Thursday, 19 May 2011

The agony of Missing

Having something taken from your possession is a horrible feeling.  The powerlessness and lack of control that it evokes are truly devastating.  I experienced this recently when I was burgled, and my bicycle stolen from my hallway.  I loved that bike.  I had only had it a few months and never thought to lock it whilst it was hanging on its rack in the hall. 

Having lost a bike, and experienced the volcano of emotions in the wake of the realisation that I may never see it again, I am still a long way off being able to truly appreciate what it is that the friends and families who are left behind when someone disappears go through.

I have recently spent quite a bit of time considering these experiences, and the implications of them for those who lose someone they care about.  My loss whilst sad, and confusing is incomparable to the existential dilemma faced by anyone who has experienced the issue of missing.  Having no clue where their loved one is, or what might have happened to them is mind-boggling, and inspires a wide range of responses which are not only highly individual, but variable over time reflecting circumstance.

Every year in the UK alone over 200,000 are reported missing.  Whilst most are resolved relatively quickly, other disappearances continue for prolonged periods, leaving family members to cope with the pain of not knowing where their loved one is or what has happened to them.

Missing People is due to Pilot a novel therapeutic intervention for which I am the Clinical Lead.  I have been thinking a lot about the relevance and utility of mindfulness based approaches for this unique population, in order to promote a better quality of life for those living 'in limbo'. 

It seems to me that those living with so many unknowns might well find comfort in the tools mindfulness offers while benefitting from meeting together in a group setting, to share experience, strength and hope. 

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