Live Your Life: Counselling and Switzerland.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Today I woke up, I poached two eggs, fried three slices of honey cured bacon, and spread half an avocado on toast. Breakfast was followed by a shower and a trip to a local department store where I brought a new mascara and a pack of bobby pins. Then, after eleven months of denial, telling myself I didn't need her help again, telling myself time and time again that the so-called "funk" would eventually just go away, on a humid and rainy Tuesday afternoon, I found myself back in my counsellors office.

Don't get me wrong, counselling is nothing to be embarrassed about. Almost everyone will try it at least once; sometimes it's effective, sometimes not. In the past, it's been hugely effective for me in conquering my depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I suppose I just felt like I shouldn't have been back there. After all, this time last year I was sitting in the same spot talking about the same old shit. If it wasn't clearer before, I certainly understand now: something's gotta change.

We talked about a lot of things, mainly why I was back in counselling and of course my relationships, which included but was not limited to my current situation (or lack of) with my ex-boyfriend. The funny thing is, after only a half hour I felt so much better. There is something so liberating about dumping all your emotional bullshit on someone who doesn't judge or berate you.  After the session is over, you can walk out and leave all your worries and stress behind. You feel lighter, empowered, like you could conquer the universe in a day. Well, that's how I felt anyway.

So I thought as an ode to my fellow anxiety sufferers everywhere, I would offer my counsellor's little pearls of wisdom to all of you. The woman is a genius, and she's helped me a lot in the past: maybe she can help y'all out as well.

1. "Stop doing things that make you feel bad"

If you're unhappy and miserable, something in your life is clearly not working. Work out what it is, and change it. Life is too short. You're responsible for how your life turns out, so quit blaming other people, suck it up, and do the things that make you happy. Take control of your life, regret nothing.

2. "What's stopping you from meeting people?"

There is no point in complaining about loneliness and having no friends or boyfriend when you sit at home crying over Netflix for nine hours a day. Go out. Go to bars, go to clubs. Go for walks and runs, go swimming. Go to cafes and restaurants and secondhand stores. Get out of the goddamn house, leave your headphones at home. Just last night my flatmate and I decided to go out for a quiet drink, and found ourselves at Electric Avenue in the company of two Swiss boys at 1am having a bloody good time. I know it's nerve-wracking, believe me. Anxiety kills, but you never know what's going to happen. Put yourself out there.

3. "Stop constantly worrying about everyone around you, they're not your responsibility"

This is a big issue for me. I constantly stress about the people around me, especially the people closest to me getting hurt. It literally keeps me up at night. In between contemplating the meaning of life and the inevitability of dead, I think about my family and my friends and what they're up too and where they are going and if they're okay and happy with where their lives are at. I almost feel like I have to take care of everyone. What I'm currently learning is that they are perfectly capable of looking after themselves, and it's not selfish to look after yourself. Which leads me to my next point...

4. "Wash your hair"

Recently I've been going days without washing my hair. I'll shower, I just won't bother undoing my hair from it's permanent messy bun. Gross, I know, considering my hair is like an oil slick when I neglect to wash it, but to be honest sometimes I just forget. Which is fine sometimes, but the thing is, looking after yourself is so, so important, and I always feel so much better when I do so. Mentally and physically. So yeah, wash your goddamn hair.

5. "Fill your life with things you love"

Make plans with friends or family. Go to a yoga class, have a go at roller derby. Buy a Lush bath bomb and sit in the tub for hours eating Chinese food. Read a book. Get a spinach and feta pull-apart and a tub of hummus and eat the whole lot in one sitting. Have a massive clean out and re-decorate your room. Buy a candle. Hell, buy ten candles. Treat yo'self. Surround yourself with love and beauty and comfort and happiness.

Until next time babes xx

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