Counselling and Caterpillars! Wait….What?

Recently, whilst working with a client an image of a caterpillar came to me. Not a caterpillar turning into a butterfly type image but the image of a caterpillar walking and more specifically the mechanics of how it walks.

A caterpillar does not move its whole body in one step, it uses incremental parts of its body to crawl along. Yes, I did google caterpillar walking videos to see if my imagination was playing tricks on me!

The head of the caterpillar stays strong and unwavering, but their bodies are moving, twisting, bunching up, stretching out and using momentum to make the whole body move along. It got me thinking about all of the elements it takes for us to support our mental health. It is a complex process with many moving parts that need to work alongside together to keep us moving. It is only when one of these moving parts stops working so well that it can have a knock-on effect on the whole process. Resulting in us feeling stuck and unable to move.

When we feel stuck in our lives, it is important that we identify what is keeping us there. This can be almost anything from trauma, low self-esteem, a sad break up, loss and so the list goes on.

Healthy minds take effort and commitment to maintain. One of the fundamentals of this is being honest with ourselves. The majority of the time we suffer is at our own hands by repeating patterns of behaviour that we know will lead us to pain, believing things about ourselves that there is no evidence for. Living in fear of vulnerability yet never realising that vulnerability is essential for growth, creativity, and authenticity. Perfectionism causing us to avoid anything that may mean taking a risk.

There has to be a time where we say enough, I need some help to figure all of this out! I cannot stay in this place anymore. I have to understand what I need to work on to get myself moving again. This is where therapy comes into its own. You are seen as a whole person and accepted as you are and then you are guided through your ‘stuckness’. The stuckness is explored along with different perspectives and understandings. You may find they were not stuck at all and that you just had to remind yourself prioritise your self-care a little more.

Many of us forget to make ourselves a priority and we live day to day pouring from an empty cup. This is not sustainable long term. Self-care is not just a hippy dippy name for taking a bath or doing a face mask. Self-care is essential for our wellbeing. It sometimes means doing the things we have been avoiding, going for that check up about that thing that is playing on your mind and keeping you awake at night. Allowing yourself to be instead of do. Do things that serve no other purpose than enjoyment. Not measuring your worth on your productivity. Throwing in some exercise and decent nutrition along the way. Like the caterpillar, let your bum catch up with the rest of you sometimes.

Most butterflies only live for around a week because they are fragile, and perfection is impossible to maintain. The world does not need perfection it needs authenticity and a collective effort to be the best person we can be. It needs us to work together, to be compassionate, to support each other and the real beauty in life is making tomorrow better than today.

I will end by saying this, start with you, be the caterpillar, keep all of your parts healthy and moving forward and if you feel stuck do not fear asking for help. We ALL need help sometimes.