“Pat was very professional and supportive. he guided me throughout my entire counselling process with him. I felt that I was understood and made to feel worthwhile.”
“He did not carry me, but gave me the awareness and tools to think for myself and about myself.”
I had been feeling depressed on and off for years, often finding it difficult to get out of bed in the mornings, I had no interest in food, and my work suffered as I found it impossible to concentrate.
I was prescribed various antidepressants by my GP which sometimes helped for a while, but while they seemed to take the edge of my depression they also seemed to dull my other senses.
I had several failed relationships and the ending of each one brought on another bout of depression. Counselling had been suggested to me by several of my friends who had benefited from it themselves, but I couldn’t imagine how talking about my problems would be of any help.
Just after Christmas this year after yet another breakup, I was feeling particularly low and barely able to function at work, my boss called me aside and suggested I visit a GP who was attached to our company.
I made an appointment and told him my story. Rather than prescribing antidepressants he referred me to Acorn Counselling saying that they had a good success rate with clients he had referred to them.
It was with great trepidation that I made an appointment, not knowing what was ahead of me. My first impressions of Pat were very different from what I had imagined.
He was very down to earth and ordinary, and he made me feel comfortable and at ease as he explained about confidentiality and how the counselling process worked.
As I spoke about my life experiences Pat observed that I didn’t seem to express my anger and frustrations to those people close to me in my life. This surprised me as I had grown up learning to keep any negative feelings to myself.
As we looked more deeply at this I became aware of how I had learned this pattern of behavior in childhood in order not to provoke anger in my parents. I became the “good child” pleasing my parents so that they didn’t punish me by withdrawing their love.
As therapy progressed I came to realise that I carried the same way of behaving into all my relationships. As Pat said, “sitting on my feelings” so as not to upset my partner in case they withdrew their love from me. Of course I wasn’t consciously aware of this behaviour, which meant I was destined to continue it!
I realised I was putting everyone’s feelings before my own and burying my anger deep inside myself. This in turn led to self criticism and at times self hatred. “Smiling on the outside and raging on the inside” Pat would playfully remind me.
With the support of therapy I started to take the risk of being more honest with myself and those around me. each time I expressed my true feelings about a situation I found that I didn’t get the negative reaction I had expected.
On the contrary I found that people had more respect for me and didn’t take me for granted anymore.I grew more confident and free. I was amazed that I didn’t feel depressed anymore, It was as if all those feelings I kept inside had been pulling me down to the point of hopelessness.
Counselling has been a real eye opener for me, I have learn’t that other people don’t have to change to make me feel good about myself, As Pat would say to me, (though I didn’t understand it fully at first) “we have everybody we need right here in the counselling room to help you turn your life around.”
I still get down from time to time, the difference now however is that thanks to Pat at Acorn Counselling I have the awareness and the tools to get myself back on track quickly.
About Pat's work.