Becky came to Wellspring earlier this year and here she shares about her counselling journey.
(Client and counsellor name have been changed to maintain confidentiality.)
I have suffered from periods of mild depression and anxiety for over 20 years. My issues seemed to be connected to an insecurity with relationships, so at the time I felt that making myself vulnerable with those I loved would threaten the very thing I was fearful of losing.
I had always felt desperate for someone to talk to that was not family or friends but counselling seemed an unaffordable option for me. I had heard about Wellspring, and whilst I am an occasional church-goer, I was wary that I didn’t want to experience religious bias in the sessions.
I was uncomfortable putting myself forward for counselling.
I didn’t want to take the place of someone who might be more deserving than myself and I felt I was probably better off than many people who find themselves in desperate situations. I expressed these doubts to a community leader who was asking me how my “head was”. He reassured me that the counselling sessions at Wellspring were not religiously biased, and that as humans, every single one of us deserves to have help of this kind. Also, that I could decide how much I wanted to pay for each session. I came away from that meeting feeling thrilled and empowered and contacted Wellspring immediately.
It was a couple of months before my first appointment came up, ironically, by then, I was going through a “good phase” and felt fine, and I was not feeling the need for any help! But being anxious not to let people down, I decided to go to the first appointment.
The entrance hallway was beautifully calm and warm, with sofas, magazines and soft background music. I immediately felt nurtured by my surroundings. Martha, my counsellor came to collect me and took me up to a small and comfortable sunny room. I explained to her that I didn’t need to be here, that I was absolutely fine. I talked about how I had been depressed and anxious on and off in the past, so maybe I could use this session to get tips on how to how to cope with negative feelings in the future. I also apologised for wasting her time and taking the place of someone needier. I assured her this would be my only session! Martha, in her kind and professional manner skilfully got me to open up.
By the end of the session I realised that this could be the start of a journey.
I realised that it was OK for me to be here, and to explore the reasons for my past unhappiness and anxiety. Martha was lovely, warm, friendly and always gave my feelings importance, however unworthy or trivial I judged them to be!
I was adamant from the start that I didn’t want to start blaming my parents for my unhappiness, as I had always considered myself to have had a good childhood. But over the next few weeks it became clear to me that despite this, there were some events that have had huge impacts on me as an adult. And these needed to be acknowledged.
A revelation for me was learning that the recurring mental anguish I suffer from today is nearly always a pain from the past.
I learned that I don’t need to fall for the first emotion I feel and let that define me, and that the shame and guilt I often suffer comes from the uncomfortableness of expressing my own needs and feelings. Most importantly I have learned that I have done nothing wrong, and that I should feel proud of the way I work and who I am. And hand on heart, I do believe that now.
Martha also helped me to realise I needed to develop a more positive view of myself and with that came some fun exploration. What is my style? Do I take time to celebrate my achievements? While this seemed a little self-indulgent to me, I have realised the importance it has when it comes to building a solid sense of self and a positive self-esteem.
I am pleased to say I have not been down or depressed since my last session, a few months ago. That’s not to say that I don’t think it will happen again, but I now feel I have the tools and knowledge to deal with whatever comes next. I am surer of myself when I speak to others, and most importantly I am proud of being who I am. I consider the sessions I had at Wellspring, a pivotal and enlightening part of my journey. And I would not now be afraid to seek help again, when I need it.