INTERVIEW - RACHEL'S STORY

April 17, 2018

We regularly interview people who have experienced loss or burnout. Everyone experiences and responds to hardships in different ways, there is no right way or wrong way to grieve or handle stress. We share these stories in hopes that their experiences will support you in your journey – which ever side you are on – working through the process or supporting a loved one. If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out via our home page.

 

Name:

Rachel Nguyen

 

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I live in London with my friends and my cat Cosmo.

 

Who in your life has passed away? When did this happen?

My father, an abusive alcoholic, took my mother’s life in October 2006, when I was sixteen years old. I had just started my first year of my A levels.

 

In 3-5 words, describe your life during this time.

It felt like I too had died and was on autopilot in a body in a world where everything

continued.

 

What helped guide you through the grieving process?

It was a combination of having personal therapy as well as training to be a psychotherapist that has helped me to recover.

 

What advice would you provide others dealing with loss?

> Understand that grief is not a linear process and that grief is not against you, but rather for you. It is an invitation to honor the love for that person and feel the loss. Make space for it.

> Reach out. You are not alone. Go to workshops, courses that will show you that what is personal is universal.

> Befriend the theme of death and become curious about the only certainty we have in our lives with the inevitable.

> Be creative and open about how you express grief, whether that is dancing in a candle lit/dim room, or grizzly bear yelling in the woods! Or watching a movie to help you connect with your pain.

> Invest in your self-care, that includes choosing friendships/relationships that are empathetic and non-judgmental. Develop and practice self-compassion, be gentle with yourself.

 

What advice would you provide those who want to comfort those dealing with loss?

> Become curious about your own beliefs about expressing difficult emotions likes pain and anger. Notice any reaction to ‘make things better’ or ‘cheer them up’.

> Practice being an active and empathic listener, most often people don’t need solutions or ideas of escaping their pain. Hold space, which is to listen with care.

> It’s okay to not know what to say, simply saying “I am here” Makes a world of difference for those who are grieving, it allows them to just be and feel accepted for where they are.

 

In honor of Mother’s Day, what is the best advice your mom ever gave you?

The best advice my mom ever gave me, wasn't so much advice, but rather something I picked up and has become a part of me. And that is developing intuition when it comes to cooking, my partner calls me a kitchen rebel! Intuition has also become a core intelligence I have developed in all other areas of my life, and one that makes me feel incredibly connected.

 

 

 

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