Sunday 26 July 2020

Mental Healing - Counselling

Hi everyone, firstly I just wanted to say a particular hello and thank you, to all my new subscribers, as there's been quite a few of you since my last post.  I'm very grateful and thank you for joining my little space on the internet :-)

Ok, on with the post (sorry it's a long one).
Just over two years ago, I went to see my GP to ask if I could see a counsellor.  I'd been going through a pretty rough time and was struggling to cope with everything that was going on in my life - little did I realise what was to come over the following year would be so much worse - but even so, I was in need of help.  So she put my name down on the waiting list.  I was told it could be a while (understatement), and while I was waiting I would be sent to see a mental health practitioner to start off the process.

About a year later, yes a year, I finally had an appointment come through to see the MH practitioner.  She was really nice, very easy to talk to and helped in many ways.  She explained that the few sessions I had with her would be a temporary measure until I was able to see the main counsellor but at least it was someone to confide in to begin with.  After discussing with her how I was struggling to cope with my health condition and the constant pain I'm always in, she put me on another waiting list to go to a Pain Management course, which I wrote all about here after going on the course last November/December.

Then finally in April this year, I had a letter arrive telling me to call to make an appointment with a counsellor.  When I called, the receptionist explained that due to the lockdown, all appointments would be over the phone for the foreseeable, which I was quite happy with, as it meant I could sit in comfort in my own home and not have the effort of going out (which I struggle with, with my health condition).  And so finally a few weeks later in May, after waiting for just over 2 years, I had the first of my appointments, that were to carry on for the following 8 weeks!  I was able to choose the day and time that suited me best too, which was sooo helpful and found that early evening was the best time to be able to talk.
I wanted to make sure that I made the most out of all the sessions, so during the time I'd been waiting to talk to her, I wrote lists and notes for everything that I wanted to discuss.  I planned to talk about one or two issues each session (as there were so many), so that I knew I'd covered everything.  And thankfully that plan turned out well.

Each week, I would go up to my room just before 6pm, get my notes out, my notebook and a packet of much-needed tissues and of course a bottle of water, and sit there ready with my mobile.  We talked through each problem and about how to either resolve them or cope with them better and by the end of each hour-long session, we'd spend 5 minutes at the end just calming down and she would check with me that I was ok and tell me to try and relax for the rest of the evening.

I also found it incredibly helpful to jot down notes as she was giving me advice and tips.  Because my memory is terrible and I knew over time I'd forget something important.  So to have those little notes there to always be able to refer to, is priceless.  I was also able to write down all the websites she gave me to look at and contact details for various helplines etc, for future reference, (some of which I'll leave below).

But after all that, I expect what you actually want to know is, did it help!?  And the simple answer is, yes 1000%.  I have been struggling with so many past issues and traumas that have been happening to me throughout my life as well as recently and still every day, and to be able to finally talk fully, completely openly and confidentially about everything with someone, was just what I needed.

As my counsellor told me, it doesn't always work for everyone, but there are so many different ways to help with depression, anxiety, PTSD etc.  Going to my GP, even though it was a long while ago, was the best decision I made.  It was the start of my healing process, the start of helping me feel like 'me' again!

After each session, I felt like a weight had been lifted.  Like I'd finally dealt with the issue and could put it safely in a drawer in my mind and move on.  Sure there will always be triggers for my issues, but I have coping methods now, I don't feel as mixed up anymore.
Before I started talking to my counsellor, I saw myself as a damaged, traumatised, depressed mess.  Confused, stressed, anxious and I just couldn't cope with life, I didn't want to and at times, even felt like I couldn't go on, life's struggles were just too much and too hard.

I still struggle, I'm not 'cured' but now I can finally see myself as a capable woman, who's stronger than I was before.  Who can deal with life better, calmer and I feel so much more focused and clearer in my mind.  I can see a way forward now instead of just feeling dragged down by my past and current problems.  Those that tried to help me, I used to ignore and push away because nothing made sense, I felt such a mess, I couldn't process anything.  But now I've been able to openly talk to the important people in my life and explain what was going on in my head, explain and apologies for letting them down or not being there when they needed me and to properly thank them for trying to help.  My mum for one, has always been there for me, no matter what.  A tower of love of strength, trying her best to help me.  At last now I feel I can be there better for her too.  And hopefully, it can only get better from here on out.

I've been told that if I do feel I need to talk to a counsellor again in the future, just to go back to my GP, but hopefully I won't need too, and there are loads of organisations that can help and be there for support along the way.
One of them is MIND, an amazing charity.  But I'm going to talk all about them in my next blog post, to coincide with a little giveaway I'm doing.

Another website my counsellor advised me to look at was - This website is AMAZING, absolutely full of problem solving tips, self help advice and mental exercises to help during panic attacks etc.  A very long list of various mental health issues and ways to help deal with them, as well as loads of general professional advice and so much more.  It would take a week or more to get through all the information that's on there but it's most definitely well worth looking at.  One of my favourite self help exercises is called 'Flipping the Thought Coin'.  Especially great for when you're feeling anxious about something particular.  Flip your thoughts, and try and think of the opposite feelings.  Instead of something terrible could happen, flip it to, what if it all goes well for instance.
There are loads of great tips like this, that I will be doing posts on in the coming months, so I really hope they help.

To finish off (at last), here's a list of contact details for various help centres and agencies.  If anyone would like to contact me for further help, please DM me on Twitter @DaniJ72 or message me on Instagram @crystalsparklydreams and I will get back to you.
C.A.L.L.Helpline - a free 24 hour helpline for Wales - 0800 123737.  Or text HELP to 81066 (I've spoken to someone a few times and they've been really helpful).
Parabl (North Wales only) 18 and over - 0300 7772257 -
Staying Safe - Help for anyone who is considering suicide - and an app called Stay Alive available on Google Play.
Samaritans - 08457 909090 -
So until next time, Stay Safe and Stay Happy

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