This week’s guest is Donna Cameron.

As a result of Covid 19, it’s undeniable that over the past couple of years, almost all of us have been impacted in some way by the pandemic and have experienced a form of grief or loss. This week, we welcome back to the show, Donna Cameron who is a qualified psychologist with over 20 years of experience in private practice and in this episode Donna discusses both these very topics. Donna shares with us how loss has been felt globally and some continue to grieve the loss of their jobs, their businesses or their incomes, while others, including children, have been affected by the loss of social connection with their friends, and family during those times of isolation. Sadly and so tragically many have experienced the loss of a loved one. Irrespective of the loss, everyone’s journey and experiences throughout this time have been different, and for many, they are unsure of how to overcome grief and adversity. Donna helps us understand what grief is, as well as how it impacts us physically and emotionally and she also breaks down the five stages of the grieving process. Donna offers advice on coping mechanisms that will allow us to process grief in a more positive manner and shares with us what to say to someone who is in the midst of the grief, without minimising their emotions. This is such an extremely timely episode as we return to day-to-day life in our new normal. There are there so many brilliant pieces of advice offered by Donna. So whether you or someone you know is grieving or dealing with loss, this is a not to be missed interview with Donna Cameron.

In this episode
05:42 – Loss and Grief experience
11:31 – Different types of Grief and Loss
14:35 – What is Grief?
16:25 – Physical and Emotional Symptoms of Grief
17:38 – Heartbreak
20:17 – Redirecting Anger to Something else
24:57 – Acceptance
28:10 – Grieving Death vs Grieving through breakup
30:57 – Best Way to Heal
36:16 – Routines and Patterns
40:33 – Right and Worst things to say to someone grieving
45:00 – Grieving: Men vs Women
50:44 – Explaining Loss and Death to children
56:27 – The best piece of advice for a person dealing with their own grief


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith is excited to announce the release of her new book “Singing Contemporary Commercial Music Styles: A Pedagogical Framework” published by Compton Publications UK. Marisa offers this book as a starting point and as CCM markets continue to evolve, she encourages that we, as a voice community, continue to evolve, debate and communally add to this framework.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

Hi it’s Marisa Lee here, and I’m so excited to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you. In these episodes, our brilliant lineup of guests will include health care practitioners, voice educators, and other professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialized fields to empower you to live your best life. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. It’s time now to share your gift with others develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, it’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for A Voice and Beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:16

As a result of COVID-19, it’s undeniable that over the past couple of years, almost all of us have been impacted in some way by the pandemic and have experienced a form of grief or loss. This week, we welcome back to the show, Donna Cameron, who is a qualified psychologist with over 20 years experience in private practice. And in this week’s episode, I asked Donna to discuss these very topics. Donna shares with us how this loss has been felt globally and some continue to grieve the loss of their jobs, their businesses, or their incomes, while others, including children have been affected by the loss of social connection with their friends and families during those times of isolation, or sadly. And so tragically, many have experienced the loss of a loved one. Irrespective of the kind of loss. Everyone’s journey and experiences throughout this time has been different. And for many, they’re unsure of how to overcome grief and adversity. Donna helps us to understand what grief truly is, as well as how it impacts us physically and emotionally. And she also breaks down the five stages of the grieving process. Donner offers advice on coping mechanisms and helps us with what to say and how to assist someone who is in the midst of their grief without minimizing their emotions. This is such an extremely timely episode for all of us as we begin to return to day to day life in our new normal. So whether you or someone you know is grieving or dealing with loss right now. This is a not to be missed interview with Donna Cameron. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:33

Welcome to the show, Donna Cameron. I missed you Donna. 

Donna Cameron  03:40

Okay, I’m here, I’m here. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:41

I know right? And it’s kind of like good and bad that I haven’t seen you because you are a working and qualified psychologist and have been for 20 years. So the fact that I haven’t seen you for a while is probably–

Donna Cameron  03:59

It’s funny because I’m only 21 still. So I mean, I’m probably going to help to increase my age eventually to the kids aren’t I?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:05

I went through that that’s a whole story. 

Donna Cameron  04:09

That’s another podcast.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:10

That’s another podcast.

Donna Cameron  04:12

But when the kids start saying, Hold on a sec, if our sisters 19 And you’re still only 21… Hmmmm. Damn those teachers for teaching you maths.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:25

Well, do you want say exactly what happened to me? My daughter was turning 21 when Ashley who you know my youngest, said to me, Mum, how does that work out if you’re 21? How can Jessie be 21 too and I said, Oh no, I’m actually turning 22 next birthday. And she believed it laughs. Anyway, we’re here today to talk about something a little bit more serious, but in the hope that it will help other people. So we I’m going to talk about grief and loss. And how serendipitous is this, we are both wearing black, which I don’t know, I have no plans. And I never wear black on a podcast. But anyway, we’re both the black. So we’re looking very mournful. But Johnny, you moved to Melbourne about a year or so ago, and Melbourne experienced some of the biggest lockdown of any city in the world. So how was that experience for you? Like, did you go through any loss or grief during that time yourself?

Donna Cameron  05:42

Yeah, no 100%. And the weird thing, I guess, for us was coming from Queensland, and in let’s do the years because it ended up being longer than we all hoped. So 2020, being in Queensland, I was working with a lot of people in Melbourne still, and building because we knew we’re on the move. So I was down here, kind of via this forum, probably, you know, 3040 hours a week. And you really got the sense of, I kind of get this, like I understand they’re going through the grief and loss system, you’re kind of trying to explain it to them, but you sort of you know, you can see it, but you sort of just didn’t really get it. And then when we got here in 2021, and thinking everything will be okay this year, and it’ll happen again. And we got to kind of experience for the second time around. I was really, really shocked. So not a lot in my personal life changed. I still went to the office every day and offered people if they needed to come to me that they could still come to me even though most of it was over zoom. You know, I’m I’m the worker in my household. So usually it is my husband that stays at home with the kids. So he was doing the normal kid stuff that he would do. And I’d get home at the same time we’d have dinner, you know, I’m pretty boring during the week we’d be in bed watching some Netflix, it’s still eight o’clock, asleep, get up all that was pretty normal, got the exercise equipment at home was still doing spin class. Everything was was kind of normal. But a few months into it. I actually escaped up there, up to Queensland and before one of ours kicked in for a weekend. And I was scared I was going to miss my sister’s wedding. And I rang my husband. And I said, Do you know what? I was up for the head. It’s a really important part. And I said, I’m really scared. I’m going to miss the wedding. It’s only six weeks away, I think I need to stay. And he had a complete meltdown. And I just went, what? And he said you got to come home. I’m not coping. And I went but we’re not actually married couple we go away all the time. I work away a lot. Like I said, he normally deals with the kids. And I just could not get my head around it. We were just having fights every night on the phone because I’m saying but I need this and he’s going I don’t know what it is. But I need your home. So I came home, you guys went into lockdown. So then the wedding was canceled. So that was all and from that point on it just got worse and worse down here. And the grief and losses that kicked in then for us were the simple things it was not being able to go and see you know a family member or catch up with friends. It the 5k rule just meshed with every Victorians had the curfew. Like I said, I’m not out at 10 o’clock on awake not. But the fact that you were told you couldn’t. It just took you to this whole other level. Then you would get the Facebook posts of my family up there, you know, out for a beautiful lunch or people on holidays. And in 2020 I didn’t get it. I was posting those photos and in 2021 like I wanted to kill them all. Like, I’m surprised my iPhone lasted you just wanted to throw it in that rage. So at the end of it, I really thought Wow, I did not expect you know, I talked to everyone about that you will have a lot of different grief and losses is because you’ll miss a lot of things in life. And I can justify all of those. But I didn’t understand that it would just even be the simplest things of your daily routine even if you kept it pretty simple logic just smashed every logged out here.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  09:04

I know and I because I have family in Melbourne. In fact all my family’s in Melbourne. How long was that last lockdown for because it was a long time and it was about the fourth one in Melbourne?

Donna Cameron  09:18

Yeah, so basically so we’re in lockdown this time. Now all my Facebook memories are same day three. We’ve had a couple of little ones before this one kicked in. We came out of this one for maybe two weeks. And then we went back in. I’m trying to think I think the total count day count. I wrote a lot of stuff about this. I think we went over like 300 or 300 days or something in locked down like as a total it was a huge number correct me if I’m wrong with that number. I wrote it down a lot of times, but yes, it was a huge number. And that last one then it was almost worse the last one because we kind of did two weeks in two weeks out 10 days in one week out and then we’re in Have till November or December. And at that same time for the last one New South Wales was just hitting their, their kind of first one again. And it was kind of at that point all the attention was on the next state who was kind of going through it. And it was almost like, oh, yeah, that’s, remember those Victorians. I know they’re used to it by now.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:18

I know my family never got used to it. And I think about my poor old mom who’s spent, you know, the last couple of years of her life in lockdown. And that’s the reason why I’ve asked you to be on the show is, I lost my mum last month. And it made me realize that I’m not the only one, you know, okay, my grief is because of the death of someone that’s close to me. But so many people, over the past couple of years, have experienced some kind of loss, and are grieving or have grieved. It could be the loss of their income, it could be the loss of a relationship, it could be the loss of their civil liberties, or the loss of loved ones who have passed through COVID. And then we had the floods here in Australia, we’ve had the fires, and now there’s a war in Ukraine. I mean, the world feels like it’s going mad. And it just made me realize, hey, you’re not the only one. And everyone is going through something of their own. So in your practice, have you seen a different type of grief or loss coming through over the past couple of years? And what is that? 

Donna Cameron  11:41

When we first went into this, we had a lot of media contact, anyone who was working in the media as a psychic was obviously called property. And all the topics were COVID. And the conversation back then was saying, aren’t you worried about your anxious people, you’re depressed people like, Oh, my God, how are they going to cope? And I said to them back then I’m not worried about those people. They’ve got their coping strategies, I’m actually worried about the normal people who have never seen a site before. And I actually said the example was, and I’m worried about them, because they’re about to experience a lot of grief and loss, and they’re not going to be able to pin pocket. And the difficulty is going to be that they can’t describe it. So obviously, you know, if somebody couldn’t get to a family member, you know, me personally, I personally experienced this as well, we couldn’t get to a family member in another state when they were passing. That’s kind of understandable, right? So when we’re losing our minds and rocking in the corner and angry, everybody’s looking at us and going, Well, that makes sense for you. So you get that attention. And people let you go through your grief and loss process for those moments. But when I’ve missed a holiday, or when I’ve missed, I do the r&b live concerts with my sisters every year. And you know, I’ve missed that or miss a nail appointment. I always routine.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:57

And the lashes? 

Donna Cameron  12:58

And the lashes. Yeah, they don’t make sense to people. So how do I go and talk to one of my friends or family members who might have lost their job or couldn’t get to see family? And say to them, I’m really struggling, I’m feeling really sad, or why donor? Or because I haven’t got to go to those concerts that I have planned this year, you know, so bad is all of that go? And the problem with our emotional system, or the emotional hub, or the stress cup that I kind of refer to it, yes, is it does not care about the detail. So when we activate grief and loss, we activate an emotion, it doesn’t jump up to our head to say, hey, Donna, what are you grieving about? are you grieving about r&b Fridays, or your nails or, you know, not seeing a family member? It doesn’t care. It just activates it. And if we don’t go through at least validating that emotion and doing some form of a release of it, it stays there. And what happens with anything in our system, if it just piles in and stays there comes out in other ways. Yeah. And it makes us unhealthy in the interim. So a lot of the clients and a lot of the ones that shifted was exactly what I predicted, I started getting the non anxious non depressed people, people who never would have thought the baby sitting on the couch of a psychologist, you know, 25 year old guys who can’t get themselves to the pub to have a drink anymore, because they just cry all the time. Or business people who have actually done the best thing COVID financially, but they just have no joy in life, and they can’t get that spark back. They’re the people who are coming through and they just have no idea and they just need to understand it to be able to process it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:35

So how would you then describe grief? Like, what is grief? Because you can feel sad, but at what point does it become grief? Is there a difference?

Donna Cameron  14:47

So, I think we’ve got a look at the spectrum of emotions and a lot of the times I kind of look at it like a spectrum and we’ve got the happy enjoying excitement and they’re all just different levels really happy. Because we want to be simple here right so we break it into good and bad. And then on the other end, we’ve got these ones that we classify as bad emotions. And they’re our anger and our, our sadness and our depression and all of those sorts of feelings. Usually, the best way to kind of describe it is your grief and loss is you king, right? So it’s, it’s number one, it’s the worst emotion that you will actually, when we’re saying, and remember, I don’t believe emotions are bad, but I’m going to use language that we all use. Now, yes, it’s the worst emotion that you will ever feel, it hurts the most. So it’s the king emotion on that spectrum. So as humans, we will do anything we can to avoid ever experiencing that emotion. When somebody dies, we kind of have to go through it. There’s still a lot of blocking and all of those little things that we can try and do. But you can’t pretend, you know, we can’t pretend that family member is still there, because they’re not. So our body kind of gets pushed through it. And we have to go through the stages eventually, when there’s something else that’s like a breakout, or a job thing or a money thing. We can block it because we can pretend it hasn’t happened. We can avoid feeling that emotion. And we can try and minimize that emotion. Look, other people have got it worse. That’s okay. Look, I wanted to change jobs anyway, like all of that sort of stuff? Yes. Can we just do anything we can to kind of block it if we can, because it’s the worst, it hurts the most.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:25

So you use the word hurt. Now, I know that when my mum passed away, I actually felt physical pain to one I can’t explain. But there was a physicality to that pain. So what are the usual symptoms, both physical and emotional, that people will experience when they’re grieving?

Donna Cameron  16:49

Yeah, so, I think that physical pain also, especially when it’s a death, and it’s the death of somebody, you know, that’s part of you, being part of your life energetically. I think there’s a lot that happens when you lose, especially a family member. And a lot of the times even those close friendships, you know, people we call us, our family. Yeah, it’s almost like, you know, so many stories, which I love all those stories where people can be in different locations, different places, and they can feel when that goes, and they just drop, and they can just feel that intense pain, I feel that intense pain is very much that shock, the whole body just goes into that shock and behold it really tightly as well. And The heart–

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:27

Even though we know what’s going to happen, even though we know that, and it’s going to be happening very soon, we still experienced that they’ll say.

Donna Cameron  17:38

Yes, we still don’t want to ever predict as human beings, the end, we don’t like it. Like we’re, we’re not good at this in our culture. I don’t think we’re really good in Australia at it as well. I think there’s a lot of cultures that do do grief and loss, with people actually passing quite beautifully. I think in Australia, where really, we just don’t want it. We don’t like it. So you can prepare yourself mentally. But again, your emotional hub hasn’t activated properly yet. So as soon as that person’s gone, and whether you’re with them or you’re not and you get that phone call, and you know, there is no more chances for you to fix this. We all want it to still be fixable. Right. So I know I know your story. I know your mom was was has had a great life. I know she was even age wise was getting up there at nine yet. And but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. We still want something to come and say no, it’s okay, you’re going to be okay, we’ve actually solved that problem. And you’re going to get even another six months, even another week, like, we still have hope until it’s gone. And when that light’s gone, then it all kicks in. And so that physical pain is a real release of the body and a lot of that shock and a lot of attention. And for some people, it’s everything they’ve even been holding on maybe for that last week or a couple of weeks not looking after themselves. Like it’s just a big explosion of everything coming out. And you know, that part pain? You know, I think everybody and I’m not a scientist, I can’t even give an explanation on that. But those really intense grief and loss is what we call that heartbreak. It hurts in that area. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:06

Yeah, yes. And then in terms of the emotional symptoms, like all things that we experience as a part of that grief. 

Donna Cameron  19:16

Yep. So look, the top five, it’s been around for a long time, the stages of grief and loss. We all like to kind of you know, yes, I think Fraser has done a good episode on it, where they kind of, you know, he pretends he’s not going through it, and they keep on putting it through. So it’s pretty accurate. So you know, we kick off with that denial. And I think that’s when that shot kind of happens. Yeah, and there’s denial, it’s just normal. We don’t want it to be real. So the denial will kick in. Gotta remember with these five stages, you don’t just it’s not a beautiful process that you just flow through one and you come through the other side, I sort of say that it’s almost like a little bit of like one of those circles. It’s almost like you start with one and you dip into the next and then you dip into three and then you might dump one and dip into two and kind of come around after we hit the angle. And you know, this is when a lot of people we try and then suppress that, because we don’t want to really feel angry or people tell us that we shouldn’t feel angry in this scenario. Depending on the circumstances, especially death, we get more permission sometimes to be angry if it’s a younger person. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:17

Can I just ask you with that anger, can that be directed at something else? Not necessarily to that situation or relating to the death, but you can redirect that anger into something else?

Donna Cameron  20:31

Oh, yeah. Everything people breathing around, you can bug you, you know, that pasture that you wanted now wasn’t Elton. I just said that. Because again, remember the system, it doesn’t care how it releases, it just needs to release. So if somebody’s on a train, and they’re talking too loudly, you’re going to want to go and hit them in the head or, or yeah, you just ought to go to your favorite cafe to get your coffee and it doesn’t have the milk you want. You want to just scream your head off. Yeah. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:01

Okay. I’ve been through. Cause I actually, you know, I always do my research before I interview someone, and I read up on the five stages, and I went ninja angry. And oh, actually, I think I may have been but not directed in the direction of the deer. But someone else on the other side of the fence who we’ve spoken about, who have been very annoying. There’s been–

Donna Cameron  21:31

A little bit?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:33

Not in person.

Donna Cameron  21:36

So that’s your little anger stage. Okay. And then we’ve got your bargaining. So your bargaining just is again, just wishing it hadn’t happened. It’s this is a lot of head stuff. Right? This is the stuff you’re doing the privacy of your own kind of bedroom. This is the hole. Yeah. Why did this you know, back? I guess back in the religious terms, it was taken me not them that sort of stuff. These days. I think it’s still a lot of like, just why and it’s not fair. And what could I’ve done to stop this should mean, your mum was down in Melbourne, a lot of guilt stuff can come through? Should I’ve seen her more? Should I have called her more? 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  22:12

With COVID, I missed out on a year. Yep. But what you’re saying about that bargaining? Oh, my gosh, that makes total sense, is that my brother and I had to make the decision to well, there to be no intervention. And my mother had made her wishes very clear that she didn’t want intervention. And in the end, and my brother and I were power of attorney, and we had to make that call with the staff at the hospital. And that was the thing that I, you know, talking about the denial, and maybe I didn’t realize the impact that had on me till once I was home, and I woke up in the middle of the night, and the responsibility that I felt, and that goes into that bargaining.

Donna Cameron  23:03

Yep, what could’ve I done, did we made the right decision. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:06

Oh, my gosh, that that actually was the hardest thing for me to cope with once I was home and the shock had worn of with–

Donna Cameron  23:16

And can you see how that almost links you bargaining can almost link back into the denial though, oh, my God, if I’d been able to do these, maybe that wouldn’t have happened. And then all of a sudden, we’re living in this moment, even if it’s just a split moment of time of 30 seconds, we’re living in a moment of time that that person is not gone per second. Right? So that’s where I mean that real link can kind of happen still. And then you can it’s happened come out of denial, and then get angry again. So it’s not just a nice kind of easy slide process. Yes. And what happens after the bargaining or is all then the fun bit, the nice depression stage. I don’t really like the word depression. Again, it’s just on the spectrum of emotions. It’s just everyone now who is depression and goes on depressed, it’s sad. It’s just feeling flat. It’s just you’ve got nothing left in your tank. You’ve just been through a death. You’ve been through denial, anger, bargaining, being up on that intense level of that spectrum of emotions. They take a lot out of us, right? And we’re not normally looking after ourselves in this time. Go find me one grief and loss person who’s also then eating well, drinking well sleeping well. Not happening. No. So of course, you’re gonna get flat Of course, you’re gonna get I would prefer that stage to actually probably be just be called burnt out. Like, damn, I’d actually prefer that just to be called done. I’m just done. Yeah, I just need a moment. I’ve got nothing left tanks empty. Yes. Leave me alone for a few months, and I’ll probably be okay. Yeah, but I’m just done.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  24:49

Yeah, I think I’m still in that one. Yeah, I don’t think we can. Yeah, energy levels down and blah, blah, blah. Yes. 

Donna Cameron  24:57

Yeah. And that’s all right. I don’t think it needs to and it doesn’t need to be timeframe on any of these things. And then we get to that magical acceptance. Oh, again, there needs to be a bit of a side point. Most people when they go through a grief and loss is acceptance doesn’t mean 100% Or better now, acceptance just means that maybe I can get through my daily life. And maybe I’m not crying, you know, maybe my tears have turned into I’m crying every day to now I’ve got through a week, and I don’t need to take those breaks from things anymore. I’m okay. But it doesn’t mean that maybe on a weekend when you’re by yourself, you still don’t have to have a moment. So acceptance doesn’t have to mean I’m okay. It just means I know that my person’s gone. I know that part is has gone. But I’ve still protect I’ve got a lot of recovering to do.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:48

So for me, that means that I’m not going to be running out of a Pilates class. 

Donna Cameron  25:54

Yeah, yeah. So we’re hoping iou can you can get through your Pilates, not make everyone you know, oh, run behind you. Yeah, that’s still a lot of healing. And we talk about, you know, people who have lost, you know, partners, young people who’ve lost children, that’s just a whole other topic on itself. It’s never about being okay with grief, and you’re allowed to not be okay with grief, we just have to also have that part that our life has to be able to go on. And we’ve got to find how we do that. So for some people, grief and loss might be like an injury. And I don’t again, see a problem in this if we can just acknowledge it. And it might be like, I’ve just, you know, broken my arm, and it takes a bit to heal. And all of a sudden, it’s back to normal. And I can still do everything. But sometimes in the cold, it gets sore. And I might not be able to ski or snowboard or whatever. So there might still be some consequences in my life. But I’ve got a bit of an injury. And I don’t see that as a depressive way to say it. I think that’s a very realistic way that some people get to say, No, this person is gone. For me, my life will never be the same as what it was. I’m going to be okay. But I’m also acknowledging that I will have this little part of me that I will miss for the rest of my time as well. But that’s like that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:08

Yes. Because we’re all different. And everyone handles things differently. And one thing that I gave myself permission to do was to feel my feelings in the moment. Yes, I actually did, I gave myself permission, I had that tool with myself. And I’ve cried in front of students, I’ve cried in front of my bosses, I’ve cried, as I said, I’ve ran out of a Pilates class crying, something triggered in the class. And it wasn’t anything hurting other than a broken heart in that moment. And so we all deal with things differently. And do you feel then if someone is grieving over say, a relationship, so it’s a breakup that you’ve been with someone for X number of years or not, it could be a girl that’s been with a boyfriend for some time. And they’re dumped? Do they grieve differently to someone then who’s gone through a death?

Donna Cameron  28:10

So as I said, the grief and loss system activates the same emotion. The difference is, because that person’s still there. It’s like, it doesn’t have to activate that real be gone forever. That this doesn’t sometimes make it easier for the actual situation, they’ve got to go through that again, not to, and I always say very, very, I always say from talking to my clients with this, I’m not disrespecting anybody who’s passed because that is the most horrific thing you will ever go through. I’m talking on the emotional level now though. So I’m not talking as our human kind of brain. When we go through a breakup, the hardest bit, sometimes the process to go through those steps can be harder than somebody actually passing. And this is the reason I said before, we want to avoid grief and loss at all costs, right? Yeah. So I’ve just gone through a breakup, I’m feeling really, really shitty. I’ve done a little bit of the yelling, the screaming, the girlfriends have all come around, we’ve eaten the ice cream, we’ve drank the wine, we’ve done whatever we want to do. But then my head goes, Oh, hold on. I let my sock and he’s like, I need that sock. I don’t need the SOC. But I get to go and I get to see that person. And in that moment, there’s no grief and loss, because the system does. Like they’re there. You must be fine. So we can not activate we stop, stop the activation, abort the mission. So I feel better for a second. And then I leave and then the system goes, Oh, God, what the hell’s going on? Oh, we’ve got activated again. So the breakout grief and loss can be honored and we’ve all dealt with we’ve all got those people that just need to break up with that person, but they weren’t broken up with that person. And whether you were in the girlfriends when you were like seven, you know 17 Or later, and you hear them and it’s all these they don’t stop texting. They don’t stop just running into each other. This is and the problem with breakups is you’ve got two people both avoiding the grief and loss process and lots of have opportunities to accidentally catch up or see each other to pause that process. So that process can be a lot more winded, and a lot of a lot more long ways to avoid it. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:12

And because in one sense, I don’t want to say that it’s worse, because it’s not worse, but maybe it’s harder because that person is still around. And you may incur– 

Donna Cameron  30:24

Finalize the process. So if we’re talking just grief and loss, if it was a different system that we went through for breakup, then we’d be going through the breakup system. But unfortunately, it’s the same system, and you just a lot of people don’t ever finalize it. And sometimes it’s impossible to find, it’s hard or not impossible to finalize it. If you’ve got a couple who have broken up and they’ve got young kids, they have to communicate, the first thing we try and get you to not do to deal with the grief and loss is not communicate. So there’s lots of circumstances that also makes those grief and loss processes harder.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:56

So, how do we get to that point of acceptance? What is the best way to heal?

Donna Cameron  31:04

So it’s almost you summed it up before, it’s what you gave yourself permission to do, you have to understand that it is a process. And you have to understand that these emotions are there and they’re going to come through, and you need to allow them to come through. So even you before potentially saying I didn’t really do that anger side, now you can see how it’s come through. It is good, you can kind of go, Oh, good, I have kind of tick that off. And this is what I need people doing. I do need people looking at that list the top five, and kind of eventually, even if it’s a couple of months later going, Okay, no, I do think I’ve done all of those stages. And I don’t think I’ve blocked any emotions associated with it. And making sure you give yourself that time, everybody will give themselves permission to normally cry. And, you know, sometimes a little bit get angry. But again, there’s a timeframe of when that’s acceptable when our friends think times are when we should get back out there when we should be overrode all of that sort of stuff. And it’s just saying, okay, life has to go on. But do I still need some moments to check in on my emotions? How am I going do I need to release a little bit, still, even a few months later, and I always talk to my grief and loss people and say you will have those times. And almost in a weird way, it’s celebrating those times where you can get to the end of the week and go Well, I didn’t cry this week. Like, that’s really cool. And then it might be a month, you know, I remember going through a horrific horrific grief and loss in my life. And I remember the first time that I went, Wow, that was a month I got through a month without having, you know, a tear. And I wasn’t upset that I’m still needing the tears, I was allowing those. But it was just good to kind of see that because I’d allowed it, the body wasn’t needing them as much anymore. And then you can kind of get some energy back, and you’ll feel your energy coming back. If you release the emotions. If you don’t release the emotions, you’ll stay quite fatigued. And then that’s going to be hard because you’re blocking them off. And we always know when you blocking something down, it’s going to burn more energy in yourself. So then everything’s just going to be difficult. So you might think you’re coping fine. But you can’t get through a workday or you’re not cooking still, or you can’t be bothered catching up with friends, because you’re just too exhausted.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  33:11

The other issue too, that I think and this is talking from my own experiences, because I did go through loss and grief. 30 odd years ago, I had my first husband committed suicide and then I lost my father about 15 months later, so that there was significant losses back to back. And back then, I made the decision as a very young person that always known to be stoic.

Donna Cameron  33:40

This was not going to be done or approved is it I could tell.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  33:44

No, this is I was going to on the exterior on the I was going to be brave because I felt they were shame. In showing those emotions of sadness and crying. I thought there was shame around that. And I ended up with an eating disorder. And I ended up very unwell my whole system shut down, where I didn’t menstruate for five years. So my body did not have it. So obviously there’s bad ways to grieve so is lack of acknowledgement. The worst thing that you can do.

Donna Cameron  34:18

Yeah, look, there’s, again, there’s sort of the jokes of the you know, the eating or drinking or the or sometimes even the drug case, you know, anything to get you through those initial stages. There’s no judgment, possible judgment and then needs to not be judgment. I’ve got no problem with the person who’s bearing you know, a family member or anyone who needs you know, some galleons to get them through, you know, those couple of weeks, whatever. It’s making sure that whatever little biases you might need to do, you also just have that time to feel sheet and to let the emotion out. I guess an example is when I went through mine, no, I’m a this is my business. I’m the only one here you know, in psychology, you kind of can’t just get someone else to pop in and see 3040 patients, you know, a week doesn’t work that way. I haven’t got a feeling. And I remember I made a deal with my emotional hub. And the deal was that I had to get through the workday. And oh, my gosh, and of course, everyone comes in with the similar stuff, because the universe really plays with you at that time. Yeah, the deal was, I have to get through the workday. Yep, I have to get through my workday. But I promise you, at the end of my workday, I will have a hot shower, and I will lose my mind, I will do whatever you need me to do, I will cry, I will yell in the shower, I will just drop my shoulders if I’m exhausted, that will be my deal. So if I do this deal with you, please let me get through my workday, without needing to run out. And it worked. Because I did that I could do both. So this is as well, what people kind of need to just understand, your body will still let you do what you need to do. You know, I get that there’s a lot of parents that can’t break down because they’ve still got to go to work, or they have to deal with children or situations, you just have to make a deal with the emotion as well, and it will do it, it’s just not going to play fair, when you block it all in and hold it all in, it will keep people shut your system down.That’s a non negotiable they will happen. It’s just whether it will happen in five months, or five years. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:16

Well, as a psychologist, I’m assuming that most people would come to you when they are at their worst in the grieving process, because people wouldn’t think to go to a psychologist if they’re grieving, unless it gets to that point where they can’t stop crying, or whatever’s going on, or however they’re dealing with it or unless they can’t stop being angry. So what then is the timeframe like, when would you then as a professional, get to a point where you go, that’s way too long, there’s something we’ve got to sort this out, this has just gone on too long.

Donna Cameron  36:55

Again, it’s hard to say, when you sort of say that I think about kind of routines and patterns that we go through. And I think most we don’t want to really be stuck in a new routine or new pattern almost takes us back to lockdown, really for more than three months. Okay, like let’s do some this is not this is just me, as a professional throwing this at you, this isn’t covered by any amazing, you know, stats or data or anything. This is just what I, I think, in your mind, practice, practice, yes. So anything over three months, our system starts learning that as our new normal. So I would want to see some progress of getting back into your old life or some systems back in place. Before that three month mark hit, you don’t have to, again, not be crying, you can still be heartbroken, you can still be going through a lot of the emotions. But I’d like to see you kind of getting you know, get up have a shower be eating something, you know, maybe if you’ve got the young children, getting them to school, just some basic kind of activities. If you haven’t returned back to work, that would maybe still be okay. But you’d be starting to think about, you know, where does that kind of feeding, then between three to six months, if there’s no improvement, again, now we’re doubling, that’s our new normal times two, I’d be really kind of concerned probably at that six month mark, if you if you really still can’t even think about you know, getting back to work or doing some normal life routines, I’d be worried then you would just so stuck in it. And again, remember, everything’s fixable. But you were just so stacking note of how long this was going to help get you back into your normal again, which will take at least another three months, you know, to sort of process. I had a client come in once. And she was she was a an elderly lady, and she just hadn’t done any of the work and her her husband had passed about five years ago. And she just was so stuck, hadn’t even still been able to move the medication or the toiletries for the bathroom. Yeah. And that’s just because there was just so much to do with the staff. And she just didn’t do get any help for it. And she knew she and she said to me, I knew I needed to do this sooner. And everyone will everyone always says that. So I think you’ve got to really listen to your own mind and people around you. Eventually they’ll say, Oh, she think he should see someone you know, and they’ll say it in the most delicate way. But you’ve got to just listen to that. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  39:16

When it comes to other people, though. People handle you as the person that’s going through the grief process differently. You have people that say, some people they they may say oh, you need to toughen up, you know, not directly me but someone that may be going through a relationship breakup that say Come on, mate, you need to get back on the horse again. Come on. Best way to get over it or someone loses a pet. Just go and buy another one. Someone loses their job. Come on, you know as plenty of jobs out there with me probably the worst thing that I was–I was actually, I had people handling the situation really be you to play in fact, people were so kind and said all the right things, that it made me cry more. But that was a good thing because you know, get it out of the system. But so I was fortunate. I didn’t face people that were telling me time heals. I do have people were acknowledging my grief.

Donna Cameron  40:21

She’s in a better place. Love that one. No, they’re not the better place within their house with me. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:26

Well, the worst thing that I probably was told was, Oh, she was 99 years old. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:26

Yeah. And I go will you know, funny about that, because, you know, there’s not an expiry date, when it’s your mum, your mum is your mum. And she didn’t stop being my mum at 90, she was still my mum. So as people had a way, then what are the right things that we should be saying to someone who’s going through a difficult time. 

Donna Cameron  40:32

Yeah, that’s, that’s a great one. 

Donna Cameron  40:33

So, I think all of those is our own uncomfortability with grief and loss and emotions. And we all just want to get people happy again. So they should do really well like 99. That’s a good innings. Like, it’s just redirect, just look at the person, just how you feeling. It’s a simple line. You don’t actually even need to make up anything to make them smile. They don’t want to smile. How are you feeling? I’m feeling really shitty. I’m really missing her validate the emotion, oh, my gosh, of course you are she was your mom, you’re allowed to feel sad. Anything I can do to help with that done, validate offer for help. Done. Direct problem solver and don’t give these stupid lines.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:37

I know. And they are really stupid lines, I can tell you.

Donna Cameron  41:42

I’ve actually got a client, I’ve got a client who went through a loss of her husband. And she’s writing a book about grief and loss process issues, probably about maybe 70% through it. And one of her chapters is going to be on that. What Not To Say When Somebody Dies.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:59

Well, what is the worst thing we can say? Do you feel?

Donna Cameron  42:03

I think it’s just all of that. I think it’s like, I think it’s the brushing of the emotions. I think it’s the whole like they’re in a better place or if anything that dismisses anything, even just that she was 99 It’s a dismissal of what does that even mean? I think these throwaway lines, what do they even mean? They’re in a better place? What does that mean? What if I’m not religious? Well, what? No, they’re in the ground. How’s that a better place? Like just be really sensible of who you even giving that message to? So I think it’s just anything anything that’s just a minimization of your loss in any situation, like the job thing, or you’ll find a better one? Or what if I don’t? What if I really loved my job? You don’t know that? Just let me be really sad that I’ve lost my job right now. How you feeling about losing your job? really pissed off? Of course you are. That’s okay. Yeah. Do you need anything about that? Yeah, just need to let it go for frickin driver scream. Cool. Okay, I’ll come over, I’ll drive.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:57

Like, I tried. You scream. But can I borrow your headphones?

Donna Cameron  43:05

Every line so I think I think every line so don’t try and be creative. Don’t try and be smart. Every line is a stupid line. Unless it’s how you feeling and that’s okay.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:14

Yes. And just being Yeah, just someone acknowledging and validating, I think was the thing that most people did with me, like 99% of people did that with me. And I was surprised. And it was very comforting. And I think as a society, we can all do better.

Donna Cameron  43:32

So let’s, let’s link it back. Let’s link it back even to what we started talking about, even with the COVID, you know, are but think of all of the Think of all the money you save by not being able to go out to a restaurant or like there were the stupid comments are but you know, it’s okay. You didn’t want to do that anyway, you know, like, Oh, you just would have eaten some whatever. Look, you know, it was just all of these stupid comments. It mustn’t have been that bad. Or this was a great one. It must have been that bad. Like, I can’t, I really would love some time just to chill out at home.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:04

Try doing that per year.

Donna Cameron  44:08

I really need to spring clean my cupboard. You’re so lucky that you got the time to do that. I haven’t had time to cook. Yeah, it was anyone who’s just anything anything that’s just a real dismissal, whereas the best thing would have been? How was exactly what you how was locked out for you? It was really shitty. Yeah. It really looked like it was tough. Yeah, it was done. Don’t try and compare it, you know, don’t have if you haven’t lived something. Don’t ever try and compare the situation to what you’ve been through.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:34

Yes. And that was another thing that a couple of people that had been through the loss of their mums. They were the ones who gave the greatest comfort in saying how they felt and validating on a different level that would that was the best, but let’s have a little bit of a gender competition here. In terms of men and women can we can do drief differently? General, yes, it’s not everyone’s the same for.

Donna Cameron  45:07

No, not everyone’s the same. And the problem with our beautiful men out there is they jump straight into what then best known for the problem solving. So they jump into the hole, we don’t, we don’t want to deal with these emotional stuff, we don’t have emotions when men, so let’s just get stuff done. So they rushed through it, they do things quickly. Yep. And a lot of the times, then it will catch up to them, or they’ll hold it all in. And we’ve already talked about what happened, oh, it will be fair, the generations coming through a little bit more in touch with their emotions, we’re seeing a lot of changes now with that. But definitely our generations of sort of still our 40 year olds passes, they just don’t think that they need to do any of these emotions. I think for most men, they might actually even say the only time they’ve probably ever cried has been the death of a loved one. And so they kind of have that initial cry. And then especially if they’ve got a you know, a female around them, or daughters or wives or family members or sisters, they kind of them have to deal with that emotion. So they’ll come in then as that protector, and then the problem solver, or they can just take it a bit too fast too soon, and dump it up a little bit.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:16

Yes, I’ve had that situation a weekend ago with my brother. And I had to sit him down quietly and say, I’m dealing with mum’s staff. Because this is the way that you need to deal with the grief. And I’m compromising and respecting how you feel. Now it’s time for you to do the same for me because I wasn’t ready to do this. And enough now, you need to stop no more, till I’m ready. And that is going to be your compromise. That was a my brother understood that when I put it in those terms, and he was respectful. But how do we as women generally, how do we let men know? Hey, this is not okay. And what I’m feeling is different to you. And I think because I think the biggest thing for me was was my brother saying, Oh, when I die, I just want you to throw everything out. I’m going, how does this come back around?

Donna Cameron  47:18

It’s just they just were also complicated. Really, it’s about because this is our problem, right? So the emotional hub is just going as you know, and you felt you’ve recently felt, and when the emotional hub is taking over this system here is normally not very helpful. And even in its moments of helpfulness, it’s hard to even articulate words or put, you know, assertion to place. So the fact that you are even able to do that just is your skill set, as well as skill set that you’ve got to be assertive. And to be able to have that conversation, I find most people just don’t have that ability in those moments. And they kind of go with the process. And then at the end, they’re kind of you know, rocking in the corner going, I wasn’t ready for that. Or that sweater I wanted from from you know, the cupboard. And I didn’t get it because I didn’t have time to think or to process what I wanted or who I wanted to give things to. So easy answer, what do people need to do? Perfect example is what you did. What can people do, though, if they don’t feel like they can articulate that, it’s almost a little bit of try and pick your battles to slow it down. Just don’t be available. And be very even if you can give us get the words out of I need to do this with you don’t do anything without me. I’m just on flat out with blah, blah, blah, this week, I just need a bit of time, even if you have to. I’m not I’m not saying lie, but you can’t articulate, I need you to slow down. And you just have to say I’m busy at the moment. And I have to come back to you on the weekend. I can’t do this during the week, giving yourself two spaces. Because every space you get, you might get a little bit more assertive with that end goal being I’m going to have that conversation to say, slow down. I’ve had situations where, you know, whole houses have been cleaned out, you know, and done well and other family members been away. And because they went away, it was like, Oh, well, that’s tough, you’re away. We needed to get this done. Here’s your pile that we decided was for you. And that’s for a father. So, you know, absolutely disgusting.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  49:12

I don’t know that I could ever get over that. That would be-

Donna Cameron  49:15

And that’s where, but that’s what I was about to say. And this is where a lot of the times in the family conflicts happen is because people won’t communicate, I need some more time. And unless now there’s something urgent if the House has to be in a product on the market for some urgent financial thing, a lot of the times it’s like we’ll pack it all up and put it still somewhere. It doesn’t have to be even sorted or divided if you don’t need it to. You know, there’s still solutions even if there’s crisis situations that you need to do it quickly. There’s still always the solution. Yes, yes, being assertive and it’s just really finding that moment to try and have that conversation. Otherwise long term. You will possibly not have those family members in your life because you will be so angry that they took that moment away from You took away your opportunity to sort through these, this last piece of your person that you won’t recover from that. So that’s how you best be assertive. Yeah,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:10

Yes, yes. The thing is, once those things are gone, they’re gone. You can’t replace them. And for me, the family relationship with my brother, who I love and adore, that would be a terrible loss. And, again, I and that’s why I think I found Well, I am kind of an assertive person anyway, when I need to be. But it was very important to me to speak up, because the relationship was important. If I dismissed how I felt, I would have been dismissing how I felt about him. And then what about when it comes to children, because children goes through loss too, even though children there may have both their grandparents never lost a family member, but they may lose a pet, or a friend of theirs moves away. So they do go through loss? How do we explain the big one? Death to children? What’s the best way to handle that?

Donna Cameron  51:08

So look, I think there’s lots of beautiful resources out there with this kind of where people refers people or pets what happens. And I think this really depends as well on a lot of your spiritual beliefs and what you want to educate your children on. I think the most important thing is also is just giving them a sense of a belief of this person was important to them, whether it’s a pet an item, you know, a friend, this was a really important person object thing in your life, and validate that you’re allowed to be sad that they have now gone. So if you’ve got the spiritual belief side, you definitely can add in, you know, the rainbow bridges, the heaven, you know, all of that sort of stuff. Hopefully, it’s not a bad relative, and they go to hell, that might be a bit harder to explain to. Kids these days, no, a lot. I think we’ve got to stop being scared. And you’ve got to be directed by their questions. So if you have a little kid who just wants to know, you know, where’s nonagon? Where’s nanny gone? And you say, Well, you know, we’ll nannies man, he’s passed away on and he’s died. So she’s not here anymore. But my belief might be you know, but she’s up in the stars, and she looks down on us. And then you can say, if you’ve got any more questions about that, and even a four or five year old will either say, That’s good push stuff. Or they’ll say, Yeah, well, how did she get there? Well, you know, sometimes as we get older, our body just be honest. And you just give the small amounts of information. And as they get older, they’ll want a lot more. But never dismiss it. We recently lost a my daughter’s birth pet. And it was devastating pet dogs in her arms. It was it was the whole deal. Wow. And I just had to sit with her. And as he was taking his last breath, it was dramatic. Yeah, you think you just you know, let’s not compare it. But mine was dramatic. No, but he’s taking his last breath. And I was there. And I said, you know, he’s going honey, he’s going, you just need to quickly say whatever you need to say to him, because he’s going. And after that, I just went, what do you need, and she just wanted to go and have a shower. And in the shower, she was singing a goodbye song to women are out for so I’m bawling my eyes out. And I’m just kept on saying to her, what do you need? What do you need? And what do you want to do with the pet? Do you want to bury him? Do you want to start with things you can already do with puts these days? What do you need? And what do you want to do? And then we use the Rainbow Bridge because she hadn’t learned about animals crossing the Rainbow Bridge. So we gave her that story. And I just gave it to her to read and said any questions and she was fine. She wanted to do that process. You know, obviously, people, there’s lots of do they come to the funeral? Do they not? They’re questions that you have to answer as a family. And you just have to say, but I think these age with kids, any child you’ve got in your household these days, over really the age of about five or six. I’d be checking with them these days. And I wouldn’t have said that a decade ago, I would be saying a decade ago, you make the decision for kids. These days. They talk they Google they know so much. You need to also just explain the process and probably I wouldn’t be saying to my eight year old who was a family member, how do you feel? This is where we’re gonna go? We’re doing this for this reason. Do you feel like you’d like to come and do that? It’s a very sad, you know, it’s a sad day. It’s a hard day. Would you like to do that? Or would you like to stay home? Because either options okay for you? So just talk to them.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:20

Yes. Because my grandsons are six and eight. And they came to we had a Catholic mass. My mom was a very staunch Catholic.

Donna Cameron  54:31

Oh God, a 10 hour episode for five year old?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:36

Actually an hour and a half. And then they wanted to be involved in the offertory procession. So they got up and brought the gifts to the altar. And they were fine with all of that. And they got to experience what it was like and how they were allowed to cry, but also that the joy, there were moments of great joy when we talked about their Nonna. And the only thing was that we made the decision not to take them to the cemetery, because it was a burial. And we thought, definitely you know that they don’t understand and don’t have the capacity to make a decision around that. And I think that would have been traumatic, they did come to–

Donna Cameron  55:24

And that’s a decision that the families made and the families happy with. And that’s what we’ve got to keep remembering as, as parents of children, you know, we are still the parents and we get to make those decisions, you’re not going to be able to open a book or ring your favorite side and say, Hey, should I take a six year old to a funeral? We’re not going to answer that question. We’re going to say, what do you think? How do you feel? Will this be? How have you talked to them about it? Yeah, it’s just it’s involving them in the experience. But the great thing with our little kids, so we’ve got to remember, they’re not stuffed up by their brain yet with blocking their emotions. So they will process a lot better than we will as adults, because they will do what they need to do. They don’t block any of these stages. They don’t block emotions yet. So don’t be scared of your kids also feeling or going through those emotions. As a young person, it’s important. Yes. And I think the fact that they don’t walk emotions, it does make them far more resilient, doesn’t it? I think that’s where we lose our resilience is when we try to stuff it up, down and block.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  56:27

We really block it and mess things up for ourselves. So we coming to the end here. So if you were to give us one piece of advice, in regards to us dealing with our own grief, what is something that you feel is highly effective we can actually do? So I know when it comes to say, the stress carbon, we’ve talked about stress, you’ve always talked about, are you exercising, releasing some of those happy endorphins? Is there something like that, that we can physically go and do?

Donna Cameron  57:00

I think in those early stages, we need to get back to basics. I often tell people even with the basic food, just try and get something into you even if it’s now back to your favorite bags of lollies I don’t care go and get them, put them in your bag or around you and every hour, throw only a bit of sugar into your mouth, no sugars or bad and illegal days. But whatever, highly addictive, you create, whatever, whatever in this moment, we’re allowed to. It’s basic. So it’s doing that it’s it’s sleeping when you can, if you can, if you can’t sleep, have the TV on and just rest. It’s just making sure that you know you’re hydrated. It’s just it’s really getting back to those basics. But then the main thing is you have to be allowed to experience the emotions. So I guess it really comes down to if you have to do other things, if you have to keep keep it all together. If you have to still go to work or look after others or hold it together or organize a funeral, then that’s all fine. But Promise yourself that you will go home and you will put yourself in that hot shower, and you will just cry your eyes out or scream into a pillow. so stressed out, we always talk about the importance of releasing the emotions and we try to put that into our weekly kind of or our daily life anyway, this is this needs to be daily and it needs to be intense. So I don’t want people just kind of going, Oh, that’s okay. I’m just feeling a little bit sad. Like, that’s bullshit. You need to be no frickin shit. And if I don’t need to hold it in, in front of you. You don’t need to see me when I’m in my car. And I’m just going absolutely crazy. anger and sadness and heartache doesn’t release by just going. I feel sad. It has to come out intensively and you need to release it intensively. Yeah, that’s the normal insensible that’s not being crazy or something wrong with you. If you’re not doing that in grief and loss, then I think there’s something wrong with you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  58:48

Well, when you said earlier on about the spectrum of where it it is on the spectrum of the worst thing that can happen. So of course, then the way we do everything else is going to be intensified as well as relates to the intensity of what you’re going through. Yeah, yeah. And so what about just say, for example, some of us as teachers, because a lot of listening audience is from the voice community says a lot of thinking teachers, a lot of people who are speech language pathologist, we’re not dealing with patients, how do we then address it with our patients with our students? Is it the same way of acknowledging and validating?

Donna Cameron  59:34

If you’re going through something you need to get to work or if they’re going through something? 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  59:38

They are. They are and they come to us.

Donna Cameron  59:41

Yep, exactly the same. just spell it out how you feeling? So if they say I’m just feeling the feeling a little bit sad today, then we’ll not what, what would help with that. So saying even your singing community well, what would help with that is is something now that you need in this moment to actually put that into a song do we find the saddest song we can do right now? I’ll help you sing it. And we’ll just bawl our eyes out together. Or I’ll support you while you’re trying to get through that moment. Or do you need a little bit of a distraction in this moment, because this is a bit of joy for you, as long as you know, you’re going to be releasing it, and I can see that you’re not blocking it too much. So you can actually really use your skill set to support them and help them in that moment. And again, don’t be scared of that. So, you know, like that you said, running out of a Pilates class, you just needed maybe someone to go, Hey, you are okay. What do you need? I’m okay, I just needed a moment. Now I want to come back to class. That’s what you need to do in your class as well. If they’re in the middle of a song, and they need to have a cry, or they’re doing some speech wherever they need to stop for a moment to say, are you okay? And don’t jump to the conclusion that you’re not okay. So let’s finish the lesson. You know, just say, are you okay? Do you want to keep going? Do you want to swap to something else? What do you need to do in this moment? And they will tell you just listen. If they say no, I’m fine. Let’s keep going. Don’t then jump in and go, no, no, I don’t think you are, why don’t we just go and get a cup of tea. Instead, we can just call it a day, listen to what they want, and follow through with what they want.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:01:07

Great advice, excellent advice. And that’s something that our community can do a lot better is listened to our students irrespectively whether they’re going through grief or not, we can all listen better. It’s not about us. But Donna, thank you so much for your time, again, you’re the first guest that I’ve invited back a second time. So I know right? So I don’t know if I need to I don’t know if I have an award for that yet. But I’m sure–

Donna Cameron  1:01:40

I’ll just stand up on the line.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:01:44

Or at least I can drink with you. But you not only deal with loss and grief, you deal with the whole spectrum of everything, every emotion, every psychological problem that people are going through from eating disorders, to family counseling, everything and we’re going to share your links in the show notes. If anyone wants to have a session with you, you can do so via zoom if they’re not in Melbourne, or whatever online platform that you use. And because I know people that have been on ships and had sessions with you.

Donna Cameron  1:02:22

I got everywhere, and I’m very happy to you know, be transported over to those beautiful locations. You just have to obviously pay for my fares, you know, I need to be relaxed or it needs to be at least business class or above but you know, no, I think I’m worth it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:36

Definitely, well you back here a second time, you are worth it. 

Donna Cameron  1:02:42


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:43

Thank you so much Donna, I really appreciate thanks for having me. All the help you’ve given me and my family. I think we all have you on speed dial you’re like that person that I think we just need a moment with Donna. And I think that’s there’s a lesson in that too. Because sometimes you do get stuck in life and there’s no shame. You know, I just don’t know how to sort this out. I don’t know the best way to move forward in this situation. This is not something I’ve dealt with before doesn’t have to be a huge ticket item. But if it’s something that you can’t get rid of something you can’t shake off, don’t live with it for the next six months. You can do something about it and I’ve learned that lesson so thank you again dial for being on the show and making time. Wish you all the best and hopefully no more lockdown ever again. Anybody–

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:03:38

Oh no, we’ve got monkey(pox). No, no, no!

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:03:48

You might have monkeys down there, but we haven’t had any. You can keep your monkeys. I’m just cleaning all the carpet. Yeah, get rid of that. Get rid of that. All right, no take it easy Donna. Thank you. Bye. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:04:10

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of A Voice and Beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag #AVoiceAndBeyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And If you would like to help me, please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple Podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway. Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of A Voice and Beyond.

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