I learned today is #WorldMentalHealthDay, so I decided to talk a bit about my experience in regularly seeing a counselor.
A few years ago, I was struggling with a job that was about to let me go, a lot of debt, infertility issues, and a lot of other things. I just felt I was at my breaking point. So, I googled to see if there was a therapist close by and scheduled an appointment.
I had no idea exactly what would occur in a session. I’m the type of person that has a hard time trying something new. The vulnerability of doing something new makes me extremely uncomfortable. When I met with my therapist, she simply asked “Why are you here?”
I begin to explain the last several years of my life. Some decisions that seemed smart at the time had turned out poorly. I explained about losing two jobs in the past few years. I explained about how we were drowning in debt. I explained a family history of suicide, and how I felt like I had been drifting professionally since I graduated high school. I explained everything over twenty minutes and looked straight at her and said, “That’s why I’m here.”
Her response made me smile. “Well….shit” she said.
And at that moment, I felt a huge burden just come off of me. It was a vindication that the feelings that I had, the overwhelming hopelessness, the stressed out anxiety, the exhaustion, was what was SUPPOSED to be happening. For someone whose motto has always been “just outwork the problems”, I started to accept the fact that sometimes you just can’t outwork them, you have to deal with them.
I don’t have anyway to compare my experiences to what yours will be like. I just know over the past few years I’ve been meeting with my therapist bi-weekly to just discuss the stresses that are in my life and the ways to handle them. I feel better after these sessions, and my wife can tell a difference in my mood when I have to miss a session.
I was raised in a family where you were supposed to bring all your troubles to God and Jesus in prayer. Well thankfully, God made therapists. God also encourages you to accept help when it is needed and to seek out wise counsel.
So if you are in a time where things just don’t feel right, I encourage you to look for a therapist. Most insurance covers it and if for some reason you do not have courage, many therapists have a cash plan that can be reasonable. Also, if you are concerned about taking medication, share that with your therapist. While we’ve discussed it a few times, I have not taken medication for my issues. Medicine shouldn’t be stigmatized, but if you are wary of it, don’t let that be the reason you do not attend a session.
I hope this helps. We’re all in it together.