“It Doesn’t Have to be This Way.”

I recently heard a story of a recovering alcoholic who was going to do his first home visit. He had no idea of what he was going to say. Nervously, he knocked on the door, and a child answered and took him through to the kitchen, where the parents sat. He understood that both adults were struggling with addiction. Introducing himself, he sat and, after a moment, said, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Sometimes in life, we get stuck, held captive by the awful thing(s) we have done or that have been done to us. We feel ashamed, belittled, hurt, confused and overwhelmed. The need to survive asks us to believe that what happened back then somehow means something about who we are or what our value is now. And sometimes, we build an identity from those beliefs in a desperate attempt to make meaning of what happened. We become the prisoners of those memories, and the only view we have of life is through the “bars” or the lens of those events, and life can become frightening, uncertain or dark. Or small and bitter and hopeless. Or angry and defensive and alone.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The purpose of therapy is to build the future. Nothing in our past must define us or ‘make’ us, anything. It doesn’t mean pretending or denying the truth. That would be avoidance and unhelpful. What happened, happened. And it is absolutely true that we cannot change the past. However, we can choose what we do with our experiences. We can learn from them. We can build strength and dignity. We can find our ‘me’ in the mess and lift ourselves into the sunshine. Why should we be defined by someone else’s choice! It takes courage to face the things that have harmed us, and sometimes, it is uncomfortable, but the only thing worth regretting is the thing we don’t learn from.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We do not need to be held the prisoner of the past. And so, in therapy, we ask, “Why does this ‘thing‘ have the power? And who is giving it the power? What if the person is me? And what if I can change that?”

It doesn’t have to be this way. It CAN be different. Pain is what we feel when something happens: death, illness, job loss, divorce, abuse, or many other life events. Suffering is what we experience when we give meaning to that event. In life, everyone will experience hardship, sadness and pain. But what if, in learning from it, we get to choose our future?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

For more information on mental health, view our homepage or our services page to see all that we offer. Book an appointment or get in touch today.

Joy Anasta & Associates, Counselling, Psychotherapy & Therapy

Joy Anasta is the Principle and Clinical Lead with over 26 years in private practice having initially trained as a Registered Nurse before transitioning into psychotherapy. Joy loves to walk, and she often wanders through the Adelaide Hills or along the beach on the weekends. Her delights are cooking for family and friends, finding fun and laughter, and music.