What I learned about seeing a counsellor

When I went to the Student Wellbeing Centre, it was an admission to myself that I needed help. 

People have problems, we all do, but of course there’s a line where it all becomes overwhelming and for me, the smallest thing would trigger such intense emotions. I didn’t think I could handle it anymore.

My trip to the Counselling Service in the Wellbeing Centre was an interesting, beneficial experience that I would recommend to anyone who just needs to talk to someone outside of their situation or ‘bubble’ and below are some things I took away from the experience.

1) It’s okay not to be okay

When I went to speak to the councillor, I went in thinking I only had one seriously overwhelming issue, but actually, talking out loud and just word vomiting all of your feelings, I realised I had some very real insecurities I needed to deal with myself.

The councillor isn’t there to judge you, they’re there to listen and help you probe what’s bothering you, and for me, that was eye-opening.

I may have bawled my eyes out and used seven or eight tissues, but to be fair, it wasn’t necessarily about my actual issues, it was more relief I had someone to just listen and who didn’t know anyone connected. A fresh perspective. And it’s something I appreciated greatly.

I’d maybe wept on my own a little bit, but finally being able to cry my little heart out was somehow uplifting as I finally felt a massive pressure off my shoulders and I could finally be honest about how I felt with someone.

2) You can’t blame yourself for everything

It’s fair to say I still blame myself for most of my problems, and that’s something I’m trying to work on myself and I’m hoping with more counselling sessions, I can do that.

But what the experience did make me realise was that nothing can be completely your fault. People change, circumstances change, and you have to accept that you can’t control everything.

As someone who likes to be very black and white and have clear reasoning for everything, that was quite difficult for me to accept, but I think slowly, I’m getting there.

3) Grieving takes time

As I alluded to in my previous point, I’m someone who likes to know where they stand, and I like to address change as soon as I can.

But as my councillor mentioned, correctly I admit, grievance takes time. Whether it’s over a relationship, a death or just something very close to you, there’s no quick fix.

As logical as that may sound, when you’re in the situation, you just want to escape the pain, the intense emotions. Unfortunately you can’t.

This is another reason why I wanted help, because all of these feelings were starting to affect how I treated others. Rightly or wrongly, it wasn’t me.

I would snap at people I would never do, I would make stupid comments just to make others feel crap, and that wasn’t healthy or what a decent human being should act like.

4) Confidentiality is nice, talking can be hard though

Again, maybe an obvious point, but knowing that what you say to a councillor stays in the four walls of the room you’re talking in, is really nice.

However, when you’re talking, your councillor may not tell you everything you want to hear.

For example, mine said: “Do you ever take a minute and to appreciate your life?”

I mean, when you’ve been through some sort of grievance, and your generally feeling unhappy about life, there isn’t much to appreciate, but anyway…

However, it can be what you need at the same time. Talking about those difficult subjects with someone who won’t necessarily tell you if you’re right or wrong can be very … relieving.

If you’re like me, and you don’t want to pressure your friends with your problems, no matter how good they are, or even your family, then you should definitely see a councillor, even for the most basic need of talking to someone.

5) It’s going to be a journey

I’ve now been put on a waiting list to have six sessions with my councillor, and of course, just after the one meeting, I’ve not solved all my issues.

They’re still there, and I’m having a daily battle with them. But it’s getting easier … I think.

One of my biggest issues are triggers, for anyone can relate, just seeing someone can set off a Pandora’s box of emotions.

The best simile I can think of is, I feel like a drug user who’s in rehab, but I’m dangerously close to relapsing at any minute.

But the counselling has helped, and I’m on the path of recovery. I can feel it.

I really hope this post can help anyone who’s going through anything similar or anyone who has any doubts about seeing a councillor.

It’s a stressful time of the year of course, but any difficulties you face, you can get through it, I promise.

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