Holly’s story

Holly decided to have her photograph taken in the Sheffield Winter Garden as the place holds happy memories of times she spent with her Nan there.
Holly decided to have her photograph taken in the Sheffield Winter Garden as the place holds happy memories of times she spent with her Nan there.

Holly, 23, is a midwife from Sheffield. She was a carer for her Nan, who sadly passed away from cancer in August 2014.

“I feel every woman deserves a midwife who will go that extra mile and give their all to the job. I was new into my role and loved every part of it. I loved holding mothers’ hands, wiping their brow, rubbing their back, and just being with them during one of the most incredible experiences anybody could have. But, soon my grief became so overwhelming that I began to recognise that I was unable to give that extra support.

I kept going as best as I could, but after Christmas I found that I was having more time to myself to digest what had happened. Grief hit me in really acute attacks. I just couldn’t cope; I did not know what to do with myself at all.

I had an attack at work on a night shift which I managed to get through safely. It was then I realised that I could hardly look after myself, so I couldn’t give any more to the women in my care. My manager was great and gave me some time off work to get help, supporting me throughout. I felt like it was my duty to women to get myself back to normal. I love being a midwife, it’s my life. It was so difficult to get to the point where I had to say I needed help was so hard, but as soon as I said it I was lucky that I got the support I needed.

In a job like mine I need to be able to support all of the families and women I work with; but I was running on reserves myself. I had nothing left to give.

I heard about Cavendish through a friend that I’d confided in about what I was going through. She’d accessed your support herself and pointed me in the right direction. She had previously accessed the Centre’s support and highly recommended it. I had a look on the website and called the number, they were so friendly and professional, and from that first conversation I instantly felt at ease.

I came down to the Centre and initially spoke to Paula, an Assessor. She allowed me to talk without holding anything back or worrying about what I said. We’re close as a family, I think we all tried to hold it together for one another; speaking to Paula gave me the freedom to say what I needed to. Paula validated everything I was feeling, we spoke about how being a carer is a totally different journey to being a patient.

Paula allowed me to say the things I needed to say.

Through my assessment, we decided that hypnotherapy and relaxation would be the most suitable therapy for me. I felt guilty and negatively about the emotions and moods I was experiencing. My day to day life and mind-set was very hectic and unorganised. I couldn’t see forward, or make any plans. Through using hypnotherapy, Mick taught me how to take time out for myself, relax and unwind, and settle my mind.

We spoke about the fact that whilst my Nan may not be here physically anymore, my life going forward is influenced by her and what we went through together. We focussed my mind-set onto a positive outlook, using my happy memories to do so, instead of being locked in negative grief. Mick also taught me some self-hypnosis skills and simple breathing techniques to manage any future grief attacks.

Everything in my life was at a standstill, and I felt like I couldn’t relax and move forwards. The grief was so overwhelming that I couldn’t see straight. The relaxation sessions helped me to see to the future.

My experience at Cavendish has been above and beyond anything I could have expected. I’ve learned so many relaxation techniques that will see me through my life, not just for grief but for every situation I’m going to face. They took the guilt away from how I was feeling. Someday I am still sad, but I can recognise that and take some time for me. I can sit and read a book, watch a film or go for a walk – something for me – and not feel guilty. I can accept that’s just how I feel.

With the support that Cavendish have given me, I now feel like I can give some more support out myself. I’m going to come across loss, grief and bereavement. Now I’ve seen both sides to grief and I can use my experience to help others.

I now know that there’s no time limit on grief.

Thank you for providing me, and others, with a safe place and opportunity to grieve and begin to look forward. I’m so grateful that you were all there when I needed your help. You’ve given me the confidence to look forward and remember my Nan with more smiles than tears.

I love waking up every morning with a smile again.