Not only have I been navigating life through a pandemic, I’m also navigating my way through loss and grief. Which for me has been difficult. On Easter Sunday, I lost my cat, my best friend. She was 21, so I’ve spent more of my life her, then I have without her. I guess in a way, I’m kind of glad for the pandemic, as I didn’t have to go to class, or placement, so I was spending a lot of time with my cat, watching her sleep, hugging her, just being with her. Giving her as much love as I could, as I always did since I first got her.
Adjusting to life without my cat has been a challenge. She was a great grounding tool for me. I used my four senses on her. I used her as my comfort. When I had a not so great day, or a tough session with my psychologist, and whenever I was unwell, my cat was always there for a hug, or a nap, and to always put a smile on my face. She was my comfort.
Being able to keep seeing my psychologist has been great. I’ve been able to keep seeing her at her room, although she’s said online appointments are available if needed. I’ve kept seeing her in person as I’ve liked that routine, and I feel safe in her room.
Not long after losing my cat, I moved out of home (again), and then my mum moved away. While that may not seem like much for others, it’s a big thing for us – only child and single parent – I’ve lost the person who holds my hand during blood tests. We still text and call each other, and we facetime. We will still get to see each other every few months (I’ll have to organise blood tests during the times when she is back near me!)
I’ve been practising a lot of self care, many of which I try to make a part of my daily routine. Reading, writing, walking to the beach, cross-stitching. Practicing DBT skills. I started another DBT course earlier in the year, and that has been so beneficial for me, considering everything that has happened this year. Going over the skills again, re-learning them, putting them into practice, being mindful of putting them into practice. Doing DBT Art Skills has also been helpful, and a lot of fun. Being able to learn skills in another way, using colour and shape, instead of voice and words. Putting more art into my self care strategies.
Keeping in contact with friends and family has been a big thing this year. I do my best to check in with at least one friend every day. Even if it’s just saying hello, or replying to a post on Instagram or FB. Social media is great at helping stay connected with friends and family, especially those who are further away. At the same time it makes me sad, just not knowing when we will be able to travel again, and see everyone who live interstate, or overseas.
A lot of my plans and hopes for this year have been put on hold. And while it’s been an anxious time, I’m able to keep moving forward. I’ve got supports in place, I can keep in contact with friends and family, I can keep going for walks, listen to music, smell the flowers, enjoy the sunshine.