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The Box and the Ball

During my training on compassion fatigue and related issues we covered grief and I wanted to share this great analogy called The Box and the Ball for anyone who may just need to hear it today.

In the beginning, the ball which represents grief takes up most of the box, there is no place for it to go without it hitting the red button, which represents pain. It hits the button almost constantly and you can’t control it.

Over time, the ball gets smaller but still, every now and again, it hits the red button and although it happens less frequently the pain can be just the same.

For most people, the ball never really goes away...It might hit less and less and you have more time to recover between hits, unlike when the ball was still giant.(Lauren Herschel)

I think as all of us are faced with the suffering and passing of animals daily there is an unsaid, often self-imposed expectation, to toughen up and get on and although that is indeed necessary to get the job done…allowing time and space to process these huge emotional hurdles is essential.

If suppressing sadness worked (for anyone, ever!) then it would be top of the list of advice when dealing with trauma.

Take care of yourselves, remember to put your oxygen masks on first.


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