Updated: Oct 11, 2018
The stigma of mental health can leave you feeling that you are the only one struggling with life and that no one else understands what you are going through. The good news is you are not alone and no one escapes life's challenges.
Reaching out for help can be a daunting experience, however the sooner you ask for help the easier it is to work through the problems. By avoiding professional help, the problem can actually get worse. It is in the most difficult times that you need the help the most.
1 in 5 people have engaged in counselling and half of the population knows someone who has engaged in counselling. (BACP)
Self-care is a way of life that promotes your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Society says that the harder you work the bigger the reward, but in reality the more you sacrifice, the more you become overwhelmed and exhausted. It becomes counter-productive. Acknowledging your worth and prioritising your mental health is not lazy or selfish but absolutely necessary. Reaching out for support and sharing your difficulties can be liberating and cathartic.
2. Sometimes friend and family aren't enough
It can be comforting to have friends and family to turn to in times of trouble, however they can at times offer advice and jump into 'fixing' the problem and offering solutions. When this happens the focus moves from you to them and your experience gets lost.
If you are known by your friends and family as the 'strong one' or the one who is always in control it can be scary to share with them that you are struggling and it can leave you feeling vulnerable and judged.
Counselling differs as it focuses on your unique experiences and providing you with a safe place to open up at your own pace without judgement.
3. Develop new perspectives and coping strategies
When you are having a tough time in life it can often leave you feeling stuck with no way out but counselling can help you explore your troubles and feelings, helping you to see things more clearly or from a different perspective.
Being unable to escape your problems can create a pattern of thinking or behaving in a certain way that does not promote your mental and emotional wellbeing. For example if you are relying on food, drugs, alcohol, self-harm or unhealthy relationships as comfort, counselling can support you to find different, healthier ways of coping.
By supporting you to make sense of what you are experiencing, counselling can help you to see your situation differently and offer yourself the compassion and self-acceptance you deserve.
4. Greater understanding of yourself
Exploring your emotions with a counsellor allows you to understand yourself better and this can help you connect with yourself and others and enjoy more fulfilling relationships. Counselling offers a safe, confidential place where you can grow and develop, helping you find a language for your feelings and understanding that change is a journey, not a single step. Learning more about what makes you happy and what triggers difficulties for you can provide you with more choices in your life.
5. Improving physical health
Sometimes feeling exhausted and rundown is an indicator that your mental health is being neglected. Emotional and psychological distress can manifest itself physically leaving you suffering headaches and colds and cause difficulty sleeping and functioning throughout the day. Sharing your distress with a counsellor can be a huge relief as it prevents you from trying to do it all on your own.