Loss, Mental health and wellbeing

Five years later

I feel as though I’ve lost my voice online over the last couple of years. I imagine it is as a result of many things, but certainly the passing of time has changed the urgency and fervency to talk about my grief.

Five years on and life is of course so very different to those early weeks after Orla died. We are different people. The world has changed in ways that we could never have imagined. We have left our home in London where both our children were born and made a new life for ourselves on the South Coast. So much has shifted.

Three years back at work has also altered things for me online. I no longer have the time or resource to plough into blogging or fundraising, but I am also so much more concerned with what I put out into the world. Those early months were on pure ‘fuck it’ mode. I didn’t care what I wrote or who read it, I just needed to let out the excruciating pain and loneliness that was consuming me. I found a voice and a confidence that I hadn’t really had before, and I let rip. But now I stumble over almost everything I go to post and worry about where my voice now fits.

Because it seems that to be online now requires a strategy. A USP. A need to be a changemaker. I often wonder what it is like to come into the online world now post loss and how much pressure there must be to dosomething or be something. When often what we are looking for are peers – people like us who are having similar thoughts, similar feelings and navigating similar dilemmas. We want to see ourselves reflected in the eyes of others. We desperately want to feel less alone.

I have also been more reticent in what I share in order to protect my clients. Some of them come to me knowing about my blog and therefore my story of loss; some discover during the course of our work together and some seemingly never know. But I feel an intense duty of care to them regardless, to ensure that they are not burdened by the things they know of me. I am their safe space. And yet I know that some people value the knowledge of my collision with loss and grief. That my empathy and connection to their pain is so deeply authentic. It is something that simply cannot be faked.

So, I feel as though I have lost my voice. And with it, my sense of belonging. I sit somewhere between the baby loss world and the therapy world online. I came as a peer- and I am most certainly still one – but my identity as a psychologist has quietened me.

Even though, ironically, I probably have even more to share than ever before from both chairs.

I also wonder whether people still even read blogs?! Despite the slowing of life over the past 14 months, everyone seems to have less time than ever. Clicking off Instagram into another website can often feel like one step too far. We appear to want headlines only. Brief synopses. Bullet points. Inspirational quotes, An infographic of ‘how to…’.

But life is so much more complicated than this. So much more nuanced. 

So maybe I should just start writing again. Not for anyone in particular or for any purpose or goal. For no other reason but the release and the joy it brings. 

And a recent rummage through my old school reports reminded me that this joy has been around for quite some time.

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