Monday was my last counselling session. The reason the title says “for now” is I wouldn’t be against going back again, should I need to.
Over the course of 6 months, I had 20 sessions. Some were easier than others. Sometimes, I would dread my appointment. Other times, I would look forward to it.
Week in, week out, I would turn up and say, “nothing much has happened this week”, before opening up and realising… a lot had happened. Either growth or setbacks. Being given the opportunity to really reflect on the week helped me to highlight things I’d ignored.
These chats lasted around 20 out of the 50 minutes, and the next 30 minutes would be spent delving into deeper issues. We discussed a variety of things – from being bullied when I was younger to my current travelling anxiety. Surprising topics popped up once in a while, and I was forced to face the reality of how much events from the past still burdened me. I explored parts of my mind which had been left untouched for a long time.
Now that it’s over, I feel sad, and strange. I feel sad because I really liked my counsellor, so it feels like losing a friend. I feel strange because it became a staple in my routine. It was an excuse to take a break, get out of the flat and just talk. Knowing I don’t have that anymore knocks me off balance slightly.
I knew this time had to come, though. It was never going to last forever, and this is a natural part of the process. The timing was right. Still, I think it’s going to take a little while to adjust.
Counselling was good for me in a lot of ways. I’ve made no secret of how beneficial it’s been in my journey. It wasn’t a magical fix for all my problems, and there are still things I need to work on. They are part of a much longer process. Expecting 20 counselling sessions to sort 27 years of stuff would be a tall ask!
At the time, though, I just needed a reminder that how I was feeling was nothing to be ashamed of, and that I was in control. I could choose to let go of the past or continue letting them drag me down. It’s not that straightforward, of course, but in some ways, it was.
I was filling my time fixating on things I shouldn’t be. I needed to refocus my attention to what I had, rather than what I lacked. Instead of obsessing over all the negative things people have said to and about me, I needed to start paying attention to the good stuff, too.
As a result of counselling, I now have a happy things book, which I’ve mentioned before. It has had such a positive impact on my outlook. Every night, I write down good things about the day. I’m not going to lie – some days, I have to search much harder than others. However, I almost always find something. Going for a walk with Neal. Hearing a song I really liked. Having waffles. All sorts of things end up in there. Sometimes, it gets repetitive, but that’s okay. It means I go to sleep happy, rather than worrying about 101 things.
Counselling has given me a better understanding of not only myself, but others, too. It has strengthened my relationships. That’s a wonderful thing to have as I move forward.
My counsellor has made it very clear to me that I can sign up again if I need help. Be that as it may, I feel it’s time to test the waters and see how I fair without it. I feel stronger than I did, and better equipped to deal with a lot of things. I am more comfortable discussing how I feel with people in my life, and realise I don’t have to let toxic thoughts stew in my mind.
Counselling has done as much it can right now, I think. It helped me out of the darkness when I needed that the most. I know I have as much right to the help as anybody else does, but I’d hate to think of getting in the way of somebody else who may feel as hopeless as I did 6 months ago. It’s time to let somebody else have the experience and, hopefully, benefit from it as much as I have.
I’ve written about the journey overall for The Counsellor’s Café if you would like to have a read.