Life Transitions & Adjustment

When Should You See a Counsellor?

Life Transitions & Adjustments

At Sydney Hills Counselling we help you to navigate life transitions and make successful adjustments with professional counselling. Find support, guidance, and strategies to manage change, overcome challenges, and embrace new beginnings in the Sydney Hills District. Learn to manage any life transition easily and reduce any anxiety that usually accompanies these uncertain transitions.

When someone is experiencing a mental health issue, whether it be anxiety, depression, stress, family, or relationship difficulties, the sooner they seek help, the sooner they will feel better. In Australia, it’s estimated that 45% of us will experience a mental health condition in our lifetime.

One in five Australian citizens will experience mental or behavioural conditions each year. The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently reported that according to findings from a recent national survey, 20% of Australians between the ages of 16 and 34 experienced varying high levels of mental distress. This is almost double the number of older Australians aged between 65 to 85!

The survey also found that over most age groups, women experienced higher psychological distress levels than men did. These percentages represent only 15% of the population who are experiencing some form of mental health concerns, and furthermore, mental health is something that greatly varies from person to person.

Anxiety was the most common Mental Health condition experienced by 5.5 million Australians (26.3%) during the lockdown period, an increase of over 1.1 million suffering from anxiety in the pre-COVID-19 period. There was also a significant increase in Australians suffering from depression during the lockdown period by over 3.8 million Australians.

So how can counselling help with resolving mental health issues? Counselling can provide you with skills and insight that will allow you to mitigate symptoms and their repercussions. At Sydney Hills Counselling, we work to recognise and develop your inner strengths and resources; we become your supportive partner in your journey towards better mental health, equipping you with tools and strategies to improve, even once your counselling sessions have ended.

So, when should you consider starting counselling sessions? If you have a problem which is causing you distress and it’s interfering with some aspect of your life, it may be time to consider seeking professional help.

If the following statements apply to you, it may be time to consider talking to a professional, registered counsellor, particularly if nothing you have tried so far has worked:

  • You spend a good chunk of your day ruminating over your ‘problem’
  • The ‘problem’ has interfered negatively with the quality of your life
  • You tend to hide the ‘problem’ from others in your life
  • The problem has interfered with the quality of your work or education
  • You rearrange your lifestyle around the ‘problem’

What to do when life throws you a curveball

Sometimes, life can throw us some fairly significant curveballs. At times it can seem that nothing we do seems to go our way and that whatever we try, we seem to mess it up. Curveballs are often thrown in sports, and likewise, they can be often thrown at us in life. Sometimes, we see them coming, and at other times they seem to come out of nowhere, knocking us to the ground. When this happens, we can become discouraged, angry, anxious, depressed, and uncertain of what we should do next. It can feel as if the only option is to just give up on all of the progress we’ve made so far because nothing we’ve ever accomplished before this seems to count for much at all.

Maybe, you’ve fallen back into old, unhealthy habits or negative thinking patterns. Perhaps the depression you’ve been struggling with has kept you in a dark place all week. You may believe that you’re right back at square one and that there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

At times we can all fall victim to feeling this way. We can feel that if our plans didn’t work out the way we wanted them to, we either weren’t doing it right or we are just a failure. We may have found ourselves living in a black and white existence where there wasn’t room for progress, only ‘perfection’.

Everyone struggles and experiences failure from time to time, from the invincible, high-flying executive to the barista at our local cafe. We should accept that we will all encounter at least a few curveballs in our lifetime and that they are simply an inevitable part of life; the difference lies in how we manage them.

In dealing with our failures, it’s important to note that when we encounter a period of failure or difficulty in our lives, the best way forward is to aim for slow and steady progress, moving one step at a time every day.

When you’ve experienced a significant setback in life, go easy on yourself. It’s okay to acknowledge that you’ve experienced something very challenging that you weren’t expecting to happen and that perhaps you didn’t make the best decision at the time. Beating yourself up so badly that you can’t seem to get back up again isn’t the answer. Showing yourself some compassion, understanding that you’re human, and dusting yourself off and continuing on your path really is the best way forward.

Even if that relentless inner-critic of yours is in full swing, screaming at you that you’ve failed, refuse to let it decimate you.

In her book, ‘Emotional Agility’, Dr. Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, explores how to navigate life’s unexpected twists and turns, dealing with those unpredictable curveballs using self-acceptance, adopting a different way of looking at what’s happened, and having an open mind.

Susan David’s concepts to achieve Emotional Agility are:

  1. Showing Up:
    Don’t ignore difficult thoughts and emotions. Face your thoughts and emotions head-on. You can do this by telling yourself, “I’m having the thought that I am …. (thought) and ‘I’m noticing that I am feeling…. (emotion).
  2. Stepping Out (of your thoughts and emotions):
    Detaching from and simply observing your thoughts and emotions helps us to see them for what they are – just thoughts and just emotions. Learning to see ourselves as a game of chess, filled with many possibilities, rather than just focusing on one piece on the board, limited to certain moves. Research on emotional suppression shows that when our thoughts are pushed aside or ignored, they just get stronger; the same goes for our emotions.
  3. Living According to Your Values:
    Our core values provide us with a compass that keeps us moving in the right direction. Living our lives guided by our core values will keep us on the path of determination, willpower, resilience, and effectiveness, enabling us to catch and deal with any unexpected curveballs that hurtle toward us. A few questions to ask ourselves when making important decisions are “What action will bring me towards my values?” and “What action will take me away from my values?”
  4. Moving On:
    Making small tweaks to how we think, how we motivate ourselves, and creating new, sustainable habits, can make a positive difference to our lives.