When one problem becomes two
We get by alright most of the time. But sometimes things in life change unexpectedly, sometimes even without us properly realising. When this happens, we may lose something important. It could be contact with someone close to us, or loss of a job we were happy in, or a change in our status, or loss of hope or meaning - such a loss may take many forms. What is usually common to any such loss, is that we become deprived of something important.
Often this happens without us realising, or perhaps we do realise but we tell ourselves not to think about it, not to feel sorry for ourselves. So we carry on as best we can, knowing we don't feel right, pushing out thoughts and feelings which trouble us. Bit by bit we feel worse and begin to blame ourselves for feeling bad - this is where the second problem begins. We start to replace the initial problem of something missing in our lives (causing us to feel bad), with a much more personal problem of believing there is something WRONG with US! This second problem may overshadow the initial problem, causing us to withdraw, or develop unhelpful coping mechanisms. Eventually we may become disconnected, dysfunctional, unable to cope, as life seems to get worse and worse.
Sadly, our world doesn't do a very good job of teaching us to be self-aware and to harness self-compassion, which we could use to help ourselves deal with the changes and losses life brings.
Counselling can help untangle all of this. I work with many clients to address such situations, helping them to make sense of things, to understand that they have been undergoing a difficult change or loss, stripping back the negative beliefs and unhelpful behaviours which have taken hold. The goal is to restore my client to their former, healthy self, equipping them with new awareness, understanding and ways of coping with life’s changes and challenges as they go forward.