I started going to counseling on April 1st of this year. No, that’s not a joke.
(Sorry I couldn’t resist.)
It has easily been the most rewarding and difficult thing I’ve done. I’m pretty open about it with my coworkers, family; my peers. It’s taken me longer to release said information into this little (but quite massive) internet-sphere. Like Facebook, Instagram, any social media. I think it’s because I feel the need to keep up appearances and suddenly instead of telling a person to their face (where I can see their reaction), I’m telling a whole world of people whose reaction/judgment is blocked from my view by a phone or computer. It’s a scary thing being vulnerable. Like not having a layer of skin as protection, leaving all of my insides to be viewed by the general public. Gross analogy, but you get the idea.
So. Here it is, interwebs. I’m going to counseling. If you asked me what for, my impulse response would be “for my anxiety.” But since starting counseling I’ve learned that a label is just that. A label. It’s a characterization, but it’s not anything other than that. It doesn’t convey information unique to the person with said “label”.
I’m going to counseling because I need it. Because I love me and I care about myself and my mental health and I am so ready for the stigma surrounding counseling to be shattered to bits. I’m choosing to help facilitate said destruction. I’m going to counseling, but counseling is not WHO I AM. And another thing, counseling doesn’t have to be negative. It’s honestly a really great thing. For me, starting to go to counseling meant that I want(ed) something more for myself than what I had. I was tired of suffering from anxiety and other issues. I decided to help myself and that’s the best decision I ever made.
It all seems very romanticized, so let me get very real with you. Counseling is rough. On more than one occasion I have cried throughout my hour long session. There are so many layers of myself that get peeled back, that sometimes once I leave I’m scrambling to layer up and not let everyone see the deepest parts of me. But then, there are other times the sessions are so difficult that I don’t have the emotional energy to put up a facade. Those are the days I learn the most about myself. Let me encourage you in this, I have never left a session feeling hopeless. No matter how difficult my session was, I have never felt defeated. You could say I have a really great counselor (Because I do.) But it also could be that counseling is SUPPOSED to feel hopeful even in the most heavy times. In the words of one of my favorite organizations To Write Love on Her Arms, it is both heavy and light.
“We laugh and we scream and we sing. Our hearts are heavy and light.”
I hope this helps just one person. Even if it doesn’t, the words still ring true.
Much love to you all,