If you are reading this, it's probably because you are looking for a counsellor. Many years ago, I was also in your position. This is my story of why I was looking, the difference it made for me and how I then progressed on to becoming a counsellor.
Born in Bristol, the youngest of three children, I was an unremarkable child with an average family and life. When I was nine years old, something happened that changed how I saw myself, other people and the world around me.
My confidence fell away, I began to feel fearful and anxious. I was scared of everything. As a teenager I found it difficult to fit in with friends and I felt isolated. My friend all seemed confident, unphased and secure in themselves. I began to smoke to give myself a grown-up edge and drank alcohol when no one was looking to numb my pain of feeling different. I would suddenly rage at my Mum, for no good reason. Totally unaware to me I was Internally suffering, yet all my behaviours could be deemed as just being a 'teenager'. This was more believable because the majority of time I portrayed a 'good girl' and developed a 'bubbly' personality that everyone around me seemed to like.
As I grew older, I had a full-time job in accounts, got married and had two children. To most people it appeared like everything was good, and there were happy times. However, everything still scared me, and I began suffering many bouts of depression. Each bout became longer and deeper. My confidence had floored, I doubted myself at every turn, felt worthless and was ashamed of who I had become. I had everything, why could I not be happy. At social events I drank heavily to cope, and I knew this wasn't right, yet I thought I was wrong. Life didn't feel worth living.
After a particularly deep depression, my husband and other family members persuaded me to see the GP. I'm very grateful that my GP sat with me for forty-five minutes, while I sobbed and told my story. After listening she recommended counselling.
Seeking counselling was scary. I was so anxious about my first session. I needn't have worried. Although, I sat there like a rabbit in headlights, somehow, I felt better after having someone listening with empathy and compassion.
Slowly my life started to piece together. My anxiety began to feel less, I understood myself more and my confidence grew. In understanding who I am, I discovered my values and boundaries and why these were important to me - this made them easier to hold - as I had previously been a 'people pleaser'. Putting everyone and everything before myself.
Being heard by in counselling gave me confidence to make changes. Before I didn't know how to communicate my needs. Now I am able to articulate how I feel, and what I need, whilst showing understanding and empathy toward others. I also notice that I felt calmer and safer within myself.
How was this happening? I was just talking to a counsellor each week. My curiosity led me to join an Introduction to Counselling course. Yes, I was nervous that first night, it was completely out of my comfort zone. Yet, everyone running the course and the other participants were lovely and the subject fascinated me. I left that course with a passion for counselling, two new lifelong friends and a new zest for life itself. I also signed up to train as a counsellor.
I continued having counselling throughout my training. The more I learned about myself through counselling and my knowledge through training the further my fears and anxieties drifted away. I couldn't wait to be fully qualified and apply my learning and life experiences to help other people overcome struggles that they might be facing. To help them find clarity, confidence, the courage to be who they are and live their more fulfilling life.
I am by no means perfect or have a perfect life. I'm pretty sure my husband and children would agree. I have trials and challenges like anyone. It's just, now I have the courage and confidence, to work a way through them.
My wish is that my story will give you hope that life can be better. Being counselled gave me hope. Training as a counsellor give me hope for people like you.