Do you ever have an ‘is it me’ day? The kind of day where you feel unappreciated or used and feel that other people, either at home or work, are acting in a self-interested, judgemental or unfair way. It’s easy for these feelings to spiral and it’s possible that you may find yourself withdrawing or arguing. It might feel challenging to find a way to live around those who only think of themselves.
It’s a wonderful thing to find something that helps us. It can change the way we view ourselves, our relationships, the world and life in general. However, what works for me might not work for you and that is why asking someone else to tell you what to do can be really unhelpful. Counselling is one of those things that can change your life. It can work on so many levels. It can help you to understand and accept yourself. It can help you to understand your relationships and why you might keep repeating some unhelpful behaviours. It might help you to improve relationships with your partner, your family, your friends and work colleagues. Or it might simply be the only place where you can really be you and work through all those things that you don’t want to tell anyone else about. How often do we have the experience of starting to tell a family member or friend something before they jump in with their own story, say something silencing like ‘tell me about it’ or simply not care enough to engage and listen?
Sometimes it feels that life is going really well. You feel fairly good about yourself. You have stopped beating yourself up about the things that you don’t get right and you might have started accepting yourself. Liking yourself even. Maybe your relationships are going quite well and even work doesn’t feel too bad. You seem to be able to do the things you want to and feel like you have some control over your life. And then one day you wake up and things feel so different. You notice tears rolling down your face. It’s hard to get up. You want the world to leave you alone. Out of nowhere. The sun doesn’t seem to shine so brightly. You look around and wonder what it’s all about. Worse still the people around you might be very unsympathetic. Not this again.
Do you know what it’s like to feel safe? If so, you’re very lucky. Feeling safe allows you to be who you are, however that is. It seems that the opportunities to feel safe are incredibly limited. We can work in organisations which expect us to perform. We can believe that it would be frowned on if we said things like, we feel vulnerable, or that we need a bit more support. And who knows, it might be. We can grow up in families which seem to go from one drama to the next. Childhood may have felt like something to be endured rather than enjoyed. Perhaps we never even glimpsed safety. Is it a surprise then, that to be offered safety can feel sometimes feel threatening and unfamiliar? It can make you want to run a mile. No wonder people who have never known safety avoid so much or drop out of therapy.
There is no right way ‘to do’ counselling which sounds unsatisfactory I know. It is really going to depend so much on the relationship which develops between you and your Counsellor. It is also going to depend on the model of therapy your Counsellor draws on. For more on this please read my blog post different approaches to psychological therapy.
Not sleeping well is a bad place to be. It seems so much harder to cope with day to day life when you are tired. It becomes so easy to snap at other people. You can end up worrying about not sleeping and this can create a vicious circle. Lots of clients come to counselling and mention that they are having trouble sleeping. It’s very common, especially if you are experiencing some kind of psychological distress. So what can you do? There is a lot of helpful information available on the internet. Try searching under ‘sleep hygiene’ and you will find lots of common sense articles about how to get a good night’s sleep. Try some of the things suggested in these articles for about 2 weeks and see if things improve. It is amazing how many clients come to counselling and say that if they wake up in the middle of the night they go downstairs and make a cup of coffee. Caffeine is not known for its sleep inducing properties.
So what happens if you are still not sleeping well? It’s really important to try and figure out whether this is a normal response to an abnormal situation. If you are recently bereaved then it is possible that this will interfere with your sleep. If you have recently experienced some kind of loss, for example redundancy, again it is likely to impact on your sleep. Or it may be that you have some regrets about things that have happened in the past. And these keep ticking over in your mind at night. Maybe you feel guilty about something you have done. Or haven’t done. If you are having difficulties sleeping you could go to your GP and ask about medication. Or you could try some counselling and try to process those losses or regrets or feelings of guilt. Sleep well.