Have you ever been to a therapist? Or thought about seeking out one? Would you tell people if you did? Mental health awareness is shockingly negligent in our society. So many of us are broken, and we’ve been told to just deal with it on our own. Seeking help for your mental health is seen as the absolute last step you can take before it is too late.
I had studied to become a counsellor, but life took me on another path. It made me realise how helpful a counselling session could be for someone going through a difficult time. Over time, as life went by, I never gave another thought to it.
Then I became a mom. Every emotion seemed intense and amplified. It was challenging to manage them all at once. Even with a supportive family, I felt I couldn’t express all I felt. I feared judgement and hurting their sentiments.
After my first session itself, I felt such an enormous boulder had lifted off my chest. I could say whatever I wanted without needing to censure myself. A lot of my feelings sorted themselves out. I got some helpful tips and workarounds since my counsellor was a mother herself. Those sessions helped me salvage some sanity in the first few years of motherhood.
Again, during the lockdowns, I felt the need to vent. We were all already stepping over each others’ toes, and the claustrophobia was getting to me. It helped me get to manage my feelings of helplessness about world events a little better. I also sought help with my marriage in an effort to understand my partner better.
I have shared my experiences with close friends (and now the public at large). But I feel that if I share it with many of the people I know, they would be scandalised that I felt I needed to take such a drastic step.
I had initially felt so guilty about seeking therapy. I felt that compared to a lot of people I know, my problems were like a fairytale. I realised that they might seem minor issues on the larger scale of things but were significant enough for me to seek help. If only we seek and get help before issues get out of hand, we would all be in much better places.
It is the one lesson I try and teach my child. If you’ve made a mistake, hurt yourself or someone, or something has happened you’re not comfortable with, let us parents know immediately. It gives us a chance to try and make it better before the problem gets worse.
Counselling is, of course, just the first step on the road to healing. There’s much work to be done between the sessions. Being aware of my feelings and reactions and finding tools to manage them is the most significant gift I have given myself. It is an ongoing process and not a quick-fix solution, but it is effective.
Many root causes of problems and their solutions come up in counselling sessions that seem pretty obvious, but you’ve been blissfully oblivious to them all. It just takes a helping hand to guide you through the dark corners of your mind and light a candle for you to see better.
If you’ve read this far, take it as a sign to speak your heart out to someone today.
With much love…