Sheridan Smith and Panny.
Sheridan Smith and Panny. The actress Sheridan Smith posted on social media, she accused her boyfriends mother of possibly being involved in the death of her dog. She apologised the following day and removed the Instagram post. It’s not the first time that the actress has been in trouble on social media before and she admitted to being drunk when she wrote the post. We do live in an age where access to social media is temptingly easy so if you are feeling upset or angry, putting it out into the world is simply a click away.
The effects of alcohol on grief
Whilst it is so important to look after yourself when you are suffering the loss of your pet, it is very common to use alcohol as a way of temporarily numbing the pain. And anger is also a very common and understandable reaction to pet death. Although there are many books and many studies that talk about bereavement and it’s many stages, they can sometimes make it feel as though there is only one clear path through the grief.
Models of bereavement
Here is the TEAR model of grief for example that I have talked about in previous posts:
Unfortunately whilst any ‘model’ can help to shed light on how you are coping, grief is a complicated and unpredictable thing. Anger can come as quickly as shock and acceptance can take many years. Grief can also be different for each loss that we suffer and it can change with our age, our general life circumstances and our hormones.
When a pet dies suddenly the pain can be explosive. It is not an unusual reaction to look for someone or something to blame. For Sheridan Smith it appears that she felt that in some way her boyfriends mother was to blame. Relationships with our partners parents are another hugely complicated emotional arena and to combine this with a bereavement is to add yet another twist in the emotional roller-coaster.
A repentant Sheridan Smith
I think the actress clearly regretted the outburst and my heart really goes out to her. She had to face the press whilst obviously still devastated by the loss of Panny. Anger is ugly and grief is never a pretty thing. Sheridan talks openly about her mental health in an article in The Express and has also stated that she is going to stop drinking. But anger is a normal part of the bereavement journey and sometimes cannot be avoided. Taking alcohol out of the equation is no bad thing, it is so very important to look after yourself when you are grieving. It is often the last thing on your mind but nurturing yourself is your first step on this difficult journey.
If you are affected by this story or by your pet bereavement you can sign up for my 12 step pet bereavement guide that has lots of ideas for coping with the death of your pet. Simply fill in your details here.