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People seek counselling for all sorts of personal reasons. Some have had a personal trauma of some sort, some just need a helping hand to find the direction they want to take in life. Others just need someone to listen to them.
I have been seeing my counsellor, Kirsten, for 2 years now. If you have read my previous review you will know that the reason for this is because my mum commited suicide. At the time my family and friends all told me to go and see a counsellor. I refused, mainly because I didnt feel the need to speak to a total stranger about my problems and didnt feel it would do me any good. I encouraged my Dad to go, and it did help him, but still I felt I didnt need it. I suppose part of me was also ashamed. It made me feel as though I was a weak person if I couldn't work things through by myself. I know now how stupid that is but it was the main reason I didnt go at first.
Anyway 2 years after my mum died I started to suffer from depression. My Dr was brilliant. One day I sat with him and just cried for 2 hours solid. He gave me the usual anti depressants and also spoke to me about counselling. I agreed to go just to stop him going on about it, and took the phone numbers he gave me but had no intentions of actually phoning it.
A couple of days later, my Dad got really upset at the state I was in and begged me to call the counselling services. As I hated seeing my Dad like that, I did phone. The Dr had given me a few phone numbers to call, and I phoned The Wynd Centre in Paisley as they were the ones with a centre closest to my home. The woman I spoke to was very helpful and friendly and I made an appointment for two weeks later.
I put it to the back of my mind so I wasnt worrying about it. On the day though I was a nervous wreck! My appointment wasnt until 7.30pm and I lost count of the number of times that day I picked up the phone to cancel. Luckily my boyfriend at the time was amazing and worked really hard to keep me calm.
When I eventually got there, I was introduced to Kirsten and taken into a small sitting room. The room was painted in relaxing colours, and had comfy armchairs and a couch if you wanted to lie down. There was even a box of tissues on the table! My first session lasted 90 minutes, which I did feel was a little too long, although I could have left any time I wanted. To be honest I hardly remember anything about that night, but when I asked Kirsten about it she told me all i did was cry the whole time. I didnt talk at all.
I went back a week later, feeling much calmer than I had the previous week as I now knew what to expect. This time though, was much harder. Kirsten asked some gentle questions to get me talking, then it all started to pour out. Everything I had bottled up for 2 years came gushing out in a torrent. I'm not sure exactly what I expected from the sessions. Think I wanted someone to tell me exactly what I needed to do to get over it and that obviously didnt happen. Instead Kirsten sat and listened. When I came out that night I was emotionally exhausted.
The following week was a bit better. Kirsten started to show me some relaxation techniques, simple things like breathing exercises, which really did make a difference to me when I started to feel as if it was all getting on top of me. She also suggested I write a letter to my mum explaining that I felt angry and guilty, and why I felt like this. When I left the session that night, I decided I wasnt going back. I knew that to sit down and write about my feelings would be making it real if that makes sense?
I missed my appointment the following week and Kirsten phoned me. She persuaded me to go back. When I did go I told her why I had decided to stop coming. She was wonderful and reassured me that I didnt need to do anything I didnt want to do until I was ready.
We spent the next few sessions talking through my problems, and I actually surprised myself by starting to make sense of it all in my head. I realised that what I was feeling was a totally natural reaction to what had happened and that it wasnt either my fault or my mums. It was one of those things, and what I had to do now was learn to come to terms with it in my own way.
Gradually, I cut my counselling sessions down from once a week to once a fortnight to once a month. I still go every two months and probably will for a good while to come.
I have learned through this that counselling is nothing to be ashamed of. It doesnt mean your 'psychologically disturbed' like I used to think it did, and it can make a real difference. Through counselling, I have come to realise that while the pain of losing my mum in the way that I did will never go away, there are ways of learning to live with it. There are people out there who want to help you, if you'll only just let them. I'm just sorry I wasted two years bottling everything up before I took the plunge and got help!