I had my first counselling session on Wednesday of last week and left with a bigger takeaway than I had expected.
We started the session by filling out a questionnaire, rating how I feel about each statement by colouring the corresponding box.
I feel irritated “frequently”
I feel worthless “sometimes”
I feel hopeless about the future “almost always”
There wasn’t much emotion involved, I always try to answer quickly and honestly without thinking too much because overthinking never gets me anywhere.
And then we got to the talkin’ ✨
She asked me why I was seeking counselling, and I told her through tears that I had been feeling very low energy and not wanting to do any of the things I loved. Not even cuddling with my cats (if there’s a sign, that’s it). I told her I thought I might be depressed and that I have struggled my entire life with self doubt.
Somehow, within that hour, I was able to recall a lengthy list of trauma I’ve endured in my life. Some within the past few years, and others from childhood.
I explained how hard I’ve been working on personal and mental growth as a means to handle whatever life throws my way, but I don’t understand why I’ve felt so stuck and so sad for so long.
She asked what I’ve been doing to grow personally, and I told her I was reading The Four Agreements, limiting my time on social media, spending more time alone, and practising daily gratitude in my journal. I then confessed I wasn’t retaining what I was reading, I still reached for my phone all the time, spending time alone felt lonely, and that practicing gratitude was harder than it should be.
And that’s when she called me out, “I know you pride yourself on being self-aware. And you are. You are logical and have rationalized your traumas and your reactions and even the decisions of others. But you haven’t allowed yourself to really FEEL your feelings. You care deeply, even when you say you don’t. Your feelings have accumulated and are sitting in your heart. That’s why you’re depressed. It’s just like your mother yelling at you, “you better not be taking diet pills” rather than actually seeing the issue for what it is and saying, “honey, I can see you are hurting and are using this as a way to cope. I’m here for you.” You aren’t feeling gratitude in your life because you have too many other emotions on your heart. Once you start sorting through those, the gratitude will come."
And then came the fucking tears...
She was right. I address the pain but I don’t FEEL the pain.
So she gave me a simple instruction: start journaling with “I feel…” and just let the pen flow. If you need a prompt, you can write “I feel ____ because I think ___”
“I feel insecure because I think people don’t like me.”
"I feel worthless because I think I'm not good enough."
"I feel sad because I think about the past too much."
"I feel anxious because I think negatively about the future."
Whatever it may be for you...
But I've found I don't need the prompt. I just need to write "I feel..." and the rest seems to come.
💔 I feel sad because I miss my Nanny and Poppy.
💔 I feel lonely because I don't have the relationship I want to with my mother.
💔 I feel insecure because I have put so much weight on my appearance for too long.
I’ve been doing this for a few days now and although it’s hard to sit with the pain, it’s worth it to understand how I really feel and why. Because then I can work towards something greater.
My friends, perhaps you also don’t feel your feelings and you only just scratch the surface like I do. Let this be your reminder to put in the work. Everything else can wait. You have some healing to do, and then you can go on and be great - for yourself and the ones you love most.
For anyone interested in learning more, the counselling took place at Resolve Counselling centre, which for some reason I had never heard about until recently. Resolve offers hour-long counselling session for free, or at an affordable rate based on your income. Their number is (613) 549-7850.