It may sound crazy but at 34 I’m grateful for the ‘colourful life’ I’ve had. All the horrendous experiences in my earlier days have made me the person I am and if I had my time over I honestly wouldn’t change a single thing. Unsurprisingly this hasn’t always been the case. The counselling I went through in my early twenties plays a huge part in my ability to function and be normal right now. Without it I’m pretty sure I would still have my family in my life taking me for a ride on a daily basis. I’d more than likely still not have any self respect. And I probably wouldn’t be married to my darling hubby.
I was very fortunate to find a good counsellor at a time in my life where I desperately needed guidance. Nina and I instantly clicked and over the next few years she taught me to love myself. Not in a wishy washy American TV show type way, but she genuinely changed the way I viewed myself and made me realise that I deserved better than I was getting. I saw her frequently for about a year, then less so over the next few years as I was away travelling. Whenever I was in the UK I would make some to see Nina, and got so much out of our sessions I can’t even properly articulate it.
It was Nina that opened my eyes up to how much my mother and co. were taking me for granted. How I was playing the parent role and she was the lost child. In many respects it had always been this way, but after I left home I became a source of financial aid for her as well as emotional. In the first few months that I was seeing Nina I redefined the rules with my mother – taught her that it wasn’t okay to call me up at work and tell me some sob story that ended with me spending half an hour on the phone, then sending her money. That it wasn’t okay to expect me to come running to her rescue all the time. She didn’t like it one bit, but she didn’t have a choice and had to deal with it. Our relationship definitely changed for the better during this time, but other situations forced us apart in the end.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve had wobbly moments, and I didn’t come to terms with my drinking problem until a few years later (detailed post to follow) but ultimately I think Nina saved me. From my family. From my past. From myself. With her help I brought the skeletons out of the cupboard and into the open where they could be properly dealt with and ghosts laid to rest. I was able to accept my past and move forwards without glancing back the whole time. Needless to say most of my early sessions ended with me in floods of tears.
It has always baffled me that folk write off even the idea of seeing a counsellor due to the money. In my opinion mental health is the most important part of your well being. If you’re not happy then your world will not work properly. I shudder to think how damaged I would still be had I not met Nina. I know with certainty I’m only able to be the wife and mum I am today because I dealt with my past way before I started thinking about having a family of my own.