Wellbeing & Mental Health Matters: ‘bumsticks’

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In our spot on the site where we chat about mental health and wellbeing, just the idea of having a reserved word for difficult times.

Hello and a very warm welcome to Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters, the little place we reserve on the site every week to chat about stuff. Stuff that might be just causing us a few niggles, sometimes more than that.  No miracle cures are offered, sadly. We just want to chat about stuff, and hope that occasionally something in this run of articles if of use to you.

This time around, I want to lend you a word.

Over the past few years, as many of you have, I’ve lost people close to me. I wish I could give you something wonderful and insightful about dealing with grief and loss. I chose to try and hit it head on and not avoid it at all, which for me came with both upsides and downsides. But also, I to this day find it such an uneven line. Grief hits me, even years later, completely out of the blue.

Speaking to a few friends and colleagues over the past few months, and sadly there’s no shortage of grief out there. So many people have lost so many loved and important people, and my heart goes out to them.

That word, then. I read a eulogy at my mum’s funeral, and got special dispensation from the priest to drop in a rude word into what I had to say. He looked at me wryly when I explained the context and said with a wink that I might just be allowed. But the word I’m going to lend you isn’t that one. Instead, it’s a special word I reserve for when something awful has happened.


Entirely made up, and to me, quite useful. I’ve had to lend bumsticks to a few people these past few weeks, and I can’t honestly say it helped them much. I just know, in a bizarre way, it helped me. To have a word that failed to sum up at all the foreboding loss I faced, and didn’t even try. I remember kicking the floor and muttering it to myself, and I put the word away now only for the harshest of times.

Sure, there are more ferocious words in the dictionary, and there’s a sporting chance you may have had to resort to one or two of them across your life. But bumsticks is a go to for me. Just to keep in reserve, locked away for the days you don’t really want to use it. It feels a bit odd even writing all this down, but maybe a reserved word is of use to you, maybe not. It’s just one of a few small things that helped stop me sinking.

Everyone has their own strange coping mechanism when things are going terribly of course. Nobody’s is foolproof. It might sound daft, but I’ve laughed and cried over bumsticks with people this year. It’s a word that’s yours if you need it.

Stay safe everyone and take care.

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