Respect yourself

Could you respect a person you see climbing out of a third-floor window naked?
How about a topless female walking on the sofa? What would you think of a woman who walked into your counselling session, then wet herself? 


I'd like to tell you about a client who I will call Tracy. Tracy was flooded with feelings of deep shame and humiliation as she opened up in the therapy room.

Asking herself, "Do I dare admit this, how will people react? Should I continue to hide these episodes of epilepsy or open up?". We can't know the outcome of expressing the unexpressed in advance. Repressing our embarrassing feelings and avoiding awkward situations can limit our life, our future, our potential. Counselling is a safe place to explore all inner quandaries. Confidentiality is guaranteed.

As a person who developed epilepsy in adulthood Tracy could choose to stay in, protect herself, avoid danger, let life pass by. Or she could consider, "What are the triggers? What might help? What's stopping me from trying to live fully, how can I maximise the opportunities I have?".

As a person with epilepsy, her life wasn't getting easier with age. She tried to use all the controls available, first by experimenting with possible cures:

  • Tracy tried a very high dose of anticonvulsants.
  • She gave up alcohol for 10 years straight.
  • She half-heartedly tried the Ketogenic diet.
  • Cut out blue lights after 9pm.

She tried other possible strategies too but still suffered continuous partial seizures (CPS). One by one all the various attempts to control CPS failed.

Life carried on, however when the CPS became increasingly embarrassing it forced a rethink. Despite her best efforts, Tracy was ready to hibernate, give up or try a combined tact:

Now, nearly seven months into living on the Keto diet with no alcohol, adequate exercise and mindfulness meditation she has not had any significantly embarrassing fits.

The CPS are definitely further apart. Her spreadsheet shows the correlation
which initially Tracy had a degree of scepticism doubt.

"Is this true? Does alcohol really affect the brain? Can monitoring ketones 24x7 keep fits in check? Will mindful meditation and exercise reduce anxiety?
Like most of us, she carried out trials, made mistakes and only believes when she finds the evidence.

Living on the equivalent of 20 carbohydrates (half slice bread) and 120g fats daily is a constant challenge. Living without CPS though, and the humiliating situations, has raised her self-respect. New boundaries have expanded on many levels. Tracy can dare to hope and to plan.

I urge you not to wait until your every move feels limited; help is on hand now.
As someone who has experienced my own embarrassing situations and shared the plights of many others, I am willing to sit and listen to yours, as are all therapists.

So, if like Tracy you feel you need help finding your way past embarrassing situations then consider speaking with a counsellor. Working with a therapist can help you find your self-respect again, which may have been lost due to past experiences. Counselling Directory offers a database of qualified therapists that can help in this way. Use the search tool to find someone you resonate with.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Muswell Hill N10 & Central London SE1
Written by Mary Mcilroy, BACP Accredited (Anxiety specialist). Bupa listed 30060387
Muswell Hill N10 & Central London SE1

I am a registered counsellor with the BACP covering: London Bridge/The City of London and Muswell Hill/London N10. Although I help people mainly with issues of anxiety and depression, I cover many other areas. Throughout your sessions with me, you will be listened to with empathy while you feel and see change happen as anxiety melts away.

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