To all who struggle with this pandemic or any chronic illness, this is for you, just know you are never alone, you are in the best of company…
It crumbles like sand
Overcome by a wave
Stealing your inspiration
Or your power to investigate.
Physical tasks must be trimmed
Right down to the quick,
Mental tasks tease,
Like a shadows in the sun
Now you see me…
now I’m gone!
So quickly it fades,
From functioning… To falter,
What felt like a good day or good hour,
consumed and usurped,
Leaving you literally stranded in the midst of stuff!
It dehydrates your thoughts,
It punctures and deflates,
She has you caught
Laughs and knows she’s fine,
while she has you there,
Then leaves you short
Refusing to repay the debt.
So does it defeat you
Steal from you and
Rob you blind?
Or can you befriend it?
Mould and adjust it?
Even a little at a time?
Well, those are questions you pose
And repose, numerous times each day,
As you show up to a
Battle that could go either way!
And is there an answer
To this piece of arithmetic?
Is there is vacination
That can do the trick?
Well the answer is as fickle
As the ego, when it’s in full play
And it defies all logic
On any given day!
Sadly it’s more complex,
As it’s catching in your breath
And the answers
at best, are really hit and miss!
Some discovered and uncovered
Are a chumley mix of tricks
Pause… and take a moment, to simply catch your breath…
And with dire warning…
Never, ever, use the words…
“Rest,” my Da would say…
“Hold your horses, sweet Marie”
Now I recall his kindness
and cherish his request
I dismount & recoup
Heeding his bequest!
Then like a flame rekindling,
Though; not as quickly as it faded
With a streak of determination
You saddle up again…
A dawn of inspiration seeps in slowly, like the morning sun
And brings with it a power, to investigate anon and
With a steely determination
So worn and battle weary,
You acknowledge your, position or condition
And face the day quite cheery!
And with the wisdom of any moment, being yet again undone
You accept what you can
And leave the rest…
To all who struggle with this pandemic or any chronic illness, this is for you, just know you are not alone, we are in the best of company!
In my previous post I wrote about the importance of self-care, you might like to read it 4.Self-care x 10! When you or your children are struggling to cope with bullying it is very important to continue to practice self-care during and after the event. Being bullied can cause strong feelings of loneliness which come from the isolation of bullying. Bullying thrives on isolation and fear. Lack of access to information, lack of support and worse still lack of knowing which way to turn or who to ask for help all serve to enhance the isolation and loneliness you feel!
The loneliness was something I found hardest to cope with as I struggled to find answers and effective support.
But there is help out there. Don’t allow yourself to be rendered voiceless.
I want YOU to know that I am here for YOU and YOU are not alone…reach out, share your concerns and talk about the bullying you or your child are experiencing.
What has been your experience of the loneliness of bullying? How would you describe the loneliness of bullying? How did you overcome it?
In my previous post on bullying I shared some listening tips I found helpful Read it here
Another important aspect of listening, when bullying is an issue for you or your children, is listening to what your own body is telling you.
When you are stressed you might notice that you behave in ways that are out of character. Examples could include cancelling a day out with a friend, missing time at work or increasing your consumption of food or drink, as a source of comfort. You might realise you feel anxious and ready to snap at those around you. If this sounds very familiar then self-care is the answer.
There is a well known saying… “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” No matter how tough we think we are, any on-going, distressing situation can wear down our resilience and make us want to run as far away as possible from the upset. I’ve been there, many times, when I felt helpless to improve the situation for both our children. I felt totally stressed and unable to concentrate on other aspects of my life.
Thankfully I realised the importance of self-care. I realised I could not be a source of support to others if I did not look after my own health and welfare first.
To be your best self and function at peak capability, particularly at a time of crisis, YOU need to make time and space for YOU.
I can’t emphasise enough, the importance of that last sentence! Self-care might initially involve some professional counselling support for you or your child. Finding a Counsellor or Psychologist experienced in the area of bullying, and building a positive relationship based on trust, will be the corner-stone to making progress.
Another important part of self-care is finding ways to forget your worries. Part of the reason why I developed this blog and called it “Create Space” was to “create” some “space” for me, to zone out from my concerns, and focus instead on my interests and the positives in my life. This creative space helped me recharge. I forgot my worries and built my resilience!
Try to find what lights your fire, whether it is joining a yoga class or having coffee with a friend. Try a walk in the fresh air if you can’t think of anything that would brighted your day. Self-care will nurture your inner child, lift your spirit, help you put things into perspective and clear your head to enable you consider new solutions.
Remember to practice Self-care! Better still practice “Self-care, times 10!”
I hope you found this helpful or maybe you know someone who might find it helpful. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What happens when you neglect self-care? What’s the last thing you did for fun? How does having “me” time make you feel and why would you recommend it?
In my previous post…Bullying & Beyond…2.Really Listen!…I wrote about the importance of Listening. When somebody, be it a child or an adult, is distressed as a result of bullying, just having somebody who is willing to listen to them can make a huge difference to how they feel. Your first reaction may be to rush in and immediately solve everything but instead be patient and listen.
Here are some simple tips I found helpful,
1.Acknowledge your child’s emotional state -say that you can see how upset, angry etc., they are.
2.Remove or resist any distractions.
3.Make sure you can clearly hear what your child is saying.
4. Focus your attention and concentrate.
5. Be patient, listen to the whole story.
6. Make encouraging, agreeable sounds to show you are paying attention…’mmm,’ ‘I see,’ ‘oh right’.
7. Avoid making judgements – take time to consider before offering solutions.
8. Ask questions to clarify.
9. Keep an open mind.
10. Summarise or sum up what you heard, ‘so the main problem was’ or ‘if I understand properly you feel…’ to let them know you understand exactly.
Remember to pay attention to their tone of voice and observe their body language, which can give you insights or hidden messages which they may not be able to voice.
If you agree on any particular course of action or efforts to address the issue, be sure and follow through. Listening needs to be followed up with action, even if it’s only arranging follow-up conversations. If you fail to follow-through, your child may get the impression that what they have confided in you, just goes in one ear and out the other.
For any victim of bullying, building and maintaining trust is so important and this can’t happen unless you stick to your word.
I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to share any experience you have had which would have benefitted from active and effective listening.
Alternatively please share some effective approaches you have used. I would love to learn what worked for you.
In this post I’d like to focus on the importance of listening…
2. REALLY LISTEN!
Children come home from school and everyday we ask them the same questions… How was your day? What did you do? Tell me something you learned. Did you have fun? Often it’s the case that we get the same answers. We fall into a habit… habitual behaviour, repeating what we always do and as a result we often miss out on subtle signs of bullying.
If you suspect your child is being bullied, I can’t stress enough, how important it is to REALLY LISTEN!
When your children arrive home or you collect them from school, put down your phone. Pause from your cleaning or cooking. Turn off the TV and listen to what your children are saying. Also try to hear what they might not be saying. They may not have the words to say it or they might be too frightened to talk about what is happening but their body language or a change in their behaviour might reveal a whole lot more.
Some examples could include;
Your child might become argumentative, almost trying to pick a fight with you or their siblings.
They might become withdrawn and sullen or go silent.
They might damage some of their belongings or some household items.
They might restrict their food.
They might disengage from their favourite hobbies or interests.
They might also have trouble sleeping. And as a result become chronically sleep deprived, develop insomnia which affects their body clock, sleeping during the day, unable to sleep at night. All this affects behavior, mood and ability to function.
These changes will all be out of character.
Test yourself…can you fully recall their last conversation with you? If not, ask yourself why not? Did you pay full attention or were you thinking of other things you needed to do? Nothing is as important as being fully present with your child and really listening. Practice being fully present and challenge yourself to recall your last communication with your child.
I hope you find this helpful and would love to hear from you.
Have you or your children experienced bullying? How did it impact you or your child? Did it cause a change in behaviour? Did really listening improve your situation?
With a new goal in mind, I’ve had to reluctantly decide to refrain from writing new blog posts, for the immediate future. To keep my blog active I am instead going to re-run my existing posts.
I’ve had to come to this decision so I can dedicate time to my writing project.
I am in the process of compiling my Bullying & Beyond posts into a book. To give adequate time to this project I have to be proactive in managing my health (due to the challenges of living with CFS/Fibromyalgia, as anyone living with a chronic illness will understand).
I’ve really appreciated your constant company while I shared my Bullying & Beyond posts.
Your friendship, encouraging comments and shared experiences have played a huge role in helping me overcome the pain of supporting our children through school bullying and has enabled me to reclaim my voice and write about our experience. I am so grateful to all of you for this gift!
If you would like to share any information about supports available in your area or if you would like to research any bullying prevention and intervention resources that are relevant to where you live I would be delighted to hear from you and look forward to your participation.
I hope you will continue to keep me company and continue to share your thoughts with me. I will of course reply to any comments received!
Children’s mental, emotional and psychological health damaged not only in the short-term but often into the long-term.
Lives are lost, too often, to bullying. Children unable to cope with the torture inflicted on them by bullies sadly see no way out, other than to take their lives.
I might be writing this from Ireland and this story may refer to Yarraka Bayles, a boy on the other side of the world but the location is irrelevant… bullying is bullying and this is the reality for another child and another family. It is a horrific, upsetting reality.
This bullying is focused on dwarfism. But if it wasn’t about dwarfism it would be about anything else the bully decided they didn’t like about their victim such as their weight or even their accent. Take a few moments to educate yourself and then take a few moments to educate your children… because this is a reality that is totally avoidable and it is a reality no child or parents deserve!
The turning point came, the day I learned to accept our son John’s inability to attend school or to live a functioning life. His life had become dysfunctional because of school bullying. I shared some of the backstory in Bullying & Beyond… Painting the pain, part three.
Learning to accept his dysfunction as a result of bullying, was a slow process but it was the catalyst for change which allowed him to break free of his dysfunction and move forward with his life. I shared that in Bullying & Beyond… “Acceptance”, Love & Time.
Our daughter Emma also suffered at the hands of bullies and sadly we are, to this day, still dealing with the aftermath.
It has been a struggle to stay strong and be resilient. It was often one step forward and two steps back.
But yesterday I remembered the power of acceptance and I let go resistance. I see yesterday as two steps forward and one step back and that is progress, it is a sign of change to come…
We got half way there when Emma could no longer contain her anxiety.
Yesterday was our second attempt, the first attempt we achieved about a third of the journey so yesterday there was progress.
But the biggest progress for me was remembering my ‘acceptance‘ of John’s dysfunction, thanks to the reminder of my Psychologist to let go ‘resistance,’
I was able to make peace with this event and love Emma for herself. She did her best. We did our best. We sat in our car, in a service station, having a coffee while Emma took a short walk and some air. We made peace with the situation. We were truly grateful and expressed our gratitude for that time, that moment, having coffee, having family time, living life to the best we can.
We turned for home with no regrets or upset or shattered expectations but with happy hearts and later last night, Emma announced that she wants to try again next Saturday!
This exhibition means a lot to Emma. She adores Doris Day and that entire era. She is training her dog, named ‘Doris’ after Doris Day, to be the first recognised Psychiatric Assistance Dog in Ireland. She is pushing politicians to recognise this existing EU law, in Ireland. It is a slow process. I would love you to give her some support as she shares her IG account at dorismakesmyday.
If you are relatively new here, thank you for reading. Thank you to my regular readers for your comforting presence as we journey and learn life lessons together. Your company makes all the difference.