Finally reaching retirement and being able to put your feet up
Going on holiday
Kids finally growing up going off to university or moving into their first home
Miscarriage or stillbirth
Change in financial situation
Loss of a loved one or a pet
You would not be mistaken for thinking that the list on the left appears to be full of happy events and therefore why am I listing them as ‘Life Changes’ that you might come to Counselling for. The clue I suppose is in the word ‘change’ and the effect this in itself can have on your life. My article here talks about the impact of the change and how it can affect your confidence but the assumption that the change has to be a negative one to affect your mood would be incorrect. It’s no accident that nearly the all of the above are listed within the top most stressful life events that you can experience. I am sure there are more to be added to this list.
Take for example having a new baby, for most this is perceived as a joyous occasion:- lack of sleep, traumatic birth, adjusting to meeting the demands of feeding and caring etc., anxieties about being a ‘good parent’, illness, taking time away from your job, financial pressure, social isolation, weight issues, reduction in confidence are all difficulties new parents face. Whilst both parents can have concerns about bonding with their new child, women have the risk of postnatal depression and men often feel ‘pushed out’ or ‘excluded’ in the early days of a new birth.
I guess what I am saying is don’t feel you can’t consider Counselling just because your distress is caused by something that may be perceived as a happy event. Whatever is going on in your life, it may take time to adjust and integrate it into your way of being. Often life changes that are causing stress will come with thoughts such as “I should be able to cope”, “I should just get on with it”, “I ought to have moved on”. “Shoulds” and “oughts” can cause a great deal of pressure. Feelings such as loneliness, vulnerability, sadness, loss, fear, no purpose, too much responsibility are just some of the things you might experience depending on what your life change event is.
Counselling can be an excellent place to explore how you are feeling and why you feel this way. It is often said that our thoughts and emotions can feel like a ball of spaghetti, a real mix up and impossible to separate out. With the support of your Counsellor you can start to tease out each of the strands and untangle the ball so that you are left with something that feels more manageable in fork sized amounts – you are in control of how much you put on your fork.
Relax in quiet, discreet surroundings, Reflect on your issues in a calm confidential environment, Rethink your situation and move forward in a way that is right for you.