Counselling is often considered self indulgent attention seeking but I don’t agree. We think nothing of seeking medical advice to heal our physical bodies; surely we should take as much care with our emotional well-being. Admitting that I needed help is probably one of the best things I ever did and I feel no shame in telling others that I ‘indulged’ once a week for about six months.
After enduring a particularly harrowing birth experience, I struggled to get any sleep, not just because of the new baby but flashbacks to that labour room kept me in a state of terror, haunting me whether my eyes were open or closed. Nine months later I became pregnant again and as much as I wanted the baby I knew that I would sooner have thrown myself off a bridge than go through anything close to that experience again. Once I admitted that statement to myself I knew it was time to let someone help me. Only one thing I feared me more than that labour room, and that was fear itself.
I thought that my experiences over the previous year would be the only topic of discussion once I entered the ‘therapy’ room and that forever afterward I would bear a mental issues label. For this reason I held off on the doctor’s advice to speak to someone and waited until I found that I couldn’t nottalk to someone. However, once that someone opened their ears to hear me, I found that gradually I opened my eyes to really see…me. Luckily, I found a counsellor who could coax me through my painful past, difficult present and an uncertain future with an appropriate degree of sympathy and oddly enough, humour.
For confidentiality sake, let’s call the counsellor Patty. One of the most prominent things I can recall her telling me was that in order to really learn about yourself, to move on from problems that seem to reoccur endlessly and personality traits that have prevented you from being the person that you want to be, you have to go through a crucifixion. We are born onto this earth to learn as much about life as is possible. We all know that hard lessons get dealt to us and we hope that we learn from our mistakes and move on. In truth though only when that lesson has been particularly invasive in our lives do we attempt to wipe out any possibility of re-occurrence and right any wrongs that we are able. Only when you have been forced to really confront yourself can you learn who you are, what you want from life, who matters and what doesn’t. If ever you have had your soul torn apart, then regardless of your religious beliefs and how you deal with the aftermath, talking to someone who will listen to you without prejudice, advice or intrusion can give you the opportunity to discover your true self in a way that you can, in your own time recognise, acknowledge and accept.