Therapies

Why I became a counsellor

Why did I became a counsellor?

The answer to that is simple, I’ve had depression and anxiety brought on by PTSD and although I’ve had a lot of amazing people help me through the years I always felt that there was something missing. No one really looked at me as a whole person. They only wanted to treat or look at the problem that was in the foreground, which is fine, but as many of us know there is often a problem that we don’t see or just over look.

Two years ago, I got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after three years of tests and examinations and a lot of people telling me there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I truly thought I had gone mad. I lost my business as a landscape gardener as the work was too demanding for me because of the pain the Fibro was giving me. My depression got worse, my PTSD was peaking out of control and I really thought it was the end of the world for me. Then I read two books that completely changed how I looked at things. The first was “Mend the Gap” by Katie Mottram and the second was “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.

I decided that I had to look at things in a different light and change my life completely. I was still getting help for my depression and PTSD but as far as my Fibromyalgia was concerned, I was on my own as pain killers don’t help me at all and I was just told “you have to learn to live with it”. You may, or may not, know that depression and Fibro are great friends, they run hand in hand, so I had to learn to focus on what helped me and that was learning all I could to make sure I could help others and see them as a whole person and not just this or that problem.

The most important thing I learned was if you can get the mind under control and into a good place the body will often fall into place close behind.

By helping people understand why they feel the way they do, giving them time to express what they are feeling, letting them know there isn’t anything to be ashamed about and by giving them tactics to cope when things are so bad they think it’s all over for them, I find I can make a real difference to people’s lives and ultimately to their family’s lives as well. (So often the family gets forgotten and are just left to pick up their own pieces at the end of it all.) It is most important to reassure someone that the end is a long way away and tomorrow can be a happier place.

Having been in the other seat for many years I have a strong understanding of what people really need and how I can best help them and that is ultimately why I became a counsellor.

About the author

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Rob Atkins

My name is Rob and I’m 50 years old we all think “I never thought that something like this could ever happen to me”.
I used to work as a landscape gardener with my own business but after getting ill I had to give it up as it was no longer possible for me to do the work. I had depression and PTSD before my Fibromyalgia which is a challenge to live with as anyone with these conditions well knows but this made it a lot worse as I started to have to give things up that I enjoyed doing and one by one I felt my normal life disappeared in front of me.
In the last few years I’ve trained as a counsellor and have a Diploma in advanced counselling and a Diploma in PTSD diagnosis and management hoping that I would be able to help others with similar problems but my health just hasn’t aloud this to happen (YET).
I’m so very lucky that I’ve got a loving wife who has supported me all the way through this even though I can see how it has affected her as well. I owe so much to her that I will never be able to put into words.
Like so many of us with mental health problems I’ve given up on a number of things but I’ve clung to the little things sometimes just to get through. It’s not easy and everyday is a fight despite what some people may think but there is a way out there for everyone to help them get through this.
I have learnt to keep trying even if it feels like there is no hope anymore. I was taught not to use the word stubborn while I was training to be a counsellor because it can come across as a negative and to use the word determined instead but I think a little bit of both is what you really need to keep going when you are in a bad place.
Be a determined, stubborn person to fight your way through to the next day as things could feel so much better even in the next hour.