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'How Counselling Helped Me' - By Pam.

There's an old saying 'If it ain't broken don't fix it.' If that's true then the opposite must also be true - 'If it is broken, get it fixed!'

I know that is easy to say and if it was easy to do, more of us would do it readily.  If you fell and broke your ankle you would not think 'I'll just have to give myself a good talking to and it will be fine.' You would seek the right help and get it fixed. Why? Because others can see what is broken? Because breaking a bone can't be considered a weakness? Lots of reasons. 

If only mental illness was so straightforward. Outward signs may not be so evident. Until recently, mental illness was not openly talked about and was very misunderstood. Those of us who recognised we were suffering from an illness (and lots of us haven't) may have felt ashamed, weak and in some way incapable.

But if we can see mental illness for what it is, a bona fide illness just the same as any other, then we can remove the stigma that exists in our eyes and seek the help we need.

Having suffered the agony of an emotionally abusive marriage, when I finally plucked up the courage to go through a divorce I was in the middle of a maelstrom of emotions. The main one was guilt. A friend recommended I see a counsellor. I felt ashamed, defeated. Surely this meant I couldn't cope with my own life. What sort of mother was I? Reluctantly I agreed. What a turning point that was. Life changing, life affirming, positive and deeply energising.

I thought the counselor would give me answers, but no. She asked questions in such a way that I found my own answers. I revealed to myself things about myself and my life. In a very quiet, measured way, using very few words really, she enabled me to turn my thoughts and feelings around. I can't put into words how grateful and thankful I am for taking my friend's advice. 

Mental illness is here. It's around us. If you are suffering, you are not alone. Please take my advice. Ask a friend, your GP, look online for the help. It's out there. You deserve it. There's no stigma. Think of it like a broken ankle. Someone has got just what you need to fix it. I wish you well. Be kind to yourself. You are special. You are worth it. 

By Pam.

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