I had a very misguided view of counseling prior to my parents' divorce. I believed counselors were for people who experienced really serious problems (like the death of a loved one) or who were really messed up in the head. Not me. Ridiculous, huh? Such a childish outlook.
I've never experienced chronic depression until my parents' problems really surfaced (or at least surfaced to the point where I began recognizing something was wrong). As problems continued, I would get stomaches everyday. My energy levels declined. I began to get more moody and negative. I had changed and I didn't even realize it.
I think the tiredness was what finally hit me. A few months ago, I realized I had a complete lack of interest in everything. The things I used to enjoy doing (hanging out with friends, watching movies, writing, etc.) I no longer had an interest in doing. I was a slug. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't pull myself out of it. Why bother showing an interest in life or having fun if your family is in shambles? How can anyone be happy when the world around them seems to be crumbling?
My husband finally said something. He told me he'd noticed a change in me and it wasn't good. He encouraged me to get professional help, which come to think of it, must have been so difficult for him. My husband, like most men, is a fixer. He wants to fix everyone's problems. And this was one problem he couldn't fix and moreover, couldn't even identify with. That has been so frustrating for both of us.
I continued resisting until one day, I had a breakdown. I realized that I had a choice: I could either lay down and die or I could get the help I needed and make an effort to live a normal life. Those were my only two choices. And if I decided not to make a choice, I would be choosing to lay down and die anyway.
To be honest, I'm not sure what I was afraid of. Those who know me know that I'm an open book and am not afraid to share what I'm feeling or thinking...which my husband absolutely LOVES (yes, a little sarcasm for you ). But I was still afraid. I was afraid of admitting that I actually needed help. That I was going through something so traumatizing that I couldn't bring myself out of it. That there was something in my life I had no control over. I think that's it. Loss of control. That's one of my greatest fears.
What made me finally take the leap to go see my counselor? I knew there was a chance my life could get better. And despite all my fears, I wasn't ready to give up that chance.
And you know what? She's fantastic. Has she solved all my problems in a few sessions? Absolutely not. We have a long way to go. And I'm still struggling daily to find my "new normal." But at least I have an outlet for which to voice how I'm feeling and she has the tools to help me deal with it. It feels good to know I'm doing something proactive to get my life back on track and to start feeling more like myself again.
We only get one life to live. I don't want to waste it anymore. So I'm taking a stand. For myself. For my life. Because you know what? I have the right to live it.
Have any of you seen a counselor? Was it hard for you to take that initial first step? If so, why?