I have been through much in my short life. If you compared me to myself a decade ago, you would see a dramatic difference. That journey has left much damage in its wake. I have depression and anxiety and considered suicide twice. I changed my views on a variety of topics including religion, masculinity, sexuality and more.
A decade during which time you move from teenager to young adult to adult and reach a quarter century will involve significant changes as mentioned above. I’ve moved from Preston to Liverpool and back. Over the period, I’ve transformed myself from a confused Catholic to die-hard anti-theist. I’ve thoroughly accepted my sexuality as a homo. And I’ve realised the idea of masculinity I’ve grown up with is toxic and a killer.
My personal motivations
My motivations for training in the art of counselling are both personal and professional. Personally, I see the harm mental health and life, in general, can have on people. I know friends who consider suicide, needed medical attention and I know the scars of when they have sliced themselves to reduce the pain they are suffering.
A close friend placed the cold steel of a knife against his wrist and considered slicing it open, watching the blood seep out as his life left him. Another almost fell into the grip of alcoholism after a series of terrible events piled up the pressure. A third cut his arm as an act of self-harm to release the pain he was experiencing in his mind.
Mental health and life leave permanent scars on our minds and our bodies. That will always be the case. It is about coping and living on. That is why I want to be a counsellor.
I know I can’t counsel these friends, but I can help those in similar situations. Men commit 75% of all suicides in the UK. I want to change that by offering a safe environment where men can discuss their issues without fear of judgement or be patronised. LGBT folks are likely to develop and suffer from mental health issues. I want to help them.
Aiding LGBT and men
There will always be LGBT folks who struggle. Despite the passing of loves delivering more rights to us and the continually growing acceptance throughout society, life is still hard. Coming out remains a fundamentally tricky task, especially in religious families and communities. The damage that process inflicts can be immense.
Being a man in the 21st century is arduous. Not because as some morons would say because of feminism and how women are now treated better or are more equal. That’s a brilliant thing. No, its hard because of the pressures we as men and society put on each other from a young age and throughout our lives.
These are my personal motivations going through to qualify as a counsellor.
My professional motivations
On a professional level, I want to explore the practice of writing therapy. I am a writer by passion, and I’m aware how writing helped me work through my mental state. I want to investigate how successful it might be in practice. To give myself a place to write about my mental health issues, I’ve utilised the MindJournal and writing my blog: www.themecjournal.com.
The second professional reason is self-development. To help others improve themselves and their lives, I need to develop myself to an acceptable standard. The process to become a fully qualified counsellor offers that opportunity, and it is a task I am relishing.
The third reason, although bearing little hold over the decision, is the connection between stoicism and the different forms of therapy. That may connect to the work of Donald Robertson and Victor Frankl and continue the theme.
In the most basic terms, I want to help people, and this is one of the best ways I know how to do that. It gives me a variety of opportunities, and I can’t wait for the challenges ahead.