Feeling anxious at the idea of counselling
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Linda Boutet (Dip.) MBACP
2nd March, 20160 Comments
Feeling constantly anxious, nervous and uneasy is exhausting, frightening and alienating. It's an intensely lonely and very unhappy experience. Counselling is always a good idea for anxiety. Talking to someone who will not judge us, and who allows us to really be ourselves is holistic and means one is taking care of oneself. However, if we have been experiencing anxiety over time, and by this I mean more than a few days, we are debilitated; our mind is tired, and finding a counsellor and attending that first session can seem overwhelming and scary. We know we want to talk to someone and counselling seems a good idea, but in our anxiety we fluctuate between spending endless hours looking for a counsellor and thinking about the idea but then, just when we've 'plucked up the courage' our anxious mind turns away; doubts and fears become associated with the very idea. We feel muddled, uncertain and are back where we began. This is an example of how anxiety manifests itself. How will it feel? Can I really tell someone about my feelings? Am I doing the right thing? How long will it take before I start to feel better? Is there something horribly wrong with me? An endless barrage of self-doubt and fears may come to the fore and so, this short article is for those who are feeling 'stuck'. By this, I mean unable to move in any direction, unable to make a decision.
People come to counselling for many different reasons. Seeing a counsellor is not a sign of weakness. After all, counsellors themselves have had years of personal therapy as part of their training. Counselling is about talking and being truly heard. If our mind is tired and we've been trying our best to cope alone, we may feel as though this will never change, that we will always feel this way, but I want to reassure you that this is not the truth. Let me use an analogy to describe how anxiety is actually a positive thing, albeit intensely bewildering and painful.
If our body is not well, we need to give attention to the area of pain and usually we will visit our GP. The pain was, in a sense, quite positive for it pointed out to us that we needed to find the cause. The psyche or mind is the same. Anxiety is something that we all experience, however intense anxiety is a sign that our mind wants to 'sort something out'. It's as though that part of ourselves is saying 'I need you to look after me, don't ignore me'.
Many people struggle through intensely painful days and nights, desperately trying to feel 'normal' when all the time, there is a dreadful feeling of somehow being 'apart' or 'different', as though everyone else is living life and finding it easy and we are floundering on a hard and bitter rock. It doesn't have to be this way. Firstly, let me assure you that most of us will experience these feelings at some point in our lives. It is part of the human experience. Seeing a counsellor enables us to 'detox' and talk about our feelings which often marks a real turning point. A few sessions with a counsellor can make a huge difference when we've been struggling with an unknown sense of dread or battling with unwanted thoughts that seem to pervade all our waking hours. I'm not telling you not to be scared but rather, that there is nothing to be scared of.
Counselling is gentle and empowering. It takes a certain kind of courage to make that phone call or send that first email, but I advise you to put the negative thoughts 'on hold' and make that first step. It isn't easy to make that first step toward seeing a counsellor, but it really is one that is so very worthwhile.
About the author
My training in psychology began in 1989. I have trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy and integrative counselling, and am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
I work in a variety of settings, including the NHS, the voluntary sector and private practice.
I am also a member of the BACP (children and young people).
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