World Mental Health Day 2016
Ok so it’s World Mental Day. What does that mean? What is your mental health? Hang on, isn’t mental health only something that happens to other people?
I say that because I remember many years ago when studying counselling an old woman in her seventies, following me around the place I worked in talking at me through other people. “I don’t know what that psychology stuff is….I’ve heard about that psychology….I don’t believe in psychology…..sure psychology is only about people with mental health.” and so on.
It was horrific. Never in my life had I been so tempted to shout expletives at a pensioner. I’ve no idea why but I think she was trying to bully me in a very passive aggressive way. However all she was was irritating. The thing is however although I wasn’t intimidated I certainly was furious the longer it went on.
However I kept my anger and frustration in rather than just express what I was feeling or just ask her to stop. The more I internalized my thoughts and feelings, the more resentment I felt towards this old woman. The more resentment and irritation I felt the more my mental health suffered. I was snappy, anxious, my diet and sleep pattern suffered as well.
Ironically I was learning counselling skills and theories and although I thought I could be clever and ‘analyze’ her behaviour, I never applied any of it to myself. That was until I attended personal therapy. Part of training to be a counsellor requires you to attend personal therapy and in my case it’s a good job it is such a requirement. In my personal therapy I was free to talk about my feeling of helplessness in that situation. My counsellor and I explored what led me to a point where felt I couldn’t communicate my boundaries confidently with this person when I could with others. I learned to develop healthier ways of managing stress and anxiety rather than bottling it up.
Every single one of us has a level of mental health. Even therapists, even that old woman who plagued me. Speak to counsellor or other mental health care professional today about managing more appropriately difficult experiences, situations and transitions.
This article was written by sentientcounselling