On Being Human
In being human I think it is fair to say that we have all experienced times of uncertainty, feelings of despair, feelings that we are alone and that our thoughts would seem mad or bad if anyone could see inside our heads. Dreams which leave you confused or anxious, not clearly understanding their meaning, or feeling too frightened to look too deeply in case it means something your really don't want to know about.
We are born with instincts/genes like any other living creature, and onto this our personality slowly develops shaped by our experiences in the world. If we grow up in a world which is basically kind and loving then we see the world as a warm hopeful place where we can interact with and enjoy each others company and that we can rely on those close to us to offer support in times of difficulty. If on the other hand our experience of the world is harsh. cold and unpredictable, love can seem to elude us, we can grow up feeling alone, that we are unlovable and that the world is not a safe place in which to develop and grow.
These are extremes and most people fall somewhere in between. None of us can escape pain and loss, and sometimes this can be carried with us for many years and in some cases a lifetime. One of the reasons people come into counselling is that they have a sense of not living their life fully; feeling stuck or feeling life has little or no meaning. Sometimes this can be through a breakup of an important relationship, or a bereavement that continues to feel overwhelming. A traumatic experience can also leave a person feeling caught up in replaying the traumatic event which can get in the way of them picking up their life again. For others there is a disappointment and a feeling of resentment that they did not receive what they needed growing up, leaving them continually searching for someone or something to make it better and feeling disappointed when this doesn't happen.
I don't believe it is ever easy growing up; whichever generation we come from, each brings with it its own story. We are all individuals but equally we all share hopes and fears for ourselves which are not a million miles apart. We can speak the same language but at times barely understand one another. This can leave us feeling isolated even within a relationship and confused about what we feel and who we are.
When we are hurting, we can sometimes strike out blaming others, through harsh words, and becoming destructive not only towards others but towards ourselves as well. For both people involved, there can be feelings of anger, resentment, helplessness and confusion. An internal dialogue can get set up in the mind which can seem to be on automatic pilot which can become very destructive to the self and to relationships, and ultimately lead into a downward spiral of depression.
Counselling offers a private place to bring your fears and worries, which seem overwhelming. A place where the unbearable can be made bearable and anxiety and panic can begin to be thought about. A place where destructive feelings can become thinkable thoughts so that they can be heard understood and engaged with. Often when people come into counselling they think it is a luxury and they shouldn't be spending so much money on themselves. I think it is all relative. I don't know how you put a price on peace of mind, feeling a sense of belonging, building good solid relationships with others. Understanding what you need to live a healthy life. No one can protect us from life happening, but with support and understanding just maybe we can feel equipped to deal with the cards dealt to us.
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Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
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