and the services we offer people struggling to cope with the death of a loved one, but just as she was about to make her first call to us, Rose herself was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
She decided to put off calling until she had worked through her diagnosis and subsequent surgery, which resulted in the successful removal of the tumour. It was then that Rose’s unresolved feelings of grief, coupled with her own experiences of cancer, came to the fore.
“It felt like I had a big ball of anxiety and emotions in my stomach which needed to be unravelled. I felt if I didn't do something about it, those feelings would get worse and worse. It took me several weeks to pluck up the courage to ring. I don't know why but I thought they might say my reasons for accessing the service weren't valid enough,” said Rose.
Rose was referred for therapy with professional counsellor Kathryn Fitch at our centre in Morecambe and she was initially nervous about what it would entail.
“I was anxious about the appointment because I didn't know how I'd feel talking to a stranger, but I knew I needed help to find a way out for all the thoughts and feelings I'd been storing up. When I sat down to explain my situation, it actually felt like a relief to be telling someone, and for them to confirm that what I'd experienced was emotionally hard.”
Rose’s sessions with Kathryn quickly began to have a hugely positive effect on her mental well-being.
“I really look forward to our sessions and afterwards I often feel a mixture of relief that I have been able to work through some of the feelings or difficult situations I have encountered. I often leave the session with thoughts about how I can move forward, or new ways to approach a situation.
“I also feel that it takes the stress off relationships with family and friends because I have somewhere to talk and bring all the difficult feelings which means I can choose what I talk about with family and friends and have more room to do nice things.”
Kathryn said: “Counselling could be seen as more exposing at a time when we are already feeling vulnerable or fragile. It's not surprising therefore that it takes time and courage to make the first move and to then feel uneasy about meeting their therapist. It's also not uncommon to compare ourselves to others (through our own imagination) and conclude that we are not feeling 'bad' enough by comparison to receive a service.
“Counselling is designed to ‘create room’ for all of the complicated feelings that we encounter at stressful times in our lives. It is a private and safe space to offload, explore and find some soothing along the way. It also helps take strain off existing relationships and makes more room for the nice stuff.”
Click here to find out more about our services for people experiencing bereavement