Counselling session 5: Upwards spiral.
This week has been a learning curve.
That curve has been upwards and it has been positive.
Biography of a nobody day 50. February 19th 2021.
As usual all- the below is my interpretation of a counselling session I had- I am likely hearing and writing what I wanted to remember. In no way am I a counsellor or mental health expert. If you find any of what I say relatable or something positive to work with then that is awesome- but if you are struggling with your own mental health then seek professional advice or relay to family and friends. Enjoy my session!
Before my counselling session...
I woke up at 9:30am to a phone call from my friend, I felt really clear and so I answered the phone happy and we had a fun conversation. A positive start to the day. I made the bed then went to check how Alex, Bee and Rusty were doing. After catching up on Alex's morning shenanigans from Bee I went for a quick shower to finish waking myself up, I took the towel I had used (Plus the bathroom basket) downstairs and then made myself a Tea... How am I so productive this morning? I didn't finish typing my affiliate link post until the early hours... so what has changed?
I am waking up feeling positive. That is the difference. When I am positive I am more productive.
I finished my breakfast then made my second tea of the day and awaited my counsellors call at 11:30.
Recounting my week...
As usual at the start of the session, I went over how my week had been- things I had done, things that had happened and how I felt about it. Usually, the major happenings as I remember them.
If you have been following my posts over the last week then you will likely remember, but here is a recap if you cant or if you are new to my blog:
Over the weekend something quite traumatic happened to someone very close to me. I decided to talk to friends online and I also carried on filling in my interview questions for my collaboration with AMALAwellness. I was supportive of the person and also took time for myself. I was proud of my reactions. I did not attempt to justify what happened or what other people did, I only attempted to justify my own actions- as per session 4 of my counselling- and as above, I was proud of how I acted.
Someone also requested something from me that I did not want to help with/give- so I refused. Normally when I am in a stressful situation I will submit, subconsciously then physically, to make life easier and avoid conflict.
On Monday I did fall slightly into disconnection. I started to not feel anything due to the stress of the event. My partner and I recognised this thanks to the psychology I had learned in session 2 of my counselling. Thanks to the recommendations from that session I decided to walk to the shop which got me moving and I started to feel better. I picked up my daughter and I kickstarted my brain into feeling, reconnecting and accepting the event. By the end of the evening, I had started writing again which helped me feel even better.
By mid-Tuesday I had fully accepted what had happened and then started to look at other traumatic events that I was holding on too and wondered if I could process them the same way. Understanding that I could never justify someone else's actions- as they may be struggling to justify their own- and then only judging or dwelling on my reactions to the events. I was happy with how I had reacted... so I let go of something that had previously really hurt me, I felt I had acted in a just way and so accepted the event. I did not actually realise I had fully done this until the counselling session today- but that process started on Tuesday.
The rest of my week was overwhelmingly positive. I saught contact with friends and family and had fun over the phone. My collaboration was published and I have received so much positive feedback, support and thanks- it has been amazing. I was really open and honest and was sharing some really raw parts of myself for others judgement in the hope that it could help someone. From the feedback, it would seem that it has helped a few people come to terms with their own mental health. The experience has proved to be eye-opening in so many ways. Thanks to all of you who have read it.
My counsellors feedback on my week...
Usually, after me explaining my week my counsellor would delve into some occurrences or move on to the theory of why something effected me or how I can come to term with events.
This week my counsellor instead explained exactly what I had done and why it was so important.
Over the weekend I experienced trauma:
What would have happened in the weeks before I started counselling is that I would have shut down and entered disconnection. I would then continually doubt and berate myself or I would become too lethargic to do anything or both. I would avoid contact with others. I would become subservient to all demands even if I didn't actually want to do whatever was requested of me- simply for an 'easier' life. I learned about the negativity of becoming too subservient in session 3 of my counselling.
What happened instead is that I accepted that the event occurred, I accepted that I cannot justify why others acted the way they did and I justified the way I acted in reaction to the event and others. I sought connection with others to help improve my state of mind rather than shutting myself away. I did enter disconnection but I quickly climbed out of that state of being with a set of actions that I can rely on. I then used that event and its acceptance to process another event that I was holding on to. I also protested a request even when I was in a low state of mind because I knew I did not want to do what was requested of me. The short term may have been easier but I would not have liked the long term outcome.
What this meant...
I was using every tool from all of my sessions. It wasn't just helping me through one event either- the momentum helped me understand, justify and process other events as well.
I had taken a very negative and traumatic event and used it to start an upward spiral. A spiral towards recovery, strength and positivity.
The next words that my counsellor said shocked me more than the obvious revelations that he had just identified to me.
I think you are ready to be discharged...
I did not know how to react. At first, I was sort of worried. Surely I am not ready... Am I? The idea of not having my counsellor explain... so much about myself... I... But...
Then my counsellor interrupted my inner dialogue of worried thoughts and said:
'You should be proud of yourself. You have started an upwards spiral. You have momentum. You have shown me that you can process incoming events whilst also utilising healthy means to assist yourself or seek help from people if you need it. Be proud of what you have achieved. I can tell the difference within you by the sound of your voice.'
I then finally began to understand the massive difference in how I felt. What I had achieved. How much I can actually do in a day- what I want to do in a day. I have made plans for the future. I have processed parts of my past and began to accept them. I have started actively re-engaging with friends and been open and honest about how I have been feeling. How I WAS feeling.
But I have only had FIVE sessions...
My counsellor explained that I had been engaged. I had been open and honest. I had read books and followed all recommendations. I had followed every possible option I could find to help myself and found that a few of them work. Of course they do.
The more lottery tickets you buy, the more likely you are to win...
Maybe that is a bad metaphor- no one wins the bloody lottery... You get what I mean though. If you provide yourself with every possible opportunity to help yourself or be helped... you are more likely to find something that works for you- obviously.
As I have quoted many times- 'Being weak is nothing to be ashamed of. Staying weak is' If I had not tried everything within my power to recover, once I realised that I was ill, then I would be ashamed of myself. I have also accepted that it is nothing to be ashamed of to need help. -The quote is from an anime called Black Clover if you wanted to know.
You may need more sessions?
You may have done everything that I have done and infinitely more- but still need more than five sessions, and that is absolutely fine. If you are someone who requires more time with your counsellor- remember that this isn't some sort of race. You may well have had much worse trauma than me, you may have less of a support network, you have not have been able to get as much time off work, you may have more responsibilities, your counsellor may not work the same or relate to you as well- or you may have non of those and still need more sessions. It really doesn't matter. You do you!
Don't measure yourself against ANYONE else.
I have even found it unhealthy to measure myself against past versions of myself. The past me may have handled things better but also hadn't experienced what I had.
'Don't look at what was or what could have been. Look at what is and what can be' (Balian 2021... I Just made that quote up!)
Do that and you will feel better. Do that and you are on your way to something better. -not make a quote up- I mean looking at today and tomorrow rather than yesterday. It may help you. It is also 1000x easier said than done. If little quotes like that actually made people feel better then anyone who tours Instagram, Pinterest or Reddit would never feel down. I am saying the above to myself after the experiences I have had lately.
You know what- I am pretty proud of that little quote I just made up... It is likely heavily influenced by other things I have heard? I have just google searched it and can't find it... So yeah, Balian original!
The session was drawing to a close and I realised that I am feeling great, but I am currently not working. Will I still feel this positive when I have the pressures of the workplace back on my shoulders? I decided that there was truly no way to actually know until I returned to work. With that in mind, I decided to schedule one final session on the 12th of March. That will give me 2 weeks back at work for me to review honestly if I am ready to stop my sessions and continue to work on my mental health on my own.
I am not alone...
I am realising now though, hours after my session, that I am no longer alone. Even without the counselling. I have stopped segregating how I feel truthfully out of my friendships and out of my family circle. They now all know how I feel. My partner now truthfully knows how I feel.
I am not alone anymore because everyone knows that I have been struggling and I may need help- and this time if they ask me how I feel... I won't just say 'I am ok' when I am not.
Not only will they ask because they now know- I will ask for help if I need it. I would not have done that before. The more I needed help the more I segregated myself because I was embarrassed that I needed help and I didn't want anyone to know. Everyone knows now, there is no embarrassment and nothing to hide. It isn't something to be ashamed of. I would prefer my friends to seek my help rather than feel how I have felt. So surely they feel the same way back. I know they do- they have told me. So, I am not alone.