In a society where ‘men [still] don’t cry’ it somehow feels wrong to come for help, reaching out and talking to someone. In accordance to Men’s Health Forum, on average, 191,000 men a year report stess, depression or anxiety caused or made worse by work. Men are nearly three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent. There is considerable debate about the true level of common mental health disorders in men and whether larger numbers of men than women may be undiagnosed. This means most men don’t reach out for help. But I have seen the difference counselling has made in my clients, and I encourage male clients to come for regular sessions. It is amazing what a positive impact they may feel in their lives, be it short or long term work.
Coming to counselling is one of the first steps you can take to look after yourself in a life where we often look for others to do just that for us, but can’t get that care when we need it. I always ask my clients: I wonder how you expect others to care for you when you don’t seem to have much care for yourself… Shouldn’t it first start with you?
It is easy to look for other people to satisfy our innermost needs, only to realise later on that no one is infallible and that disappointment is a part of life. So why not start the work with ourselves?
In managing our expectations and disappointments we are managing our feelings and reactions. In gaining awareness of the dynamics in a relationship and owning our responsibility, we are growing as adults. In practising gentle assertiveness and exercising what is right for us, we are leaving what no longer serves us behind. By expressing our innermost feelings in counselling we are finding and feeling our way forward. And we shed the anger we may feel, the frustration and the feeling that nothing may be good enough.
Learning and adapting is a life journey. When we think we have it, we lose it again. Coping strategies, tools and psycho-education are essential to grow as an individual. Be it a feeling of stuckness, deep depression, inability to function, impotency or simply a lack of control in your life, where you may feel in fear at all times, this can be resolved. There are ways to cope and feel better. Just reach out.
Anxiety is a terrible condition. At its earliest stages, you may wake up during the night and start replaying all the worries and past events in your mind. You want to feel safe but don’t know how to. You may feel isolated, at a dead end, with no one to turn to. You list all the people that you know and find that no one is good enough to give you what you need. Your mind goes around in circles until you exhaust yourself. You feel let down. Exhausted. Depleted.
The world is chaotic. When you think you have everything you need to make you feel secure it may suddenly all be taken away. It may be a painful process to get back on your feet again, to start having a purpose, to build resilience and ways of feeling supported and controlling your anxiety. It may feel like you can’t talk about it to anyone because they can’t take it, they don’t want to hear or they don’t have the strategies to cope themselves. If you don’t have your own strategies to deal with the way you feel you may have to contact your GP and find that medication is your only way out. But there are always other alternatives. And the quicker you act the better.
There are so many things you can do to feel more in control. You can research ways to cope online. You can get self help books. You can do more exercise and improve your diet. You can attend yoga and meditation classes. And you can talk to a professional counsellor. You can feel actively listened to, in a relationship where care and empathy are a given. In this fast moving world you can make time for yourself. You can afford that luxury because you deserve it.
Talking through your worries and concerns and knowing everything you say is confidential gives you wings, the freedom to truly express yourself without fear of being judged, criticised, or looked down on for feeling vulnerable. We all do. Vulnerability hits all of us, at different times in our lives. It is easier to appear strong than to expose our innermost feelings and insecurities. But it is the strength to acknowledge these feelings, what some may call our shadow, that allows you to feel stronger outside the counselling room.
I have a vast experience in counselling and psychotherapy. And realised all our issues are related to our anxieties. Be it trauma, depression, bereavement, relationships and so on. The questions my clients ask themselves are Will I be good enough? Will I be and feel accepted? How can I make sense of my world now? How can I carry on with my life after what happened to me?
My clinic is in my pine studio in my back garden. It is very private and it has been described as very relaxing. Come for a session if you think it will help you. You will be welcomed.
On the subject of Mindfulness
In a world where we seek immediate answers and don’t seem to find one minute to rest, it is vitally important to introduce mindfulness in our lives. This doesn’t have to be a 60 minute daily practice. It is all about noticing, rather than judging. And this can be achieved in seconds.
Mindfulness is about pausing and becoming aware of your breathing. Try it – it will impact positively on you.