For clients who seek out counseling, the range of emotional issues relating to stress is often wide. Clients enter into therapy to deal with any combination of depression, anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, confusion, frustration, and hurt. However, the one common thread that most client’s experience at one time or another is the fear that they are alone in their feelings. Most clients that I work with feel that their emotions are abnormal or erratic. The most common 5 words that I hear in any session are as follows: “You must think I’m crazy”. Anyone reading this blog needs to understand that this simply is not true.
The response to stress is different for everyone who goes through it. Some people can easily work through stressful situations and even thrive when surrounded by it. For others, stress can be overwhelming, painful to deal with, and even debilitating at times. Whether the difference in responses is due to genetic factors, biological factors, environmental factors, or situational factors, the fact remains that no two people deal with emotional or physical stress in the same way. We all have different breaking points for stress and when those breaking points are met, we react with emotions based on how multiple factors have shaped our lives.
Those clients who fear that others will think they’re crazy if they share their emotions are often too scared to simply talk to someone. If they were able to share their feelings with someone, more often than not, they would find comfort from a friend or relative. In session, I often tell clients that you never need to apologize for the way you feel. Feelings are natural and always valid. If you do not have a friend or relative that you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with, the Anxiety & Stress Center has counselors available (including myself) who are able to help you express your feelings and developing coping strategies to deal with your stress.
The saying goes that we cannot judge a person until we have walked a mile in their shoes. Only you can truly understand the emotional reaction you have to stressors, and when you enter counseling we promise no judgment about the feelings that afflict you. We want to help you realize that your feelings are normal, they are understandable, and you can learn to feel comfortable living with the way you feel.
Submitted by Bill Knor, L.C.P.C.
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor