My thoughts (also known as my chimp) were my greatest enemy

It’s now now 4 1/2 months since my wife died after 49 years and 11 months of marriage. Of course I was swamped by all the emotions we all recognise, but now my new life is on track and I’m getting on with it with optimism and a good deal of happiness. Of course I’m always remembering her and talking to her, but I very rarely let my emotions overwhelm me. Life won’t ever be like it was, it’s just different and I’m beginning to enjoy it again.

It’s an emotional journey isn’t it, but I’ve understood that emotions just dont appear out of thin air, they all result out of our thoughts, being particularly worse as we let our thoughts rumble along in the background without realising it, then we realise what we’ve been thinking about and the next thing is that our emotions well up.

I once read a book (but I have read many books!!) which likened these background thoughts being like a naughty chimp, who jumps up and down screeching and winding us up.

So I learnt to manage my chimp, so he just sits quietly, waiting until I want him.

I’m not a psychologist, so I need it in simple terms, thats why I like to think of it all in terms of a chimp.

My chimp could be naughty in other ways, such as when I’m trying to diet he will screech and tell me that I really should eat that cream bun, or that second helping of pudding won’t do any harm.

Knowing my chimp is there (I call her Mrs Doyle, which those of you who have watched Father Ted on TV will know why) was my first step. Then bit by bit he quietened down and just sits quietly eating his banana.

I’m not qualified to help you do this, but if you want to explore it, google “The Chimp Paradox”.


Dear @tykey

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your wife.

Thank you for sharing your information with the Community.

Sue Ryder have a useful Grief Guide to help you understand and cope with your bereavement and grief.

Please continue to reach out and take care.