We chat to 35-year-old Beth Graber from Cornwall about how counselling helped improve her mental health
Earlier this year, Beth undertook MS-UK Counselling sessions because she was at a time in her life where she felt she needed extra support and wanted to turn to someone neutral who could help. MS-UK provides a counselling service specifically for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), both over the telephone and via Zoom.
What were you expecting from counselling?
I was expecting a friendly ear and possibly advice, and maybe just someone to be able to open up to.
The service was fantastic. I found comfort in the familiar voice each week and felt I could open up so much more freely over the phone, without judgement, rather than feeling anxious face-to-face.
What benefits did you notice?
I understood more about myself, and about self-care and self-love. I realised I was being way too hard on myself. I started to understand more about why I was behaving in certain ways and instead of punishing myself, I began to take more care of myself mentally.
I realised that on the days I couldn’t physically cope, it was OK to rest and I stopped beating myself up for being ‘lazy’ – rest and recuperation are very important. I cannot blame myself for having MS and I came to realise how strong I am for actually living with my condition.
Being able to open up and ask for help from others was a big deal for me and this was made easier by having counselling.
Did it benefit any of your personal relationships?
I felt I could open up more to friends and family, so this made it easier to communicate. I started to be more honest and not hide things, or how I felt. I was also able to ask for help.
What would you say to someone with MS who is struggling to cope?
I would say definitely try counselling. Having someone at the end of the phone to listen and just be there makes you feel so much better. If you are like I was, and keep in how you feel and don’t look after yourself emotionally, you will definitely see the benefits with counselling. It’s very true what people say – it’s good to talk!
Find out more about MS-UK Counselling