Walking the path from struggle to strength
I asked my clients to write a few words of feedback, advice or encouragement for people thinking about whether to start CBT, as they are the experts from experience. I’m sure you’ll be inspired about possibilities for change, when you read how far others have come! I hope it also gives you a more detailed sense of how I could help you on your life journey, from those who have walked the path from struggle to strength themselves. There are no identifying details, not even first names or initials, as, to me, it‘s of utmost importance to protect peoples’ total confidentiality.
Overcoming depression, mood swings and exhaustion
About a year ago, I was in the absolute depths of despair. It's hard to describe how unhappy I felt and it's thankfully it feels a world away now. I had huge feelings of inadequacy and felt that I was absolutely no good at anything and no use to anybody. The weird thing is nothing had happened to make me feel that way and I really couldn't understand it or rationalise it, but I just felt it. I even knew that a lot of the things I was feeling were out of proportion and didn't really make sense, but that didn't stop me feeling them. In fact, that made me feel really guilty about how I was acting, and I couldn't understand why I couldn't just snap out of it. At my lowest points, I wished that I just didn't exist any more. I quit my job - which I love (and I'm OK at!) because I thought I was so awful at it that I was ashamed to be doing it.
What I think made me better was a combination of CBT, time to practice a new way of relating to my mind, and Eleanor’s uniquely warm, funny and dedicated care. I so desperately wanted to feel better and in just that first phone call to her she gave me some hope - hope that someone could help me. I found the process of CBT a very practical and positive way of moving forward, rather than negatively dwelling on the past. Eleanor always gave me things to go away and work on, which was such a proactive way of getting past all my repetitive dead end thoughts. Eleanor was able to help me think about why I might have felt how I did, and she was always so good at listening and understanding. I never felt it was difficult to talk to her. I feel totally back to my old self now and I have my old job back so life is good again. There will always be ups and downs but I have a strong sense that with the CBT strategies I have learned, I will never go back into that black hole.”
The most important thing I’ve learnt with Eleanor is that whatever problem you have, by talking about it with an attitude of kindness, examining it with compassionate understanding, and breaking out of vicious cycles of rumination, judgement, procrastination and avoidance, anything and any situation can be sorted out, no matter how bad it seems. Once you’ve gone through a cycle of hitting rock bottom and reaching out to get caring professional help …working through it, rather than running away, shutting down, getting defensive or just beating yourself up…it enables you to realise that you can deal with anything in life. And this is HUGELY EMPOWERING!”
I don’t know where I’d be without having started work with Eleanor. I was in a very low place but I now feel in a healthy balance, that she has given me the tools to realistically maintain. I like the way that Eleanor’s approach made room for addressing my feelings and needs in a very practical and pragmatic way, as well as with spirit and soul, as this was something I had asked for us to include. Just ask Eleanor what you would like to be covered in your sessions and she’ll be steadfast in providing you with many useful things.
The most valuable strategies I’ve gained from CBT were first and foremost to keep a journal for insight, encouragement and gratitude from the day or week – and this has been invaluable to me as I have been able to keep looking over my personal journey and work from a much more constructive basis for self reflection, rather than over-analyse things in depressing ways. I write supportive letters to myself to help me move on with my personal journey too, which might sound rather quirky, but its given me a really self supporting focus to address whatever I am dealing with and keeps it on record. I read books that Eleanor has recommended that have meaning to me on my path, and I spend time in quiet contemplation and meditation or prayer if I need to re-centre myself. I don’t now have any uncontrolled mood swings or massive low dips. This is because I know how to spot amber before things get to red light stage, and what to do to look after my body-mind-soul needs.”
I finally discovered the real reason to be alive: is to enjoy it!”
— Rita Mae West