The first time I experienced long term counselling was when my ex left me (other issues did come up). After six months of trying to cope alone I realised that if I didn't talk soon I was going to have a breakdown or do something stupid. I went to see a counsellor nearby and his empathy understanding and lack of judgement was the most wonderful feeling of freedom. I even used the F word at one point!! And he just sat there encouraging me to LET IT ALL OUT! I laugh now.

I had always felt judged by my sister, my surrogate mother and my ex-husband; and therefore I held back or controlled my emotions to suit those people's needs, in case I upset them. I had never felt unconditional love from any of the major people in my life. It was 'be this way' or you won't be loved! Very difficult.

Counselling does seem to still carry a stigma on TV and people can often then think they are MAD if they go to see a therapist - which is extremely damaging to the counselling name and to the people who are struggling. It's really just about accepting that sometimes we all need help in life and that we can do something to change how we perceive and deal with things. If you have had to keep quiet for a long time, scared to say anything, then sometimes it takes a lot of support to help you realise that you are allowed your own thoughts, feelings, opinions and life style choices.

I would say please don't struggle alone and if the first counsellor doesn't suits you then find someone else... I've had counselling and taken a counselling course and so I know what it's like on both sides. It's made me a far better person. Take care out there.

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