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  • Siobhan


In August 2017 I began my journey into counselling. It had been a long time coming. In the months prior I had had a couple of emotional breakdowns. I cried, I got angry, I couldn’t explain properly why I felt the way I did and I felt no one understood me. My closest friends kept encouraging me to seek help. Eventually I made the decision to find a counsellor; I had to proactively want to get help.

My counsellor lived ten minutes away from home. As I walked to her house, I would think about what I might want to talk about that week. I always felt comfortable sitting in her kitchen, like I was talking to an old friend. I thought I knew why I was going to counselling, however over time she made me realise and then address many other areas of my life I never thought I needed to confront.

For many reasons I can have low self-confidence. I’m a natural introvert and I worry about what others think of me. Through my counselling sessions I slowly realised I hadn’t been living the life I would like for myself, and many things had been holding me back.

My counsellor taught me many things. To accept myself and be confident in who I am. That I don’t need to seek approval from others. To not feel guilty when I’m doing something for me or back up my decisions with an unnecessary justification. She gave me strategies and tools to cope in conversations and I’ve learnt that I can’t control someone else's reaction towards me. I can only control my actions and my reactions to others.

Towards the end of my sessions in March 2019 my counsellor asked me about things I’d always wanted to do or that I felt I had missed out on. One of my responses was “I’ve always wanted to live in another country.” She said, “why don’t you?” and my immediate reaction was “oh no, that’s what other people do”. Three months later I accepted a job in Paris and a further two and a half years on I’m writing this testimony in Shanghai.

My counsellor encouraged me, and I became a butterfly, breaking free into the world. I still have my moments of insecurity. My counsellor gave me the strength to face new experiences. She also made sure that I knew if I ever had a wobble, I would always be welcome back at port to anchor my thoughts again. So, that’s what I do. Just like I go for a massage if my muscles are aching, I return to counseling when I feel my brain and emotions need some TLC too.

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