Disability Counselling: Part 4

Almost everything we discussed during this week’s disability counselling session was highly personal and very specific to me, so this is going to be a slightly different post. I thought that as I’ve passed the halfway point in this process it would be good to reflect on what’s changed and how useful counselling has been so far.

  • I genuinely feel differently about my illness and even I’m stunned at how dramatically my attitude has changed. It hasn’t waved a magic wand and I still have a lot of work to do before I completely accept the trauma I’ve been through, but there has been a mental shift. My physical symptoms haven’t changed. In fact, the current heatwave is playing havoc with my dizziness. But I feel a change in myself. My counsellor commented today that since she met me a month ago there’s been a visible difference in how I carry myself and how I relate to my disability when I talk about it. She also congratulated me on how much effort I’ve been putting into both the sessions and the work I’ve done by myself. Feeling more in charge of my illness makes me feel stronger, but having someone notice the difference feels pretty spectacular.
  • I’ve tried hard not to be so private about how my vestibular disorder has made me feel emotionally, both here and in person. It’s not my default setting to spill my feelings publicly, but spreading all that stress and tension out rather than holding it close to myself or a very select group of people has been quite liberating. You are as alone as you allow yourself to feel.
  • I’ve started letting the past go and it feels like a weight is lifting from my shoulders. It was so destructive to hold on to the person that I used to be with no possibility of getting back there. Equally, I’ve stopped trying to race to the future before it’s fully baked. Using my email diary to list three good things about each day has been a bit of a revelation. It really does mean you look for the value in the trip rather than discarding it as one more day you’re not at the finish line. Neither of these things have disappeared entirely. They’re new habits I’ll continue to perfect, but there is an improvement.
  • When you go to counselling, only you and your counsellor truly know the journey you’re on. And once the sessions end, you have to do the work yourself. Not everyone will understand the reasons you’re there or appreciate how exhausting the process of adjusting your attitude to your problem can be. Without realising and with good intentions, they may even attempt to influence your thought process. What’s crucial though, is that you hold on to the positivity the process generates and really own your progress. Staying focussed on what you want to achieve is the most important thing of all.

I know it might seem cheesy and a bit wet, bit this is kind of my theme tune at the moment. There’s a country song for everything, eh?

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