Work had been great – It was busy and stressful with a lot of responsibility, but I had always felt in control and confident in my role. My personal life, however, was a completely different story.
I was one of those people who had got really good at putting on a front to family and friends, pretending that everything was fine, but the reality was that I was often unhappy in chaotic relationships.
Most people thought that I was this confident woman who was happy and in control, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Why did they think that? Because I pretended I was all of those things and didn’t tell them about how I really felt.
I'd experienced anxiety and panic attacks and bereavement in my early 20's. I had a really low self-esteem and I often had real relationship issues.
I ended up a single mum. Here I was, an intelligent woman who just seemed to be making some really bad life choices when it came to relationships, and I would constantly find myself wondering why it all kept going "tits up" for use of a better term! I was desperate for things to change and made the decision to begin my counselling training.
As part of my training, I began my own therapy. Did you know that Therapists sit through A MINIMUM 50 hours of personal therapy as part of their training? It was a daunting thought, but with my own Therapist, I began to understand where my anxiety came from.
I began to understand why I never seemed to feel good enough about myself compared to other people and how beliefs I’d built up about myself in childhood had been unconsciously dragged into my adult life and were replaying in the background causing the unhappiness and bad choices.
Being able to have that place each week where I could stop pretending that I was okay and instead, say how I was really feeling was such a game changer.
Being able to stop covering up the real me with my “Happy Mask” was such a relief. It’s meant that over time, I’ve stopped being so critical of myself for not being a certain way.
I really like who I am these days because it’s the real me, not a fake version. I don’t try to be something I’m not. My relationships are far healthier, as is my lifestyle.
Don't get me wrong. Therapy is not a cure all for everything that's wrong in life. I still have sad times, bad times, relationship strife etc but that's just life. After all, I'm a Human first, Therapist is just my job title and if things get too much and I can't sort it out myself, then I call my Therapist or I talk to my friends and family.
But remember, every single Therapist in the whole world has been a Client.
We are known as Wounded Healers, because we have all been through life's struggles. We are no different than you in that way - Therapists have been Anxious, Addicted, Abused, Bereaved, Depressed, Stressed. They've been Suicidal, Lost, Helpless. They have experienced OCD, Eating Disorders, Domestic Abuse, Self Harm.
Yet every Therapist is living proof that if you do experience these things in life, you CAN learn how to deal with them. You CAN re-build your life, no matter how bad you feel. You CAN get your life back on track.
I just want to show that if you can finally be brave enough to stop pretending you’re okay, to finally take off that mask and be honest about your inner struggles, then you can move into a far more contented future.
You can forgive yourself for not being perfect and you can learn to love the person you’ve become.
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