Today, I got discharged from my series of counselling sessions. I didn’t get a certificate of achievement or a medal. No song and dance, or round of applause. Instead I got something so much better. I got my confidence back. I got my smile back. I got me back. The me I used to be about ten years ago when I was confident, I had a job I loved, I felt like people valued my opinion and the knowledge I had. Not the me that was in Meltdown Monday
As my counsellor pointed out at our very first session, I’ve been through a lot in the last ten years. We’ve been through two house buys, moved to a completely new village and made new friends, we’ve had two kids, I’ve given up work, I’ve started on a new career path. Nothing that a lot of people don’t go through in their late 20’s and early 30’s. I’ve always said this, I’m not different or special, I’ve just got a bit overwhelmed by life. It’s all piled up in my head and it finally needed to get out.
I’ve learned so much over the last three months. I’ve learnt why I am the way I am. I’ve learned why other people may be the way they are. I’ve learnt to accept my emotions. I’ve realised that the random shaking I sometimes get is, as I suspected, a reaction to my mental state rather than anything else. It’s happening now while I write this.
By accepting my emotions, I’ve learnt to manage my them. That it’s OK to have highs and lows and, by understanding that, I’ve had more of the highs and less of the lows.
It’s been a hard process. My first four sessions saw me in floods of tears for the whole hour. I drove home sobbing and shaking after a few appointments. I needed to make room around me to process what I’d just talked about. I needed quiet time to contemplate and think.
My last two sessions involved only smiles. I didn’t need that tissue box and there was laughter back in that room where previously there’d only been tears. I’ve seen a marked improvement in my PMS symptoms too, which I hope will continue. Even if they don’t I feel better able to manage them now.
I’ve been involved in something new and exciting over the last few months, which I’ll hopefully be able to talk about soon, and yesterday I got to enjoy the fruition of some of that work. Someone took a chance on me a few months ago and it’s been a big part of helping me through this too but I don’t think I could have done what I did yesterday without having been through the counselling process.
Despite how hard it’s been I wouldn’t have done it any differently. To finally say out loud all of those things that have been eating me up inside for so long. To have a patient, calm, understanding stranger who just listened. He’d occasionally pipe in with the odd word of wisdom but largely he waited for me to get everything out. He validated my irrationality and got rid of the guilt I had about a lot of these emotions.
I feel so grateful to have met him and spent time with him. I owe him so much but today he said something that, for once, I actually believed. It’s me that’s done all of this. I’ve been willing to talk and work out what I needed to do. He’s pointed me in the direction but it’s me that’s done all the hard work. I usually downplay my own achievements, but for once I’m basking in my success. No-one else needs to congratulate me, that’s not what I want. For once, I’m giving myself a pat on the back and accepting that I did good!
So how did I celebrate today? Sadly, not with a swim, I was struck down with a chest infection last week so freezing my bits off has been put on hold for a bit. Instead I headed out to my favourite view to drink in my home. From this spot I can see the bleak summit of Kinder Scout, Chinley Churn, Eccles Pike (both of which I can see from my bedroom window), my local swim spot, Windgather Rocks where we take our kids scrambling and the Goyt Valley. It’s my favourite place and my basic SLR and iphone just don’t do it justice. I sat for ten peaceful minutes and just grinned!