Before ever going counselling I had a lot of preconceived ideas, that wasn’t founded on any rational grounding. I use to think that if you went counselling that there was something wrong with me or I wasn’t mentally stable. I didn’t like the idea that I wasn’t in control of my mental and emotional well being. To me, the idea of going to see a counselor was sacrilege, and that somehow by going counselling, I’d given up on myself and needed help. Little did I know that the exact opposite was true.
Counselling was a social stigma for me, I had thoughts going through my mind, that people would think that I am a little crazy in the head for getting counselling. So I carried on living with the mental and emotional turmoil in my head, thinking that somehow it would resolve itself, but it never did. I was just going around in a vicious circle in my head, without really resolving anything. The times when I did feel so called “normal” was really me hiding behind an emotional crutch that gave me some kind of perception of normality.
I thought that counselors would laugh behind my back, about my emotional problems. That when I left a counselling session, I visualized my counselor giggling and having a laugh about it with their colleagues. I didn’t want to be the center of ridicule.
For a long time I was reluctant to seek counselling, I thought, how can a counselor know about my specific problems and help me; they haven’t been through what I have been through. They haven’t experienced what I have experienced; how the hell can they have any idea about my emotional issues. So I just suffered in isolation for many years, in no man’s land.
For me the trigger to going to see a counselor came when I was suffering from deep depression, I knew I couldn’t get out of it and I needed help. Regardless of any preconceived ideas, I knew I had to do something; otherwise I would spend my whole life in this depressive state, numb to the world and to the people around me.
In my first meeting with my counselor, I was very nervous and felt very vulnerable. I thought that if I put on a front, that the counselor would think that I was normal and that I wouldn’t need any counselling. So that won’t need to talk about my deepest inner feelings and this would somehow validate my emotional state as being normal. My vulnerability of opening myself to someone that I didn’t know made me feel scared and confused.
After briefly internally thinking about this approach, I thought to myself, at this stage of my life with my depression, I needed help and that if I put on a masquerade, I wouldn’t be helping myself, and I wanted to get better. The only way I could get better was to open myself up and be completely honest, by talking about my inner feelings, even if it meant I was vulnerable and it made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I wanted to change my current state of mental and emotional outlook, and the only path to recovery was to disclose everything that I was feeling inside.
Bit by bit I revealed the fragments of my inner life to my counselor, and bit by bit my counselor put the pieces of my life together to try and help me on the road to recovery.
Slowly but surely my apprehension for going to see my counselor started to fade away with all my preconceived ideas of what I thought it would be like to see a counselor. I learned a lot about myself that I wasn’t even aware of; it was like a journey of self exploration and discovery, with my counselor as my guide. When I faltered on my journey, my counselor gently nudged me back in the right direction. I never in my life released that counselling could be so wonderful and so self liberating.
My counselling helped me work through my feelings and emotions, by talking through them and pinpointing possible causes of my emotional distress and how I could resolve them. She gave me tools and a different ways at looking at things that I hadn’t considered before. Using my deep inner thoughts to help her to find the right path recovery for me, guided by empathy, patience and understanding to support the process..
Everyone’s emotional and mental state is unique to themselves, but that doesn’t mean that no one can empathize and help you. Just because a counselor hasn’t gone through the exact same experiences as you, doesn’t mean they don’t understand what you are feeling. Through years of training, counsellors are equipped with all the tools they need to help you. Some of the approaches used are subtle, and you are not even aware that you’re being helped.
I started to really look forward to my counselling sessions, to my one-to-one sessions with my counselor, who was solely focusing and listening to me in a non-judgmental way. It is so important in your life to have someone just listen to you without judging you in anyway and to give you the scope to express your feelings in a safe environment. Many people in your life may not have the time or the training to just listen to your problems, and this leads to your feelings and emotions spiraling into a vicious negative circle that affects you and the people around you.
Slowly my depression started to dissipate, using the tools given to me by my counselor, by exploring myself and looking at reasons why I felt the way I did. Sometimes we need the objective view of an outsider to give us more perspective in our lives. Not just any outsider, but someone who is trained as a counselor and knows the approaches and methods that can be used to help you.
I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the darkness of my depression starting to lift. Counselors are like light helpers, they help to bring back light into your life, they help remove the blockages of light that once illuminated you. After a period of counselling, I started to feel enthusiastic about life again and became excited by the possibilities that life had to offer.
What I learned in my counselling sessions, is that feelings and emotions can having a crippling affect on you, however with the help of a counselor you can overcome the paralysis that is preventing you from living your life. It’s like lifting a big black cloud that was stopping you from seeing your true self and what you are capable of. Once the cloud of confusion was lifted, my vision of myself and what I need to do in life became clearer, and this gave me an inner happiness and excitement.
Getting counselling was one of the best things that I ever did in my life. If you ever consider having counselling, then just do it, there is no shame in getting help. It’s normal to have emotional and mental issues; it’s what makes us human. None of us are perfect, and sometimes triggers in our lives can cause mental and emotional imbalance and we need the help of a counselor to bring balance back into our lives.
If I had it my way I’d make counselling mandatory, because so much can be gained through the experience of counselling. I never realized how uplifting counselling could be, it opens up so many possibilities within you. We all need help at certain stages of our life, and counselors help you in your difficult periods when you feel stuck and feel that your life is not moving forward in the way you would like it.
When considering a counselor, I would suggest finding a qualified counselor who has formally recognized qualifications, so that you can rest assured, that the counselling that you experience is from someone with knowledge and the tools to help you. Not all counselors will resonate with you, find one that you feel comfortable with and start the healing process. You don’t have to live in mental and emotional anguish anymore, you don’t have to suffer in silence any more. You have a choice to help yourself to create a better life and future.
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