Welcome to a NEW segment of my coaching blog that I will be writing on a weekly basis (hopefully). I wanted to share with you all my journey as I begin a brand new module at University that will be a building brick towards my degree. I am studying a counselling module where I will be looking at counselling and psychotherapy in connection with fear and sadness, commonly known as anxiety and depression.
I’m rather looking forward to this module as counselling, anxiety and depression is something that I have personal experience in from the role of patient as many of you may be aware through my past blog posts. Hopefully throughout the 22 weeks of this course you will learn something also about fear and sadness perhaps helping you to see it from a different perspective.
Throughout the course as students we are encouraged to keep a ‘reflections journal’ where we can reflect on not only what we are reading and learning but also to jot down our thoughts, feelings and reflections upon the activities throughout the course module. It is mainly these that I will share with you and open it up for discussion. There are no right or wrong answers only a healthy perspective which is unique to us all.
The first activity in this course asked me to recall a period in my life where I felt extreme fear and/or sadness and to write about the experience and what I found helpful and unhelpful. This is what I wrote in my reflective journal;
“I’ve encountered episodes of fear and sadness throughout my life mainly connected to family bereavements. However one strong recollection of fear and sadness in my life stems from a relationship break up that had been an emotionally and mentally abusive one.
I felt fear about what my ex would think, feel, say and do when I would text him, see him and I even became fearful about my clothes that I wore and how I looked as I didn’t want to upset him or not look nice for him. Although his opinion changed daily – I couldn’t see this as a controlling mechanism that he had over me. This caused sadness and was a daily never-ending cycle.
I found counselling sessions helpful because my counselor allowed me the space to think, cry and realise that I’d done nothing wrong and that I deserved better. I kept a journal of self-love throughout my counselling sessions, something that I still have, and that fills me with pride because it shows just how far I’ve come. I also talked to friends who supported me throughout – never once judging me. I personally don’t believe that in my own personal experience that medication alone would have had the same result for me. Although I can understand and sympathize with others who use medication to help them. ”
This is something that you are welcome to try yourself. It’s hard to imagine a time before counselling now, as society accepts this form of therapy as an extremely helpful tool in working to understand our own fear and sadness. Pennebaker (1990) points out that most cultures at most times have had some ritualised way of expressing troubling emotional experiences, such as prayers, the writing of diaries or forms of group discussion or outpourings of emotion.
Something we were encouraged to keep is a list of our own coping mechanisms – a list of strategies we use when we’re fearful/anxious, and a list of strategies we use when we’re sad/depressed. We will be free to add to this list as we go through the course. I found this exercise rather helpful in my own recognizing when I am feeling these emotions. As I compiled the list I was reminded of a quote by Louise L Hay where she says; “Expressing negative emotions doesn’t mean that you are nurturing a negative attitude. You aren’t going to turn into a whiny old fuddy-duddy if you discuss legitimate complaints with those around you. “ I think this is important to remember that in order to live balanced lives with balanced emotions we really have to learn how to experience, express and channel the good with the not so good.
So, a couple of strategies I use when I am feeling afraid/anxious include;
- Positive Affirmations
- Mentally playing out the best case scenario
A couple of strategies I use when I am feeling sad/depressed include;
- Recall conversations from my counselling sessions and apply helpful tips to my life instantly
- Focus on the positives in my life; such as how far I’ve positively come
So, now I turn this over to you for your reflections, thoughts, and feelings. How do you cope when you feel afraid/anxious? What strategies do you use when your feeling sad/depressed? Maybe by sharing your strategies, other readers of this blog will find a way that will work for them, thus helping them understand a little more, and become a more pro-active participant in their own experiences of these emotions – and gain back the control in their emotional lives.
Disclaimer : I am NOT a qualified counsellor nor do I claim to be as such. The purposes of this blog feature is to share my study reflections on counselling, psychotherapy, anxiety and depression as I study the module for my degree.
If you are feeling any emotions of anxiety and/or depression I urge you to speak to a medical professional who can guide you on the best way forward specifically for you. The opinions, reflections, thoughts and feelings reflect those of the author.