Family • Wellbeing • Adventure

Friday, 15 March 2019

Counselling - My Experience

I have mulled over this topic for such a long time. Is it something I should share or is this one of those things that should not be discussed online? Especially something so personal? Well, your sat reading this so I obviously grew a pair and hit publish. So whilst I won’t delve into the in’s and out’s - sharing this experience, I think, is an important one and will hopefully be read with no judgment.

My journey to counselling, really started two years ago when I first went to the doctors regarding my anxiety and how it had become unmanageable. I was prescribed anti-depressants aimed at helping with the anxiety and was also given information about my local “wellbeing” service - a service in which you can self-refer. I tucked that piece of paper into the side pocket of my handbag, where it stayed, untouched for around 13-14 months. I didn’t need it. Surely all my work on harnessing mindfulness, meditation and of course the help of medication I would have it all under control and there would be absolutely no need to talk to anyone about my issues.

How wrong I was.

At the end of 2017 I hit rock bottom. Life as I knew it seemed to be falling apart around me. My relationship with my husband was in tatters and I truly thought our marriage was over. I soldiered on, working hard to salvage our relationship - to forgive and forget, but my anxiety took hold and controlled every single element of my life. It was exhausting and so I turned to the wellbeing team.

Everything came pouring out. I was so lost and consumed with worry I just couldn’t see clearly. My telephone councillor suggested relationship counselling to help heal wounds and I agreed. This form of counselling was offered to me under the NHS. I was warned however that there was a waiting list and in the meantime I was to have regular telephone sessions until I was top of the list. I agreed. I wasn’t really in the position to pay for sessions as we were currently going through the process of buying the other half of our house (I know, great timing hey!).

I had to wait around 5-6 months and that in itself was hard. Eventually September 2018 my counselling sessions started.

My first session was a one on one session where I poured my heart out and had a damn good cry. My feelings we heard, validated and we discussed steps to move forward. It was suggested that Jamie actually come to my sessions in order to really repair our relationship.

When I discussed this with him I could sense the hesitation in his voice. He was desperate for me to be happy and was willing to try anything to help. This itself was incredible, I knew he would really struggle as he’s not someone to open up about his feelings.

The following sessions saw ups and downs. We talked through what happened, how it made each other feel and then discussed tools for moving forward. This included communication skills, “tools”, “first aid kits” for when things get tough and learning the art of really listening to each other. Every session we would take a quiz to determine how we were both feeling about the relationship and also to track progress.

On Monday we had our very last session and the impact and change it has made to our lives has been astounding We’ve truly learnt to talk and hear one another, appreciate just what we have. My anxiety is very much under control and I think I’m the happiest I have ever been. Correction, I think we’re the happiest we’ve ever been.

I know many, many couples who go through unbelievable hardships and don’t make it out the other side. I’m so proud of the work, dedication and willingness both my husband and I brought to the table to make it work, to lessen my anxiety and to ultimately make the absolute best out of our relationship/marriage.

My consellour asked how much the sessions had helped and whether we would recommend counselling to others and we both said, that without a doubt we would. We also both realised how in reality there is no shame or embarrassment for asking for help to make your lives/relationship the absolute best it can be. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what we all deserve and striving for that shouldn’t be seen as a weakness.

Back to being goofballs! 
So if things are feeling a little tough, know that there is always someone (even if you have to wait!) you can turn to for help and advice. I’m so thankful for my experience and hope that such services will not ever be needed again but if they are needed, there will be no hesitation or shame in reaching out again.

K Elizabeth xoxox

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