I’ve recently been speaking with a therapist about stress and how to manage it better. It has been great to talk it through and get a greater understanding of how I cope in stressful situations. We spoke about Flight, Fight or Freeze which was good as I could picture times when I would keep fighting on or times when although I wanted to hide under my duvet, I kept getting up and fighting.
The sessions I had, my therapist just let me talk. She might ask an initial question to get me started and help me to open up. Which is good as I am not a fan of talking about myself so it can take me some time to feel comfortable talking. As I talk, the therapist may stop me as I speak to ask me why I think that or to reiterate a point I may have said. This helps her to understand my thoughts and also as she repeats things back to me, I can hear what I say from her understanding which often makes me go ‘oh, why do I think that’.
During the few sessions I had, I usually sat with a notepad, poised ready to write anything down of relevance or that I want to go back to. On one occasion she asked me to draw. My drawings are like kids, so my plan was to keep it simple and to be honest, it was really for my eyes only. One of the most eye opening points was when she asked me to draw what I was feeling. I drew a stick man on a hill climbing up a ladder trying to reach up to the confidence which was sitting in a cloud. I know, analyse that!
The next time we met, we went back to look over the drawing and I used a different colour pen to add in, make adjustments and write words that came to my mind in that moment. We spoke about my confidence and she asked if I was feeling closer to the cloud with confidence and did I think I could reach? I wasn’t sure.
My therapist asked me some clarifying questions to help me understand, such as what would make it easier for the stick version of me to get closer to the cloud? Hmm that was thought provoking. I couldn’t think. Where was I on my confidence journey? Why was my confidence related to my stress?
I talked a bit but couldn’t think of a way to get my stick person closer to the cloud as the top of the ladder would not get ‘me’ there. My therapist suggested, we turn the ladder into an escalator. I had a flash of a thought in my head. I didn’t initially share but she clearly saw the I had an idea and asked me about it.
I told her my initial reaction to the escalator was it would be harder. She had a puzzled look on her face as if to say, surely this would make it easier. I explained it would be because I would be fighting against the stairs, I would be trying to go up them the wrong way – going up the down escalator. She asked why I thought that, I said it was the first thought that had entered into my head. But I realised in that flash, she meant an escalator going the right way.
It was then it hit me. I realised I was putting obstacles in my own way. I was making things harder for myself when there was no need. We both laughed at how funny it was. I mean, why did I think this was what she meant?
This revelation, made me think about other areas in my life where I was perhaps making things difficult for myself. It lead me to realise the stress I had been experienced was related.
At work the tasks I perceived as harder, were not necessarily so, I was building them up in my mind to be something of a mountain when in fact it was little above a molehill. I just needed to spend some time focusing on the task in hand and get it done. Sometimes starting is difficult, but who said you had to start at the beginning, sometimes, just getting stuck in can help you. A few of the tasks I had to do, involved research, so that is where I started. I focused solely on that for 30 minutes and blocked out time in my diary each day for a week to help get the task and my understanding of it underway.
Whilst I have finished my sessions, talking through my stress and confidence issues, really did help. I got to a point where I felt I was walking in treacle, there was just no easy way out. I didn’t want to get to breaking point before reaching out for help. I wanted to stop myself from getting there in the first place.
Is there any area within your life where you perhaps pile on the pressure or make things harder when it doesn’t need to be? Or like me, you perhaps didn’t even realise. Please reach out and talk to someone. You can start to see the benefits in only a few sessions.
Don’t wait until you reach breaking point before you ask for help. No one will judge you and more importantly, you get the help you need.
I like to share my story and journey as I want you all to see, anyone can get help from a therapist/counsellor. Talking it out and being in a safe space to discuss anything, really does help. They help you to put things in perspective, without belittling you or judgement.
Thank you for reading. Have a great week and look after you.
Love Emma xx