Counselling, support and information for all relationships 
A 31-year- old firefighter tells his amazing story of how he has benefitted greatly from Relate’s counselling services.  
Relate counselling is open to everyone. No matter your age, gender, race, marital status, sexual preference... the list goes on. It makes no difference to us, we treat every single one of our clients the same, offering an equally brilliant level of relationship counselling service from our team of highly qualified and experienced counsellors. If you’ve got relationship problems that are affecting your mental health, get in touch. Take that first step by contacting us; it will get easier after that. 
 
Here’s a 31-year- old firefighter’s story, telling how he benefitted greatly from Relate’s counselling services. Seeking support for family relationship troubles, he attended Nottingham Relate over several months. In his words, he talks about the impact relationship counselling has had on his life. 
 
“Mental wellbeing has rapidly come into the public eye over the last few years and is particularly relevant now as we, as a nation endure a world pandemic. As many of you will know, the effects mental health issues can have on an individual and those around them can be debilitating, life changing and, in some cases, deadly. In brutal honesty I know I’m not alone in this state and I’ve always thought of needing or seeking help as a sign of weakness. I was confident I could solve all my problems and didn’t give any thought to how I’d react or what I would do if I was faced with an issue I couldn’t solve alone. As the saying goes “you never think it will happen to you, until it does”, and boy did I have a shock! 
 
I experienced significant relationship breakdown with a number of my family members, people who I’d always been very close to. The issues had been going on for a long while [about 2 years], and being me at the time, I did my best to cast peace over the situation and keep everyone happy. Because that’s what I did, solved problems. 
 
However, it progressed to a stage where it didn’t matter what I did, the issues prevailed and worsened. Without realising it, it was starting to have a profound impact on me. Sleepless nights, wavering appetite, difficulty concentrating, trouble completing tasks, the inability to make even the simplest decisions, becoming angry easily, the list goes on! Not to mention the constant feeling of guilt, seeing the whole situation as my fault. These were just some of the symptoms I experienced and by this time, people were starting to notice. 
 
It took one particular nasty occasion which occurred in October 2019, when I suddenly realised that I desperately needed help. I took a short time off sick, believing that some time away from work would help me to clear my head. But as the problems existed in my personal life and not my professional life, this didn’t help in the slightest. I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone, as everyone who I’d normally talk to were either directly involved in the situation or on the other hand they knew me and my family so well that there was the possibility of them forming strong opinions which rendered their advice unhelpful. I didn’t need people’s opinions, I needed was impartiality and non-judgement. I was in need of someone who didn’t know me personally, wasn’t familiar with my history or that of anyone else who was involved in my troubles. 
 
Since joining the Fire Service in 2013, I had been aware that Relate were an organisation who could help with relationship problems but I assumed that it was for marital relationship issues. Like couples going through a rough patch and experiencing relationship breakdown. My problem wasn’t like that, so I hadn’t even considered seeking their help. However, after hitting what can only be described as a very low point in my life, I was willing to give anything a go. 
 
After speaking with occupational health, they arranged for me to have a few sessions with a family counsellor at Relate’s offices on Mansfield Road, Nottingham. On the day of my first appointment I recall feeling incredibly apprehensive. I sat in the waiting room constant thoughts like “this is pointless”, and “I can’t see how this is going to help me” going through my head. The first question I was asked in the session was whether I’d ever had counselling before. When I replied “no”, it was strangely liberating to hear the reply of “well done, you’ve made the first and hardest step”. An hour later, I stepped out the door feeling like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders. To have someone sit and listen to me without making judgement of me or anyone else involved, was a great feeling. 
 
Over the following three months, I visited counselling every two weeks. During the appointments, my counsellor and I stripped the issues right back, identifying their root causes. It was fascinating to see how far back they actually went, much further than the two years I’d originally thought. It became clear during these sessions that particular family relationships had become toxic and if left unchecked they would’ve continued to deteriorate. My counsellor encouraged me to find ways to regain control of the situation in an emotionally healthy way, as she put it “you cannot change other people, but you can change how you deal with them”. 
 
There is no comparison between how I felt then, to how I feel now. I cannot speak highly enough of the help Relate have given me and I would encourage anyone experiencing relationship problems, whether it’s with their partner, their family, their friends, whoever or whatever they may be, to have the confidence to make that first step. Everyone’s mental health has its limits, and it’s clear that it’s unwise to push the boundaries and explore where those limits are.” 
 
Many people misunderstand the concept of counselling and seeking relationship support. Here at Relate, it’s our mission to show more and more people that getting help can make a big difference. One of the ways we can do that is to share true stories like this, from people who have experienced counselling first hand and can talk from personal experience about the impact it has had on their lives. We think you will agree, the change in character, the increased happiness and the invaluable resolutions, as described in the above testimonial, are worth it. 
 
If you are experiencing relationship difficulties, of any kind, Relate counselling can help. Talk to us, on 01159 584278 or alternatively, you can email our friendly team on info@relate-nottingham.org.uk. 
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