Overcoming anxiety to discover a new passion.
October 8 2018 by Christine Lane, Counsellor, Fully Alive
Overcoming anxiety to discover a new passion. As a second-generation retailer, selling had always been a passion for me. Seven years ago, I discovered what it was about retailing that gave me a such a deep sense of satisfaction. I was involved in a church-based community group that worked with people who struggled with a variety of issues on a daily basis. As I spent time with people, I realised that it’s people I am passionate about and that the retail environment up to that point had been the method of interacting with them.
So, after a bit of persuasion from some significant people in my life, I applied to Bethlehem Tertiary Institute and began a completely new journey of studying for a degree in counselling. From the beginning I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, as I had always told myself that I was too dumb to ever study at tertiary level – it’s interesting how that came to the surface and the problems that this lack of confidence created for me.
For the first time in my life I became aware of high levels of anxiety that I could not control. No amount of self-lecturing, or self-discipline could keep this thing silent in me. In the months and years of study that followed, I began to understand that this wasn’t a matter of who I was, but more the result of the environment I was raised in. As the daughter of an alcoholic, I came to understand that my father’s alcoholism had created a very stressful environment for our family and that children of alcoholics can acquire biological and psychological vulnerabilities that follow them into adulthood, which if not addressed can become permanent disabilities.
People function through self-images, which usually shift and respond to changes in their life. In a stressful situation, we can become victim to distortions in our self-image. In my case, embarking on study more than 30 years after leaving school, brought back all the feelings of inadequacy I had around learning. Narrative Therapy is one of the skills that I have learnt that has been particularly helpful in understanding and overcoming my struggle with anxiety. It can be used to help a person gain a new and different understanding about themselves, rebuilding their self-esteem and their resilience to adversity, stress and depression. This is the part of counselling that really excites me. I am passionate about helping people to find out who they really are and to discover a quality of life that they never thought possible; in a nutshell to become fully alive. That’s the name of my counselling service. You can contact me at www.fullyalive.co.nz
Counsellor, Fully Alive
It’s important to remember that anxiety disorders are common and can be severe and impairing. If, despite your best efforts, anxiety is interfering with your life or relationships it’s important to get help. There are many effective treatment methods so don’t wait — speak to your GP or a mental health professional today.