I suspect that you will all have seen, read or heard about the interview that Prince Harry gave to The Daily Telegraph earlier this year about his failure, for more than 20 years, to adequately deal with the grief that he felt for the loss of his mother, the late Princess Diana.
In that interview, he describes how he only began to address his grief at the age of 28, some 16 years after his mother’s death, and how he felt close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions.
Having read the coverage, it is clear that the Prince has battled his demons for many years, but finally appears to be coming through it, although it’s fair to say the he will probably never fully get over it.
I cannot even begin to understand the courage that it must have taken for someone who lives their life in a goldfish bowl, as Harry does, and of course as his mother did before him, to speak out in the way he has done and to let his raw emotions come out and enter the public domain.
But what is, I believe, even more courageous is the reason behind his decision to speak out; and that is to try and do good and to help others in a similar plight. Along with his brother and sister in law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, he has publicly been at the forefront of raising awareness of mental health issues through the charity Heads Together.
All of this got me thinking about how the vast majority of us live our lives and how we deal with trauma, stress, grief or other negative emotions that we inevitably all encounter throughout our lives.
And the answer to that is that quite simply I don’t believe that we do deal with it at all well.
How often do you really talk to your partner, and how often do you really tell them how you feel?
Do you suppress your emotions because you see it as a sign of weakness or because you’re embarrassed to talk about a particular subject? Or do you just not talk about things because you feel that there is nothing that can be done to help you?
So what don’t we talk about?
Well, as already mentioned above, the grief from the loss of a loved one, no matter when it occurs in life, can and is difficult for many people to deal with.
There is often no one to turn to, especially if you are left as the surviving spouse or partner, and feelings of loneliness and isolation can quickly start to manifest themselves. If you have recently lost someone and feel this way then bereavement counselling may well be for you: Cruse Bereavement Care are one of the leading charities operating in the UK (excluding Scotland).
Relationships are another big taboo for many people when it comes to talking. But the fact is that your spouse or partner is not a mind reader. They can’t know what you are thinking, but they can certainly tell by your mood and general bearing how you are feeling.
Talking to your partner
By talking, you can deal with problems as they arise and importantly deal with them together. If you feel unable to talk to your partner or spouse about your relationship then it may be that you need to seek external help through counselling.
One of the biggest sources of help is the national charity Relate who help over a million people each year.
Money is another big taboo subject for many people, especially later in life and another subject that many people feel uncomfortable in talking about. However, if you have money worries then they most certainly are not going to go away and in many cases doing nothing or trying to hide them is never going to work.
The problems are often compounded in older people because your ability to earn money declines with age, especially once you have passed retirement age. Money problems can also seriously affect your health and your relationship, so if you fall into this category then again seek help , Citizens Advice should be your first port of call.
And then of course there’s our health, and how many of us don’t like to make a fuss or share our concerns or symptoms with those close to us. However, if you have health issues, especially as you get older, it is important to deal with them and deal with them quickly.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore symptoms because if you do you will almost certainly only succeed in making things worse. Again if you don’t feel comfortable in talking to your loved ones about this subject then go to your GP, they are there to help.
The above are only a few of the things that we can find it difficult to talk about; and there are many more. But as Prince Harry has proven talking really can help you deal with problems, and let’s face it, no matter who you are, we all have them!
Cruse Bereavement Care
or 0808 808 1677.
or 0300 100 1234
or call 03444 111 444 (England),
03444 77 20 20 (Wales),
03454 04 05 06 (Scotland),
0300 123 3233 (Northern Ireland).