I was in my last year of A-levels at Frome college, I was speaking to Heather Cox at Frome College, she was the person I had always turned to at college. She said there was a WHY counselling coming in and would I like some sessions. That’s when my counselling started at Frome College.

I think certainly in the school environment it felt like there wasn’t as much pastoral support as I was now doing my A-levels. I felt like I needed more. Having Ruth in the school meant I didn’t have to travel to see her, she was on site and I just needed to pop over to see her.

I started seeing Ruth in March and finished in June. I realised I was grieving the loss of a life I used to have. I'd gone from playing rugby at a high level to being stuck on crutches and it really took me a while to adapt to this new way of life. I didn't think it was possible to grieve the loss of your former self, but Ruth made me realise it's a very really thing and it takes time to process.

I wouldn’t have completed my A-levels without having Ruth, the exams themselves were a massive thing to go through, along with all these conditions I had. Ruth helped me break things down and made me see it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t get them.  I felt very out of control through it all, I had no control over my exams, I had no control over my pain and the way I tried to control my life was by controlling my eating. Ruth was a stepping stone to getting further help, once I had talked it through with her, I was able to approach my GP and CAMHS. Although I went to CAMHS for support with my eating, it still felt good to talk to Ruth about all these other things that were going on, she knew my background and in some ways, this felt more valuable. Every session we talked about so many different things. Some weeks I would turn up and I had had a really good week, I had done an exam, I hadn’t had much pain, but we would end up talking about something that I hadn’t realized I needed to talk about. In some ways it’s going to those sessions where you think you feel ok but actually you talk through things and go away feeling better because you were holding stuff, but you didn’t realise.

I feel a lot more positive now, I got my A-level results and I did really well. I am now looking at what jobs I want and going to interviews. It’s really boosted my confidence. Ruth really prepared me for life coming out of school, it’s been a big change, but I felt quite well equipped for what was to come. Having the counselling really helped, as I was able to get a lot off my chest and learning to adapt my life because of it. I was on antidepressants before my counselling and was able to come off them shortly afterwards, I needed that support. It really showed me how much she helped.

Counselling isn’t something you necessarily want to do, I certainly didn’t. It could be two weeks or two months down the line, and you realise how much of an impact it has. Taking that first step is the hardest part. Talking to those around you is ok and they can help you take that first step but sometimes it’s difficult to talk to people who know you. That’s the good thing about counselling, this person has never met you, they aren’t going to judge you, they see you as a completely new person. Services such as WHY - you have to take advantage of it, it’s there to help you. Whatever you are going through, you should prioritise your health and that’s something I have learned massively. You can’t sit your A-levels or apply for a great job or just go through life without prioritising your health. It doesn’t have to be just your physical health, your mental health should also be important, its not a selfish thing to do. If you’re not well and if you can access that help you have to take advantage of that.

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