I have come across many people over the years, who have opened up and shared about some of the pain in their lives. When I ask them if they have sought help, the answer is all too familiar. For many professionals, men, in particular, seeking help can be seen as a sign of weakness amongst their peers. They are told to ‘man up’ men don’t share their feelings and so they go on and on stuffing their pain down again and again with many ending up with PTSD and turning to alcohol substances or medication to cope.
Having grown up in therapy from the age of 10 after a breakdown, bearing my soul was the only option for survival.
I guess what I did next came naturally. I didn’t choose to be a counsellor, life strategist, therapist, call it what you may, it chose me.
My dream and desire as a little girl were to be a famous jazz musician or an actress. Two fields I was born gifted in, but it wasn’t to be. Listening to people’s stories and helping them change the course of their life for better was what I literally fell into. Being the girl growing up in a home with 2 alcoholic parents who carried the extra kilos, had a face full of pimples, and home cut hair, I knew what loneliness was like only too well. It seemed natural as my life went on, after my own battle with prescription medication and alcohol addiction, to try and comfort others in their pain. There wasn’t too much I personally hadn’t been through by the age of 18.
What has been for some time now a taboo subject, counselling is now starting to be thought upon as an EMPOWERING experience. It is not for the weak of faint hearted but for the bold and the strong, the courageous and the humble, to admit that they can’t do it on their own.
Everyone needs someone. Other than addictions, a large contributing factor to our increasing suicide rate is a lack of connectedness and a terrible sense of loneliness.
Many who have come to me for help, have been so racked with shame for the things they have done, often under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that they don’t feel there is a soul in the world they can share their darkest secrets with, but a trusted stranger like myself who has walked down a similar path.
I create an atmosphere of total confidentiality and non-judgemental. For clients in the professional world particularly suffering from the effects of addiction confidentiality is of optimum concern as there is a fear that if found out, they could lose their positions or their reputation in society could be tarnished. This is also the case for husbands or wives of prominent business people as they fear to damage their loved ones reputation in the community. There is also a lot of shame attached. It’s really sad to see someone at the top of their game who has been high profile in their community to spiral downwards and fall into despair.
If we are honest, we are all on a journey and there have been many times in all of our lives where we have stuffed up, or fallen short in one way or another and lived with regret for certain things.
I guess some see it as a type of confession. Where they bear their darkest secrets with a longing to know that despite what they have done, they will still be loved and accepted. Everyone has the right to be forgiven, to forgive others to forgive oneself and move forward.
At the end of the day, the driving force for me is to help change a life. To be a listening ear. A sounding board as such. It gives me such a deep sense of fulfilment and satisfaction, to see someone comes to me in utter despair and let’s face it by the time most people see a therapist they have already hit rock bottom or are close to it and See them walk out with HOPE in their heart knowing that their life can be better, and with a huge weight lifted off their shoulders. Knowing that after all, they are just human and not some alien on a solo journey. I hope this insight brings counselling out of the box. Young, old, rich, poor everyone comes to a point where they just need someone to sit and listen and to do this for someone is my greatest passion.