Archives for posts with tag: life

The best thing I ever did was get Therapy.

It was incredibly hard to reach the decision to get it though. In theory it should be as simple as picking up a phone and making an appointment, but the reality was very different for me, and for many other people I’ve spoken to about this.
There’s a stigma attached to any sort of mental health problems. If you break your leg, you go to the hospital, and they fix it. It’s so matter of fact that no one even comments on it, other than to say hope it mends soon, or how did you do that?
Tell someone you’re in therapy though, and you’ll get anything from a look of fear that you’re somehow not right to patronising comments as to how brave you are, and how difficult it must be.
You don’t get that sort of reaction for a broken leg.
Having counselling is often seem as a thing to be ashamed of, because of this stigma attached to it, as being something only really messed up people do.
I say this from a position of feeling that myself. It was one of the things that stopped me from going for years. I thought I could deal on my own, that it would be weird to talk to a stranger about such personal things, that I was somehow better than that, that it was beneath me because I wasn’t fucked up right?
I fully acknowledge that I was an asshole for thinking that, and I’m glad I had the self awareness to question my fear of getting to know myself. I’m glad because it changed everything.
This is what I know now, that helped make that change happen.

Anger can be a positive thing.
I never realised how angry I was before I had therapy. I was afraid to recognise that I was angry as well, angry at the unfair deal I got, angry at the world for making my life so much harder, angry at myself for not having the strength to do anything about it, angry at my own self pity.
Not recognising this, and instead just burying it, just made it even more poisonous and impossible to deal with.
Once I talked about it though, I found I could channel it, it became a righteous anger, a powerful, positive force, and I found I could use it to do things. It gave me strength.

That spiteful inner voice that puts me down can be challenged, and changed.
That voice is such an asshole. But it’s also all talk. Learning how to challenge it makes it quieten down enough to make other things possible.

The worst case scenario hardly ever happens.
Man do I love imagining the worst possible outcome. It’s an automatic response that kicks in if I’m confronted by any difficult situation.
Thing is, the worst case very rarely happens. Yes, things might be pretty shit sometimes, but worst case? Not so much.
At the end of the day you will survive, if you can let yourself survive. Counselling, Therapy, they’re like the key to unlocking how to survive. It won’t always stop the mess and the hurt, but, for me at least it did stop my brain running away with all this. It gave me back some control, when I didn’t have any.

(I’ve split this into a two part post, because as I started writing it became pretty clear there was a lot to say here, and definitely too much for one post, so more next time!)

I live in a reasonably expensive bit of the country. It’s my choice, and I really love where I live but, outside of London’s dizzying heights, it’s probably one the most expensive places in the UK to live.
I also work a pretty low paid job, and money is pretty hand to mouth most of time. Again, to a degree, this is my choice. My main job isn’t the best pay in the world by any stretch of the imagination, but it is flexible, safe and something I (mostly) enjoy.
What this does mean though is that when it comes to having a home, I live with other people. Looking back in fact, there’s never been a time in the forty odd years I’ve been knocking around, that I haven’t lived with other people.
I have never lived alone. Not even for a little bit. Even at university, I still shared a dorm when I lived on site.
I’m not alone in this, and I’m not alone in living with other people. Mostly everyone I know flat shares in some shape or form, and that’s pretty universal across all ages and identities.
A lot of it is because of renting prices, and bad pay, and that certainly plays a part in my situation, but also, there’s something about living with other people that’s pretty comforting.

Maybe it’s some throwback to when we lived in smaller groups, and had closer tribal packs. The security and community that brought would of been pretty essential to life, and I guess now we live in groups of thousands, hell, sometimes millions, having the security of a smaller ‘tribe’ can help with feelings of isolation and loss of individuality amongst all the hundreds of thousands of people we share our cities with.
I suppose that’s who our friends, family and people we live with are, our own personal tribes, the only difference being that now our modern tribes are more interlinked. We belong to a often huge variety of social groups, with different standing in each, and thanks to technology, the tribes we belong to aren’t even limited by geography. The vast oceans that limited our ancestors are no match for the Internet, which allows tribal membership to finally become global, rather than local.

I’ve been considering living on my own, because I never have, but the thing that stops me is the potential for losing a tribe. No, that’s not right, it’s the fear of the potential to lose a tribe.
I’m fairly certain that if I did live on my own that it would be alright, and I could even gain something from it.
Fear of losing something is a powerful thing, but I guess we shouldn’t let that stop us from doing something new. After all it’s not so much that the tribe is being disbanded, it’s more that there’s just been a reshuffle of roles and places held, which you could even say is an essential, and nessesary part of life in a tribe, modern or otherwise.

Freiya Benson

Writer & Photographer.

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