Irrespective of how profound the aforementioned may be, the most painful thing I ever had to witness was watching my parents struggle when it became apparent trade was no longer what it once was. Seeing busy weekends turn into quiet ones and a venue once packed to the rafters with people, become somewhere unrecognisable where you can hear individual conversations rather than the collective sound of people enjoying themselves was heartbreaking.
What I remember mostly however, is that no matter how bad things got, my brother and I never suffered, my parents instead shouldering all the burden. Even as teenagers when we became more aware of what was happening, we were still taken on holiday, bought fashionable clothes and treated in the same way we always had been. It was my parents who made the sacrifices, and this is something I will be forever grateful for. Even now as an adult I still can't fully appreciate the position they were in and the unbelievably difficult choices they made.
I have been brought up with very much working class values with the belief that everybody has their struggles in life and those most fortunate have a chance to make a difference, no matter how small that difference may be. For me personally I would now go a step further and say that I feel I have a duty to support those less fortunate as, like my parents all those years ago, many are not in their position through choice. All it takes sometimes is a helping hand and some kind words to help somebody back onto their feet. As I have alluded to previously, none of us are immune from a difficult time. We are all potentially one job loss, one accident, one divorce or one illness away from a life changing scenario. Only when we accept and embrace this will we truly begin to understand what others experience.
I dedicate my life to supporting people personally and professionally and this is something I am extremely proud of and wouldn't have any other way. People think being a Counsellor is financially rewarding, but this isn't always the case and for me the biggest reward is seeing a client turn their life around. My guest columns in the local paper are not to enhance my profile, but to use the media to reach more people who may have experienced or be experiencing some of the subject matter.
I am in a fortunate position, but I have seen first-hand the other side and what a very different experience can do to people. I have witnessed struggle and despair, a sight which will stay with me for the rest of my life. But through my parents I have also witnessed tenacity, kind-heartedness and a commitment to always do right by people. I have never forgotten where I have come from and now I have the opportunity to give something back.
This is why I have decided to commit to some Pro bono work among my private clients. State of mind should never be determined by your income and it is unacceptable to have people in society who simply cannot afford to be emotionally healthy. Whilst I am only one person, I will certainly do everything I can to stay true to myself and support those less fortunate.
Thank you for reading and stay safe friends.