Lost for a word

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October. It’s infant and pregnancy loss awareness month as designated by Ronald Reagan in 1988.

Did you know?

What strikes me this week is how quietly it’s slipping by, we’re nearly in November. And not much has been said. Is it par for the course? Child loss is one of those things we don’t talk about – that women (and men) often “bear” in stoic silence and secret, private agony. One would think, given the referendum and outpouring of grief and concern for women and their babies that there would have been more said this month. Or maybe it’s because so much has already been said – maybe there is a collective compassion fatigue? Are we just exhausted from it? Because loss is exhausting, there’s no doubt about that. Or maybe there are just too many other things going on this month – it certainly has been busy in the media.

Is it that?

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Have you been hurt by an addicted parent?

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There’s a “syndrome” called ACOA – are you familiar with it? It means Adult Child of Alcoholic, or, as experience has taught me, Adult (or teen) Child of any Addict.

I came across it years ago, before I trained actually. Before I really understood what alcoholism was, or how common it is. I was lucky, I know.  Since then I’ve learned how the idea of ACOA as a collection of “habits” really helps to explain a lot of the thought patterns and behaviours that thousands of adults experience and struggle with every day – every hour maybe. And the people who love them struggle too.

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Is Suicide Selfish?

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Some people woke up this morning feeling dark, empty, hopeless. Maybe they didn’t sleep, again. They feel desperate, crazy even, from lack of sleep. Not being able to think straight, not even knowing that they’re not thinking straight. Some people today can see no value, no point in being alive. There is no joy, not even peace. A quiet mind would be enough. But how to get that…

 

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We’re all gone Mango Mad!

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I was talking my niece who lives in Australia last week. We whatsapp regularly which is great, but we have only small windows during which we’re both awake and alert enough to be super witty and entertain each other – or indeed support each other as the need arises. (We’re only 8 years apart for anyone who might be concerned I’m leaning on a child for my entertainment and emotional needs!)

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Exams? Hold onto your sanity with these 10 quick tips!

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Just hours to go guys! (Like you don’t know…)

I’ll keep this simple and not link to supporting evidence – but, as with my last on Leaving Cert tips, know that I have it if you’re interested:)

DURING EXAMS:

1: Read the question (practice HOW here – that will make sense when you open it!) – you’ll know you understand it if you can rephrase it.

2: Underline key words.

3: Draw out a plan for your answer – scribble any names, dates, formulae you’ll need immediately.

4: Think of the invigilator as a helper, not a disciplinarian. Their job is to assist you in doing your best.  

5: Think of the person assessing your paper as trying to help you get the best marks, not take them away from you. These people want you to do well. Help them to help you by being clear and simple.

6: Avoid the temptation to discuss the gory details of each paper afterwards, especially with the ones mentioned in that last piece.

7: Eat in between exams. Even if you’re nervous and feel a little – eating will help.

8: If you feel a panic coming on try this:

Squeeze every muscle in your body including your face all the way to your toes.
Hold tight for 3 seconds, and then flop eveything.
Place a hand on your tummy and take a deep breathe into it, past your chest, so your hand moves. Keep your shoulders low. Breathe until your breath has slowed to a speed in the gif below 
Then do the squeeze again, hold for three, and flop.

 

Box breathing

 

 

This will help calm you down so that you can carry on. Don’t worry about other people seeing you do it. Firstly it’s discreet, secondly, they won’t be looking at you, you are the last thing on classmates’ minds right now, and that’s normal!

9: Reread all your answers and make any changes or additions necessary.

10: Check that you have answered as many Qs as required in each section.

When you’re done, pat yourself on the back knowing that you’ve just done one of the most difficult things in your life and that you’ve done your best.

 

That’s good enough!! (Yes it is!)

Good luck to you all – I wish you the very best that life has to offer – and that’s loads!!

More of our girls die by suicide than on mainland Europe – why?

Teen girl
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“Are you f*&king serious?” she asks me, looking at me in that angry / scared / amused way that only teens can do. I like this girl, this young woman. She’s valiant, honest and has a righteous rage.

I am serious I tell her. Really serious.

Moments earlier she’d whipped out her phone to show me an article that she read on the way to my office. The grim headline read: Ireland has the highest rate in Europe for young girls taking their own lives

And I had asked her why she thought this was the case.

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