Time for your ‘self’ through counselling
How much time do you spend doing what you feel you need to, to help maintain positive mental health? A lot of people are time poor. With the instantaneous nature of technology that so many of us rely on, we now live in a very fast-paced world. The restrictions imposed on our lives because of the Covid-19 pandemic may have made some of us feel like things have slowed down, but even so, it doesn’t mean we use the time we do have to benefit how we feel.
When we are struggling with our mental health, the first port of call is usually our GP to seek help. Our health service is under more pressure now than ever. GPs, for example, simply don’t have the time to spend with their patients. With a 10 minute appointment, how can they really have chance to get to know their patients and understand what is going on for them, particularly in terms of their mental health? This isn’t their fault. I’m sure there are many healthcare workers out there who wish they could give their patients a lot more of their time, but they simply can’t with the pressure they are under. This can leave people feeling hopeless and frustrated, especially when they have complex mental health issues that they feel they just can’t deal with alone.
Trying to overcome a mental health problem is not easy. Far from it. If that was the case, we wouldn’t be hearing on the news so frequently about the ‘mental health crisis’ that is sweeping across the UK. But there is no quick fix when it comes to mental health. Trying to improve our mental health and overcome our problems takes time. And as we’ve just outlined, time is something people don’t seem to have, or allow themselves.
But what if we made time for ourselves a priority, to allow us to see what’s really going on for us? Seeing a counsellor can enable this. It gives an allocated time just for you, to work on your ‘self’.
What do we mean by ‘self’?
What I mean by ‘self’ is the true parts of us. Our ‘self’ is fluid – we are not the same person throughout our lives. We experience things that can affect and change us, for the better or for worse. There are many different aspects to our ‘self’ and some of these we would rather ignore, because it is too uncomfortable or painful to do otherwise. But when we don’t acknowledge these parts of us, it can be as if we are living a lie. Even though it can cause discomfort to look at the parts of us that we would rather shun, this discomfort is temporary and can actually lead to us feeling liberated.
We can only look at our true ‘self’ and express how we feel when we allow ourselves to. Yet sometimes, even when we allow ourselves to, it doesn’t mean that our emotions will be accepted. Have you ever been in tears, only to have some tell you, “don’t cry”? Have you ever been really angry, only to have someone tell you to “calm down”? Or maybe you’ve felt really overwhelmed, and have been told to simply “get over it” or “pull yourself together.” All this does is stop us expressing how we feel and it’s not good for us. It can leave us feeling even more upset, angry or frustrated, or it can even leave us feeling numb, as we learn to supress our emotions.
A counsellor is an impartial person with your best interests at heart, who allows you to be heard and will accept whatever it is you are feeling. There is a reason why many people say they feel like a weight has been lifted off them after counselling – they have been given the time to be able to let out how they are feeling without it being shut down. It gives you the time and space to be your ‘self’. You don’t have to accommodate other people’s needs or be/do what is expected of you. When you live your life according to others, there is no longer room for you and this can lead to feelings of emptiness. When seeing a counsellor, you are given the time and space to work out what it really is you are feeling and who you really are, which can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.