The hardest part is picking up your telephone. It took me one month between the time my GP gave me the phone number after I’d asked for help and the day I gathered up the courage to ring the number. It took a bit longer to get everything set up, and by the time I actually started my counselling sessions, the pandemic was all happening which meant that my sessions were online. I did not mind as that was the new way and I was well used to working in front of a computer all day by that stage. It also gave me more time to “digest” what had happened.
When my cousin took his own life seventeen months ago, it was such a shock that I did not cry for a few days. It took me a while until I could talk about it, but then who can you really talk to about it? I felt a certain shame about having lost my cousin to suicide. It was like my family had that flaw, that imperfection, which made us stand out and look inferior to others. We had failed my cousin by allowing him to die. Once you start to open up a bit, you realise that, unfortunately, a lot of people know someone who has taken their own life, whether in their family, among their school friends or even work colleagues.
That is why it is so important to talk about it and turn shame and guilt into constructive talk and reconstruction, and hopefully be able to make a difference and save someone’s life. It is OK not to be OK and you should always talk when you have issues. A burden is lightened by half when it is shared. No problem is unsolvable once you start talking about it. I believe that, in the long run, talking and doing counselling can help with long-term effects of tragedies, and probably prevent some from occurring. It may not solve the whole problem, but it will surely ease the way towards finding a solution.
I never thought I’d be doing counselling in the middle of a world pandemic, but I felt I needed professional help to come to terms with what had happened. Talking, reflecting, analysing, remembering, questioning… everything helps you reach acceptance. You cannot get the same outcome if you talk to your friends and your family. They know you, they know your story and they cannot be neutral or unbiased. Likewise, I do not think you can be completely honest and truthful with people you know. You need a professional counsellor to help you to get to the bottom of it all, to allow you to be raw and honest with yourself and to guide you.
Through my sessions with my counsellor, I have learnt that being kind to myself helps showing kindness to others. We talked a lot about my cousin, but also dug up different events and trends from my past which have explained a lot of my behaviour and reactions in my adult life. I believe I have learnt to deal better with adversity, to accept what life throws at me and to believe in myself more. I have rekindled some relationships I had given up on, and have broken loose from toxic ones. I still have a long way to go and I know that you keep learning throughout your life anyway!
I hope I can help people with mental health issues and, in a way, give back what AMH New Life Counselling has given me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your help and support during all those months and for making my sky a bit brighter. Keep up the fabulous work you do!
To find out more about AMH New Life Counselling please visit : https://www.amh.org.uk/new-life-counselling/