Therapists reveal the most common emotions people think they are alone in feeling

From not loving your children to feeling like an imposter at work

The stresses and strains of modern life make many of us feeling inadequate, imperfect, isolated, and vulnerable from time to time – so why do we also feel like we are the only ones experiencing such emotions?

A recent thread on the entertainment website Reddit asked therapists to name problems which many people face, but feel are uncommon. 

Therapists and psychiatrists filled the thread with accounts of people feeling judged, out of place in life, and worried about family relationsips - laying bare how the stigma surrounding mental health leads many people to bottle up their issues because they feel ashamed and abnormal.

Below are a handful of examples from the thread. 

The Reddit thread quickly attracted members of the public who identified with the issues the therapists were flagging. 

Such issues can affect anyone because even the most seemingly insignificant experiences we have in childhood can change brain structures, according to Myira Khan, a professional counsellor based in Leicester.

"Scientifically, our brains are wired depending on our experiences. There is a very strong link between mental and physical health. So, if we don’t have support good enough experience in childhood our brain does physically change or not develop."

And despite the fact such issues are inevitably common, stigma is a "huge barrier" for many people when they approach talking about their mental health, she said. 

"I commonly hear people say 'I thought I was the only one who felt this way.' Everyone has mental health, so its about recognising that whenever you are on that spectrum that many people are experiencing these problems."

Ms Khan also often encounters clients who want to "be fixed" but stressed that mental health is much more complex - much like physical health. 

"Wanting to be fixed is a very common idea or expectation, and that somehow the counsellor fixes them or does something - a bit like a magic pill. But mental health is on a spectrum, and what we’re doing here is working with a spectrum of wellbeing of mental health.

They're not the only one going through it - if they were there wouldn’t be thousands of counselling or services.

 

"Everyone has mental health and it's about the spectrum you're on at the time and getting back the feeling of good health."

Wiliam Pullen, a psychotherapist working in London, reports similar experiences with clients.

"In my experience people often think there is something unusual in both the type and quantity of pain they are experiencing. They begin with an idea that they're is something wrong with them in particular, whereas most often their struggle is an appropriate response. Helping them to see that can be a huge relief in itself."

The most important thing a person can do when they feel mentally unwell, Ms Khan stresses, is to find support - whether that is in a friend or loved one they can trust, or in an impartial counsellor. 

"My one piece of advice is to access an initial point of support. The moment that people feel they are not quite sure what's going on or feeling their usual self. It's about sitting having a conversation with someone whether that’s a GP or by self-referring to counseling.

"For a lot of people will be enough and give them the key to  understanding the situation." 

"What's important is the idea they're not the only one going through it - if they were there wouldn’t be thousands of counselling or services. If they were the only person with such problems we wouldn’t exist."

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