Counselling made me find my confidence
I've always suffered from bouts of depression and anxiety, but never enough to seek help. That is until I had my son, Thomas, who's now three.
After I split up with his father when Thomas was two, I was at an all-time low and worried about my ability to be a good mother. I found my counsellor nine months ago in a small ad and checked out her website. She specialises in something called Psychosynthesis, which is "soul-centred" and helps you get in touch with your inner self and deal with problems by seeing how your own thoughts and interpretations have shaped them.
I discovered that I'd felt very judged all my life and that I subsequently took any negative comments to heart, always beating myself up for not being good enough. I hadn't previously realised that it was my own emotions that caused me to interpret other people's words and actions so negatively.
Because of the way I was, I couldn't trust myself I constantly questioned my ability to perform well – and I couldn't trust anyone else either, so my relationships with men were always disastrous.
Sometimes my counsellor would help me go back to painful childhood memories that I'd buried so I could see how they'd frozen me in time and stopped me moving on.
She didn't ask intrusive questions, but got me to talk with subtle prompts, for example: "You haven't mentioned much about your dad." It was up to me to explore those areas when I was ready.
I was seeing her every week for nine months and with each session, my confidence grew. I realised I had a lot of buried resentment inside me. In my family, we hadn't been allowed to show our anger, but she helped me release it, and doing so strengthened me as a person. I could see how repressing it had depressed me.
Understanding my anger helped me as a mum, too. I could allow Thomas to be cross, and let him know it was a normal emotion. I don't want him to end up burying feelings as I did.
The sessions have made me feel more confident as a mum and as a person.