Counselors are great. In fact, I would maybe even label them as the unsung heroes of today’s society. Unsung because, well, no one wants to admit when they are seeing a counselor. No one wants to admit that they are “broken.” Or that they need help on the emotional side of life.
A while back ago, I started dealing with some heavy emotional stuff. Well, more like the consequences of ignoring the heavy emotional stuff for so long. I was dealing with extreme anxiety and mild depression. I felt lost. Alone. With almost no hope that things were going to get better.
I was that way for a while. With the help of my loving parents and God, I fought my way through each day. Marking the good days on my calendar, to keep the hope alive. I cried out in prayer at night, pleading with God to make my anxiety go away. I received Priesthood blessings. But, although God strengthened me, He knew better than I, that I would need this trial to help me resolve the things I had ignored for so long.
A little before January, I began to see a counselor. Which helped, a little. It was unfortunate because, the counseling system at the school is overloaded, consequently I would only get to see my counselor every two or three weeks. So while it helped, it didn’t quite help enough.
A month went by. In the midst of it, I had talked to my mother a lot, calling her in tears or in the midst of a heavy panic attack. I almost went home from school.
But my mother and father, and counselor, advised me to stay strong and to hang in there (which I am SO glad that I did. Because now I am still able to go on my study abroad to Mexico). My roommate was there for me as well (another unsung hero, by the way). So I stayed. I reached out to a few friends. Joined a General Anxiety Group. Kept seeing a counselor. I even ended up telling my hall adviser, who made me aware of another counseling facility that would allow me to see a counselor every week. She encouraged me to look into it. So I did. I ended up making an over-the-phone intake appointment and waited. Finally, after almost four months of struggle (December-March), I began to meet weekly with a counselor.
It was hard.
Really, really hard. But worth it. Very much worth it.
I won’t disclose what we discussed. (I’m an open person – but not THAT open.) But needless to say, I cried a lot. And talked a lot. And listened a lot.
Time passed and it didn’t seem like things were getting better. In fact, it felt like they were getting worse. But I pushed onward. Going to my counseling session even when I didn’t want to. I even stopped taking a hormone pill, in the hopes that it would help (And, well, honestly, because God told me it would be a good idea to do so. He was right, of course).
Finally the end of the semester came. I came home to go through the Kansas City Temple with my family. In the which, I made sacred covenants with my loving Heavenly Father and received amazing blessings in return for those covenants. (My burden was further lightened by those blessings. And I can tell you right now, there was a noticeable difference in my life).
After a week home, I returned back to BYU. And resumed counseling.
Six months later (December-June), after my initial start of counseling, I can tell you that I am feeling SO much better. Not completely better. But a lot better than I had been. Instead of feeling anxious and sad all the time, I feel happy and only sad and anxious some of the time.
A lot of this change has to do with my relationship with God. It has grown SO much over the past six months. A lot of it has to do with not taking that darn hormone pill I had been on. And a lot of it has to do with my counselor – bless the man. Because he has changed my life.
It may be odd that I am sharing this with you, random reader, but I hope to make a point. Or at least, make something that you can walk away with.
And that is this: counselors are awesome. Seeing one doesn’t make you broken, it makes you human. Just as going to God for forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re broken. It just means you’re human.
It is well worth your time, if you are struggling with anxiety or depression – or if you’re just tired of hurting inside – to see a counselor. It won’t heal you overnight. As you may have picked up, it has taken six long, hard months of fighting, praying, and changing. For some it will take longer, for others shorter. But it WILL help. Especially as you allow Christ to heal and change you – heal you from the hurt, and change you in a way that allows you to move forward.
I can’t say enough thanks to my counselor. Because he really has changed my life. Session by session. He’s helped me to learn that emotions are messengers – not evil things to ignore and squash under my foot. He’s helped me to see that although being sad is not fun, it’s not bad. And furthering myself from such emotions is what has caused some of my depression.
But mostly what I have learned – from both God and my counselor – is that I am a beloved daughter of God. I have worth. And I am someone worth knowing.
I can promise you that I still struggle. I still have bad days. Counseling doesn’t heal overnight. But it heals and, more importantly, it teaches you better ways to view the world and your struggles.
If you’re struggling: Please, please, please take the time to take care of yourself. You are worth it. You are loved. Take the time to be well – emotionally and physically. Counseling is hard. But it is so very worth it.
And remember: You are loved. You are a fighter. And you will succeed.