Call to action
This is a call to you, yes you! You have come to the point that you are looking at counselling. This is a real mark of wanting to change some aspect of your life, which is really positive. It is a sign of progress. Progress towards a solution.
When you can accept that there is something that might need working on, you are in a better position than refusing to acknowledge an issue. Oh, that “stiff upper lip” and the “I can/must cope on my own” attitude - it really does not serve us well.
Perhaps you see wanting counselling as a weakness or a failure on your part to deal with life. Maybe you see it as a sign you are damaged or “different” from everyone else. Perhaps you see it as a “mental illness” and are scared because of the stigma that comes with that phrase. Feeling this way is not unusual and it is surprisingly common. Not often spoken about openly, but the majority of the population feels that way at some point in their lives.
Please do not view it as a sign of weakness or difference. Feeling and thinking that way kept me out of counselling for a lot of years. The stigma I perceived was a real block to seeking counselling. It caused me to stay stuck in ways of feeling and thinking that really were not helpful or healthy.
When I was finally desperate enough, unhappy enough and unable to “pull my socks up” that I sought out counselling, I did not expect my life to change in the way it did.
It did not bring me untold wealth, the attention of beautiful women and success - I did not really expect it to do any of those things. I cannot deny I would have welcomed any of those things though!
What counselling enabled me to do was accept myself as I am. Counselling gave me a place to look at things in my life that were no longer helpful, and no longer served the purpose I wanted them to when I started to use them. Counselling gave me the space to look at the “I will take them to the grave with me” issues. Issues I felt deep shame and regret about. Counselling gave me a way to see these issues as a part of life. A part of life that we all experience. It gave me the opportunity to see them as being in the past. If I were to call them mistakes then, I began to see them as learning opportunities now. Learning and growing opportunities rather than blocks and faults.
As painful as I felt it to be, I went to those dark memories and places within me and resolved them. I am so glad I did this because it allowed me to change the way they were affecting me. I did not deny them but accepted them as parts of my life that were in the past. I processed their importance and impact and was then able to move past them.
The difference between now and then is marked. I feel this as being not tied down by my past. I can recognise when I am depressed and anxious. I can accept them as “part and parcel” of my existence. Not the overwhelming feelings that they were. I can remind myself that these feelings can and do pass. I am able to be cheerful, introspective, contemplative and serious. I am able to be all the things I thought were not an option for me but that I so dearly wanted. I was able to be present and to respond not react.
My then-wife, as well as my children, benefitted. Yes, they saw me in tears, at times, but were able to see it was an okay everyday way of accepting life on life's terms. They were also able to see a confident, assured, pleasant person to be around, a happy person. Rather than a secluded, withdrawn, grumpy and sad man who they needed to tread carefully around. Someone who was no longer prey to sudden angry outbursts, sharp criticism and scornful dismissive comments.
So that is enough about this counsellor's favourite topic (me), what about you?
This is a call to you! A call to action.
Make that contact with a counsellor. If you do not feel a connection contact another counsellor. Contact as many as you need to. What have you got to lose? I would offer that if you do, you have given yourself the opportunity to lose those anxieties, fears and conditioned ways of thinking that are your reasons for looking for a counsellor. The feelings that are causing you to feel less than, inadequate, fearful, anxious, scared and depressed.
You are giving yourself the opportunity to grow, to blossom, to be content, to be glad when you awake.
You are worth the effort. You deserve to be better than you feel now. Just because the past and the present are unpleasant it does not mean that the future will be the same. You can change, you deserve it, you are worth it.