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.
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.
If you type the question ‘why do I feel depressed’ into google it will return thousands of results. And they will all say something different. It can be confusing and frustrating and no one seems to know the answers. If you are feeling low you can feel very alone and misunderstood. You might find that people close to you are fed up with your inability to ‘get your act together.’ You might not even have anyone close to you to talk to. Maybe you never did. Maybe they have drifted away. Leaving you alone to get on with it. That’s the thing about feeling low. On the one hand you want to be on your own . To pull the duvet over your head and shut the world out. And on the other hand you desperately want someone to talk to. Someone who won’t tell you what to do or to ‘pull yourself together.’ Someone who will listen to you and really hear your story and help you to understand yourself and the way you are feeling. Someone who will help you to gain a new perspective and to work through your feelings so that you become able to make some changes in your life.
The ‘why’ question is really difficult. There are so many theories about why you might feel low. Some believe it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain and that antidepressant medication is the correct treatment. It is important to talk to your GP about this. Other people think that feeling low can be helped by the talking therapies. Counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are widely recognised as therapies which can help people suffering from low mood. These therapies can help to find the answers to the ‘why’ question. Maybe you have some unresolved losses in your life. Counselling could help you to work through these. Maybe you see the world as an unfriendly and harsh place. Maybe you have lots of negative thoughts which come to mind automatically when you are face with challenging situations. CBT could help you to challenge these automatic thoughts.
If you think you would like some help with your low mood then please get in touch. If I think I can help then I’ll let you know. If I think I can’t then I’ll let you know too.
Have you noticed that when you are feeling tired that the world doesn’t seem to be such a nice place? Things start to get on your nerves and other people seem to become rather irritating. We just don’t cope so well with day to day problems when we are exhausted. We can get into a vicious circle where not sleeping well makes us feel depressed and angry. Does this sound familiar? It sounds familiar to me as a Counsellor. Not because I feel like that all the time (although I’m human too and feeling tired impacts on me and how I am) but because clients often come for counselling and feel lost and don’t know how to get their lives back on track.
Sometimes not sleeping well becomes a habit and we start to get anxious about this. So letting go of that can be helpful. There is a lot of good information on the internet about sleeping problems and I’ve included some links below. If nothing seems to be working you can always see your GP and they might be able to offer you some medication to help you if you think that’s the right choice for you. Alternatively you could try some counselling to help you figure out what might be keeping you awake at nights…..your thoughts…..your conscience…….your regrets……your past……your future…..your worries……..and this might help you to gain some perspective on your troubles and make some changes in your life.
I know what it’s like not to sleep well. It’s made me miserable in the past. Ok it still does sometimes! One thing I found so helpful was to stop looking at the clock every time I woke up. It felt like the kiss of death every time I did look because then I would become preoccupied by how little time I had left to get a good night’s sleep. Why not try?
Can you imagine what it feels like to wake up every day and feel that you’ve made a mess of your life? To look around and wonder exactly why you have made the choices you have made? To beat yourself up because you seem to have made the same mistakes over and over? To feel that you have no control over your life and that what lies ahead just seems too hard to face?
In my counselling practice I work with many people who feel like this. These people seek counselling because they can’t find anyone to understand them. They are fed up with people telling them to ‘get their act together’ or telling them that they are a ‘loser’. They feel distressed and lonely and simply don’t know what to do next. The good news is that the future does not have to be like the past. We can find a new way of being, explore different choices and learn to understand ourselves. If we’re not sure who we are then it’s hard to get to know anyone else…….let alone allow them to get to know us.
Working with a Counsellor can be a very healing process. It can help you to stop beating yourself up. To start to value yourself. To value others. To learn about what it means to be in an authentic relationship with another person. It could change your life.
Do you find yourself stuck in your life and not know how to find a way forward? Does it seem like your relationships go wrong….and they always do? Do you keep ruminating over things that happened to you in the past and keep going over and over details? Do you wish that your life was different but feel that whatever you try makes no difference?
We all have times when we feel that life is hard and that we have messed up. You might find it hard to understand why you keep making the same mistakes over and over again. You might beat yourself up for getting something wrong and find it really hard to say sorry. You might make assumptions about other people and think that they have got life figured out. That can make you feel more miserable. Like you’re alone. You might isolate yourself from others. Or you might adopt some coping strategies to comfort yourself. Like eating too much. Or drinking too much. Or taking drugs.
Sometimes the reason people find it hard to cope or enjoy life is that the past is being played out in the present. Counselling can help you to understand whether this is happening. Some people don’t want to trawl through their past and this is understandable. It can be painful. However, recognising how the past is still ‘alive’ can help you to make some changes in your life. Better choices leading to a more fulfilled life.