It’s all about you

There you are. You started your first Google search to see what the cause of your distress might be. In no time you are deep in an Internet rabbit hole of psychology concepts and definitions, wondering what fits best for you. You might be more confused and distressed, and you frantically close your tabs, being nowhere near a satisfactory answer.

The truth is counselling is a space where the fog lifts – even though it might seem hard at first. The most important ingredient in this process is you and your story.

Take a look, does any of this ring a bell to you?

On paper things are great. But something is off….

When experiencing hardship, you know what causes your difficulties. But what about when things are going well and you are successful, but at the same time you experience low moods and/or anxiety blocking you from enjoying your achievements? Acknowledging and valuing your internal experience can be challenging when this is not aligned with the external one – people around you singing your praises. You might feel disappointed and angry with yourself for not experiencing the promised excitement you were expecting, should you “make it”. An internal conflict between how you think you should feel and how you actually feel follows. Sharing this with others might be difficult since you are not sure what is going on and don’t think they will understand. You might blame yourself or feel guilty for not being grateful. Our work together will focus on exploring the issue that you are struggling with, what is the reason, the impact, and the meaning of this situation for you. By gaining insights and coming to terms with your internal experience, you will start to understand why you feel the way you feel and why that is normal.

The other shoe is about to drop – except that you don’t know what the other shoe even is, or why it would drop, but you are convinced that it’s going to happen. That would be a sign of debilitating anxiety.

To be clear, the idea that mental health implies a lack of anxiety is more of a delusion. Anxiety becomes an issue the moment it stops you from doing the things you wish to. Experiencing anxiety is extremely painful since it can be hard to understand its source and dynamics. Therefore, we try to push it out of awareness, denying its existence but that does not mean it will go away. Anxiety can resurface in somatic manifestations. Examples of these are migraines that come up with no obvious reason or different phobias, such as the irrational fear of being out in the open (agoraphobia) or fear of heights. No longer traveling due to a fear of airplanes or not changing jobs in a favorable market are other examples of how irrational anxiety can interfere with your enjoyment and how life becomes shaped by anxiety. Anxiety has meaning, anxiety has a cause and a purpose. In our work together we will try to uncover what is your anxiety trying to flag and what the emotions involved are.

You might feel that you’re carrying around lead weights tied to your body. Everyone is speaking to you in monotone and the clock seems to be running at half speed. You try to do the things you once enjoyed, but you find yourself just going through the motions until you finish.

On-going depression or periodical low moods can be debilitating and a struggle for yourself and those around you. It might be a constant and underlying feeling of hopelessness, lack of energy and sadness. In some cases, this might manifest in the form of outbursts of rage and then deep depression without any obvious reason. A constant feeling of being in survival mode might be another sign of an underlying depression. Suppressing all these emotional experiences and trying to push them out of awareness or pretending they don’t exist will only worsen depression and its symptoms.

In our work together we are going to adapt the intervention to your circumstances and will focus on understanding the origin of the depression and what strategies you can adopt for overcoming it and preventing it from reappearing.

Addictions can feel like eating the forbidden fruit from the Book of Genesis. Once you’ve eaten it, you know what it’s like to taste the fruit, and you’ll never forget that taste.

When you say “addictions”, thinks of two main aspects: the behaviour and the object. Most things that we interact with can become the object of an addiction. The behaviour is the part that impacts your life. The extreme use of the object leads to loss of important relationships and career, destroys your health or brings financial difficulties, just to name some of the consequences of an addiction. As a society we have been familiar with some type of addictions – e.g. drugs, alcohol and gambling – whilst others are somewhat new – e.g. pornography, social media, video games and food. Getting out of the cycle of addiction can seem impossible and experiencing shame can be very painful. In our work together we will aim to understand your addiction, what made it develop and persist despite the damage caused and what are the best ways to fight it.

It can be that you never experienced satisfactory relations but things are getting worse and worse. Or maybe you did enjoy your interaction with others but lately these are faltering. You are an excellent professional but you find it hard to collaborate with others, sooner or later you have a fallout with others. In your romantic relations things go well for a while but then something happens. You start to feel the same pattern repeating in different circumstances so you start to wonder if there is something else happening.

Or perhaps you have always felt like the odd one out in your family. Maybe you have never been given the attention you wanted, or maybe you always saw yourself in the perpetual shadow of your parents/siblings great achievements. You might be trying to compete and prove yourself, but no one seems to be paying attention.

Improving the way you relate with others starts with exploring the way you experience and interact with yourself, others, and the world. This will enable you to see your beliefs and emotions and how these influence your relations with others. You will be able to understand your patterns of thinking and feeling, their origins, and their impact. Our work together will aim to shed light on your difficulties in interacting with others and what actions are required for improving these.