Counselling Update

Counselling Update

I thought I would give you a counselling update, as it’s been a while since I shared my counselling introduction and I wanted to let you know what’s happened since.

My appointments are on Wednesdays and they last 50 minutes per session. I have had three appointments so far and, in an hour, will be attending my fourth.

Week One – 13th June 2018

In my first week, I met my counsellor and the whole idea was to get to know each other. It was a different lady to the one who did my introduction, but she was still very nice. Before we started, she offered me a glass of water and made sure I felt comfortable.

She explained that the type of counselling they offered meant the session was ultimately led by me. So, whatever I wanted to talk about, she would work with it. I didn’t like this at first. However, I think my counsellor recognised this so she gently encouraged me with a few questions to set the ball rolling. Still, I found it difficult to talk about myself so much. It wasn’t even the nature of the conversation which I struggled with – just the fact I had to carry the conversation.

Around 20 minutes into my appointment, I became comfortable and felt the words just spilling out of my mouth. I told her everything which came to mind, including experiences which I hadn’t discussed for a long time, if at all.

Together, we identified how I had held onto a lot of negative things that people had said to me, and allowed them to shape the person I was, and how I felt about myself.

Her suggestion was to think of myself how my nieces think of me instead. I had gushed about them at several points during the appointment, and she had been quick to point out how children are not born judging others. She said they probably loved me equally in return and believed I was wonderful. Going forward, she said I should try to see myself through their eyes. I liked this, because my nieces mean so much to me. They have changed my life and I know they love me. So, it felt like something I could work with.

Week Two – 20th June 2018

I went to this appointment feeling good. I had had a good week and even after only one appointment had started to feel the benefits of counselling.

We discussed my progress. It wasn’t until this happened that I became aware of how much I had achieved during the week. My counsellor was thrilled and suggested I started to write all the things which make me feel good in a book. Given how many notebooks I have, I knew this was a task I could do. I have been doing it since, and I’ve loved it. It encourages me to stop and think about what is good in my day and my life.Β It reminds me of when I was younger. My mum and I used to have a thing where we would name our good thing of the day. We’d often do this when we were walking home from school, and I love those memories.

The other reason I loved this session was some of the things my counsellor told me. We discussed my strong negative feelings about myself and she told me:

Think of your life like an old-fashioned train which uses coal to run. For the past 15 years, you’ve been putting bad coal on the fire, and you’ve been moving, but not necessarily in the right direction. As you describe it, you’ve been driving yourself into a foggy place where you can’t see clearly. You are still the one in control. Now, imagine if you put good coal onto that fire and began turning the train in a new direction – a positive one. It will take you a while to turn it around, but it’s possible.

For me, this image was powerful and helped me to realise that the person thinking all of these negative thoughts all the time is me, so I’m also the one who can change them, hard as it may be.

Another way she made me see I’m the one letting the negative thoughts live inside my head was by asking “when it rains, do you get wet or do you put an umbrella up?” Naturally, I said I put an umbrella up, and she replied:

Exactly – it’s the same with negative thoughts. When they start coming in, put something up to defend yourself. Say “no, I’m not listening to you today.”

I loved this so much, I bought this print to remind me of it.

By the time I got home, I felt empowered and like I could take on the world.

Week Three – 27th June 2018

The day before this appointment, something happened in my life which upset me. I didn’t know what to do with it, and I hadn’t really had time to process it before my appointment. So, when I got there, I made use of the opportunity to discuss it, and I cried. Nobody enjoys crying but I absolutely hate doing it in front of people, especially when I don’t know them very well. It made me feel uncomfortable. Yet, it was necessary and there was no way I could have held it in.

Discussing it enabled me to make sense of why it had impacted me the way it did, though. It wasn’t that my response was illogical, but the event had hit me very hard, and it seemed disproportionate. Together, we identified the causes and I felt better. It didn’t seem like I was an emotional mess, just that there were underlying issues which had all coming flooding to the front at once.

Other than that, I had another good week, so we spent the last ten minutes discussing that. I shared some of the things I had written in my notebook and the session ended on a positive note.

Despite her efforts to get me to a better place, this was the first time I left my appointment still feeling low. Tuesday was still looming over me, and all the crying had left me drained. I met Neal for lunch and then called my parents in the evening. My sister was visiting them and I was able to speak to her, too. What I realised was, even though I didn’t feel good, I had reached out and talked about it. So, that felt like progress.

By bedtime, I felt much calmer.

I stand by my decision to attend counselling. It has forced me to face up to things I had buried, which were having a toxic effect on me, even if I didn’t realise it. This hasn’t been easy but it is, so far, proving to be worth it. I’m interested to see where the rest of the journey takes me.

Counselling update

26 Comments

  1. 4th July 2018 / 12:18 pm

    This was really interesting to read Ruth. Thank you for sharing your counselling experience so far. I love the idea of writing all the things that make you feel good in a notebook. That sounds like such a positive thing to do. I think I’ll try that too – it’s always nice to focus on the good. Great tip, thank you 😘🌷 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      4th July 2018 / 3:47 pm

      No problem, lovely! It really does make a difference, especially because I had a tendency to let one bad thing ruin my entire day, so now I can look and think “Oh, all these good things happened, too – it wasn’t so bad afterall!” πŸ™‚ x

  2. 4th July 2018 / 3:33 pm

    I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying your sessions (at least for the most part).
    I spent 6 weeks in counseling after I gave birth, due to severe PPD. As a teen I was often depressed, which carried over into my adult life as anxiety. Even though I had anxiety, I absolutely thought PPD would just skip me, and not be something I’d have to go through. Boy was I wrong. It was the worst depression I have ever felt. But I knew, for my sons sake, that I had to treat it. So I started going to counseling at the postpartum outpatient unit at our hospital. I’ve had counseling in the past growing up, but it was never really something I enjoyed, or even found helpful. This was different. It was amazing. I was connected with the perfect counselor for me, by chance, and it really helped me to sort out things that were completely irrelevant to PPD. I was comfortable talking to her. I went to my first session in a Valium haze with my husband to support me, totally numb to anything I was being asked. 6 weeks later I was told by my counselor I was the best patient she had ever had in terms of progress. She taught me about something I had never practiced before, mindfulness. I highly recommend researching mindfulness, it has helped me so much with anxiety and depression. Perhaps I will write a mindfulness post inspired by you. Keep up the great work, you will be so happy you made this positive choice! πŸ™‚

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      4th July 2018 / 3:47 pm

      That’s wonderful – I’m so glad you were able to get the help you needed and come out of it stronger. I’ve heard of mindfulness before, but I’ll need to take a proper look into it. Thanks for the advice πŸ™‚

  3. 4th July 2018 / 4:33 pm

    Should be so proud of making that first step! You are moving in the right direction. I am going through cbt at the moment so I know sometimes the journey is tough. But you can do it. I wish you well with the rest of your counselling journey x

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      4th July 2018 / 9:10 pm

      Thank you very much. Good luck with your CBT journey, too. x

  4. 4th July 2018 / 5:38 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I really liked the part about being a train!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      4th July 2018 / 9:10 pm

      My pleasure! Me too, really helped to put my thought processes into something I could make sense of.

  5. 4th July 2018 / 6:07 pm

    I loved reading this, it’s good to know how you’re getting what what you’re enjoying as well as what you are finding difficult. Thanks for being brave enough to share it makes me want to go back to counselling but I get so nervous and incredibly anxious

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      4th July 2018 / 9:11 pm

      My pleasure. I understand that – my nerves and anxiety were quite high today and I almost cancelled my appointment, but I do think it’s worth it. All in your own time, though.

  6. 4th July 2018 / 8:51 pm

    I’m glad to know things are going so well for you with counselling! πŸ™‚ I know your last one didn’t go so well but thats to be expected- not every time can be perfect unfortunately πŸ™ I’ve been thinking about going back to counselling myself, but I’ve had so many bad experiences with them over the last 10 years; its really put me off from going back :/ I’ve been thinking of paying for private rather than going through the NHS though, my friend sees someone who’s absolutely lovely and helping her so much, so I might have to get her number πŸ™‚ xx

    Jade | jademarie.co.uk

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      4th July 2018 / 9:12 pm

      I’ve heard private is much better, so I think I’m just lucky with who I’ve found. It could be worth looking into it. I always think if it’s going to help you in the long run, it’s worth it, even if some sessions are tricky! πŸ™‚

  7. 4th July 2018 / 11:46 pm

    I think you’re very brave for going to counseling and also sharing it with us! Thank you for letting people know that it’s not weak to talk, and get help when you need it. I agree with what you were told in your first appt. If I’m having a bad day, I always turn to my son, who I know loves me and thinks I’m amazing. Keep it up Ruth ❀️❀️

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      5th July 2018 / 8:49 am

      Thank you very much, lovely πŸ™‚ That means a lot to me.

  8. 5th July 2018 / 9:01 am

    Good for you, Ruth. Keep taking care of yourself. Remember, you deserve to love yourself with all the love you offer others.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      5th July 2018 / 9:37 am

      Thank you, Andrea! You are wonderful. πŸ™‚

  9. 5th July 2018 / 10:38 am

    Thank you so much for sharing such a personal experience with us, you are so brave. I love the umbrella analogy, it’s perfect. It reminds me of the saying that when storms come we need to learn to dance in the rain. And thinking of yourself the way your nieces do is genius, that’s something I’m going to try and remember whenever I have a bad day: love myself the way Flora loves me. I hope counselling continues to help you and thank you again for such a fantastic post, Ruth. x

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      5th July 2018 / 11:52 am

      Absolutely – it was such a simple idea but when I catch myself thinking negative things, I ask myself if either of my nieces would say that to me, and I know the answer is no.

      Thank you for reading and leaving such a wonderful comment, as you always do, Lisa!

  10. 5th July 2018 / 11:40 am

    What a lovely post to read! I’m glad counselling is going well for you and I hope it continues to do so. I too love to that quote about the rain!!

    Kate xx
    http://www.mummywho.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      5th July 2018 / 11:53 am

      Thank you very much – I really appreciate you reading and commenting! πŸ™‚

  11. 5th July 2018 / 3:51 pm

    This is a wonderful review that really highlights the realities of counselling! I haven’t been to see a therapist in over a year now, but I remember those first few appointments with my old counsellor and they were truly a mixed bag, but a good mixed bag, and just having someone impartial to talk to was the best part for me!

    Cordelia || cordeliamoor.squarespace.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      5th July 2018 / 6:40 pm

      I completely agree! There are things I choose not to discuss with my nearest and dearest because, as much as I know they love me, it just doesn’t feel right. Plus, I like that it’s 50 minutes where somebody is really present – no mobile phones or anything like that.

  12. 5th July 2018 / 4:58 pm

    This is great to read. I’m happy you’re finding it beneficial – it won’t always be easy, but your counsellor genuinely sounds GREAT. I hope you continue to reap the benefits xx

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      5th July 2018 / 6:40 pm

      I think I have to remind myself it’s not supposed to be easy sometimes. You know, I’ve got to dig deep if I want to get some benefit. Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

  13. 13th July 2018 / 12:23 pm

    LOVED this post <3 I've just qualified as a Counsellor myself so I'm so pleased it worked for you! I see a counsellor on a regular basis also and I love it. Finding a Counsellor you click with makes such a big difference. Keep us updated on how it goes <3 I am also soo pinching the train and rain analogy – I really think creating an image for people sometimes is such a powerful tool. xxx

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th July 2018 / 1:43 pm

      Thank you! Well done on qualifying as a counsellor. That’s wonderful! The train and rain analogies are among some of the most helpful things she has said to me and I feel they will stick with me for a long time, so you should definitely pinch them if it will help someone else! πŸ™‚

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