Demands and resources

B and I had our second counselling session this week. So far we’re finding it useful, and it’s opening up communication between us a bit more.

Nothing we discuss in the counselling is funny, but I do find our conversations wryly amusing sometimes. As a blunt German and a no-nonsense Australian, we certainly don’t beat around the bush.

Our ‘homework’ last week was to each write a list of our demands and resources. Demands are thoughts, feelings, people and activities that are a drain on wellbeing, and resources help to alleviate the demands.

Counsellor: B, what’s the first ‘demand’ on your list?

B: Worry about my decline and eventual death.

Counsellor: Wow. That is certainly a lot to deal with.

We’re using the sessions to make practical plans rather than moan and wail about B having cancer, which wouldn’t be very productive. It’s an environment where we can think about and plan for the ‘safe’ near future, whilst still keeping the scary ‘unsafe’ distant future at bay.

We’ve tried to address the problem of B being idle during the day now that the radiotherapy has finished, by scheduling things for him to do each day. This seems to have worked well this week. Like me, he values order and routine.

The counselling is also helping me to see that although the cancer has given us a very unwelcome set of limitations and restrictions, it also provides us with the opportunity to reassess the way we live, and look at how we can best spend the remaining time we have together.

I’ve asked B whether he wants to sell up and move to Cornwall. Neither of us are really the rural type but if he had an urge to spend his days amongst sheep on the brink of civilisation, we’d find a way to make it work. Fortunately though, he doesn’t.

So it looks as if we are staying in London, but there may be some smaller changes afoot for 2013 and beyond.

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