We Don’t Talk About Mental Health At The End Of Life, But We Should

Maintaining good mental health throughout life can be a challenge, but it can be even more difficult for people who are coming to the end of their lives. It isn’t something that we like to think about, but it is something that we must all eventually face unless some magical potion comes along that extends our existence indefinitely. 

Knowing how to approach the end of life, however, is something that we should all be doing as soon as possible. We need to accept it as a part of life. But how, precisely, do we go about that? How do you look after your mental health (or that of a person you know) if time is limited? 

Indulge In Painting

For years, therapists have espoused the virtues of painting to deal with all manner of chronic mental health problems – even for those who don’t paint. It turns out that creativity and artistry switches on positive circuits in our brains, helping people process the painful emotions they’re going through. It also provides a method to express yourself when times are hard. You can paint how you feel and hand your feelings over to the canvas itself instead of bottling them up inside. 

The kind of artwork people can create with their emotions driving them forwards is incredible. Those reaching the end of their lives can find a creative spark they didn’t know that they had. 

Try Playing An Instrument

A similar principle applies to learning to play an instrument. Trying something new (and beautiful) is a life-affirming experience. It can help you experience enjoyment, even when times are challenging. 

Think About Your Legacy

Thinking about your legacy is one of the positive aspects of reaching the end of your life. You now have a chance to do things that will let people remember you in the way you’d like them to. 

For some, it means sorting out the will and distributing assets. For others, it involves completing a project you always promised yourself that you would. Whatever it is, it can help to give you a sense of continuity, no matter what happens in the coming weeks and months. 

It can also help to think about your funeral arrangements. You might want a particular kind of send-off. If so, now is the time to plan for it. There are plenty of options to consider, from caskets made from wood to the music you want to play at the service. Creating an event for when you’re gone is a great way to round out your life and leave your mark on the world. 

Keep A Journal

Dealing with emotions at the end of life can be a challenge. It is essential, therefore, that people keep a journal to track their thoughts and feelings. 

 

Journalling is helpful, especially if you work with a therapist. Logging your inner thoughts can help you deal with the challenges of facing the end of life and keep you in good spirits. It also provides you with an outlet so that you don’t feel like you’re continually burdening other people with your feelings.

Talk To People About How You Feel

A lot of people reaching the end of their lives feel positive about it. They reflect on their existence, feel thankful for the experiences that they’ve had and focus on the needs of the next generation. Others, however, can feel panicked or grief-stricken. 

It is essential to talk to people about how you feel. Having somebody there by your side through the awkward moments can make a massive difference in your outlook. Sometimes, you can experience a complete reversal in your emotions and gain a new and positive perspective. 

If you’re struggling, you may also want to consider speaking with a professional. Many therapists focus on issues surrounding the end-of-life and help to prevent terminally ill people from enduring excessive grief. You can learn a variety of coping strategies that help to change your outlook on your circumstances. Time is limited, but that doesn’t mean you should waste it. Quite the reverse, actually!

Mental health is a concern for people throughout their lives, but particularly towards the end of them. For the vast majority of our time on planet Earth, we don’t think about our mortality. Only occasionally, when we are sick or injured, does it even arise in our thoughts. Being given a bad diagnosis by doctors, however, fundamentally changes the game and makes us realise how fragile we are. In times like these, people need support and guidance. 

 

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