All of Us Strangers

This powerful ghost story may well save lives…

Unlike my usual film related (aka Couch Coaching) posts (You can read some self care lessons I got from Barbie and several other films and TV shows over the years HERE) I’ve avoided spoilers here because I REALLY want you to go see it!

Andrew Scott deserves ALL the awards.

Paul Mescal, Claire Foy (oof. Painful to watch and hear in parts) and Jamie Bell were brilliant too.

I had the honour of accompanying some of the star’s (Andrew Scott) family to see this beautiful film and started out thinking, Wow, I’d normally be crying at this but because I’m with his family, I know that he’s an ACTOR and it’s NOT REAL.

And then I was blubbing too. Even though I’d guessed the thing I was blubbing about, I’d HOPED it wasn’t true.

And because with film or any kind of art, the feelings ARE real.

All of Us Strangers was SO beautifully done. So raw. I can imagine so many people of all ages feeling seen and like there’s hope for them too. Hanging on.

I LIKE to imagine many MORE seeing it and opening our hearts a little more and making those little and enormous connections that can potentially save lives.

Give yourself some love, time and patience

If you could say ANYTHING to someone you have unresolved ANYTHING with (whether they’re dead or alive in real life), what would it be?

Who would it be?

Let it all out – physically SAY it (to an empty chair) and notice how you feel. Maybe write a letter (and safely rip it up or burn it) and get everything unsaid out.

If they’re alive, you might decide to express some of it in an edited way. If they’re dead or you have no intention of connecting with them, you can still release some of the blocked energy around the issue by allowing yourself some time and space to feel all the feelings and find a way to get them out of your body (through movement, art – whatever works for you).

You’ll know as you read this if it’s something to do yourself or whether you want additional support from a trusted loved one or therapist (read on for some ways to access trauma therapy and counselling).

Trigger warnings:

  • trauma recovery
  • grief
  • loss
  • homophobia
  • loneliness
  • bullying
  • suicidal ideation

Glimmer possibilities:

  • the power of reparenting ourselves – however much later – and the ever present potential for healing
  • the possibilities for conversations and the healing around THOSE that can occur, even decades later if we’re open to that vulnerability and potential
  • the joy of love – letting yourself take that risk and having fun. Much has been made of the sex scenes but the love wasn’t just between Adam (Andrew Scott) and Harry (Paul Mescal). Love takes many different forms
  • (some) great music (I’m hugely judgmental about music so while some felt deliciously nostalgic, one song made my skin crawl several decades after a school friend had played it over and over back in its day)

Trigger warnings? Glimmers? Eh?

Glimmers is a term coined by Deb Dana – the therapist who’s done so much to make Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory more accessible to therapists and the public.

Glimmers are as powerful as triggers but deliciously yummy and beneficial for our mood and our nervous system. They support ventral vagal wellness and can help you consciously create more of that goodness for yourself

Some of my personal glimmers include certain pieces of music that make me WEEP with joy, seeing the Reek (aka Croagh Patrick mountain) when I lift my head from the sea and wonder how I got so lucky as to get to live here in wondrous Westport, the MOON, reading something so good I have to force myself to not read bits aloud to loved ones and strangers, holding paws with Rainbow MagnifiCat, Meadbh, MOST creatures (my feral friends, donkey friends, loads of Not My Dogs…), when something is delicious (especially rare being vegan and allergic to peppers so all the more blissful and glimmery when it is), being underwater, many types of rain, an enormous big hug, the sound of a loved one’s laugh…

Full Moon January 2024 by Eve Menezes Cunningham
Last night’s full moon | by Eve Menezes Cunningham

Many people are familiar with the idea of triggers – seemingly innocuous smells or situations or even mentions of something that takes trauma survivors back into that terror of the actual trauma even though they’re safe in the present.

Some people weaponise the term as if trauma survivors or anyone who struggles is somehow in the wrong. We can’t control what might leave us feeling flooded (although grounding and resourcing and many other things can help) and a little sensitivity can go a long way in helping people feel safer.

That being said, you can HEAL.

GET the help you need and deserve

As Michael Singer pointed out in an interview on Oprah on his book, The Untethered Soul, a person might have a thorn, just under the skin on their arm.

That person is likely to yelp in pain when someone presses on that thorn. And if it’s not attended to, it might stop needing a person deliberately pressing on it to make it so torturous. Someone brushing against it, putting on a top or even the impact of a slight gust of wind might add to the pain due to this thorn under the skin.

We can ATTEMPT to control the world around us (making ourselves and others utterly miserable) or we can attend to the cause (the thorn itself).

Instead of making our lives smaller trying to avoid all the things that exacerbate the pain and hurt we can let it come up for healing and DEAL with it. Gently and effectively.

One of my favourite things about All of Us Strangers was Adam’s powerful compassion when struggling with enormous issues himself and then holding that space for healing for the loved ones around him instead of getting defensive and angry and making things so much worse. Not betraying himself (he let it ALL out) to make others feel better but recognising that some of the hurt hadn’t been deliberate and remembering some happier times too.

Trauma therapy can help you expand your own ‘window of tolerance’ and your own WORLD.

Once that thorn is removed, it may leave a scar but you can do things you never dreamed of being able to do because the skin heals and life stops being SO painful.

As someone who spent SO much time as a child, teenager and even into my 20s wishing I was dead and now (decades of ‘work on myself’ later) mostly SO happy and grateful for my life, I believe this with every fibre of my being.

And you don’t have to do it alone.

You deserve love.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve success.

You deserve PEACE and ease.

My private practice (trauma therapy, supervision, Self care coaching etc.) is generally pretty much at capacity but if you like my approach, it’s worth completing this short form to book your free telephone consultation. AND there are many amazing trauma therapists out there so check out IACP in Ireland and BACP, UKCP and BPS etc in the UK. You can search by location and specific ways of working and issues to be dealt with.

with love,

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