Two things have improved my mental health:
1- Adventure. If you’re reading this it’s likely that you found it via my adventure group “Get Out There Girl”. We do insanely awesome adventures with women. This post is not about that though. This post is about counseling. Check out my earlier post “Get the Babysitter” to read about how adventure has helped me.
2- Counseling. It’s not a secret but it is a lesser known fact about me. For the past 5 years I have gone to counseling consistently. My frequency varies depending on my life at the time. Sometimes I go weekly. Sometimes monthly and sometimes every few months.
Why is that that counseling has such a negative connotation around it? Why are people so afraid to not only go but to admit that they go? I wish it was different. I think that our culture tends to view people who need counseling as broken or damaged and it is looked down upon if you actually reach out for help. Which in my opinion is a bunch of BS. We are human. We are incapable of perfection and we are incapable of living life without help of some sort.
Let’s look at online grocery order and pick up. Is this not the best invention ever? Why is it okay to receive help with something as inconsequential as grocery shopping but not okay to ask a professional for help when it comes to dealing with our mind?
After my third baby was born I sank into a deep depression. We had just moved across the country, I had no support system in place, my husband started a new career and we opened up a CrossFit gym. I refer to it as the perfect storm. My hormones went crazy after giving birth. My period started back up just two months after giving birth (which after my previous two babies waited an entire year to show up) and my milk supply dried up at the same time. My hormones were all over the place. After having suicidal thoughts my husband insisted that I see a counselor. I agreed feeling that I was indeed “broken”.
Meeting with my counselor, Joan, I felt validated and seen. She never told me I was broken or anything was wrong with me. She listened and showed human compassion to me. She offered me crucial help and advice. It was different than talking to a friend or even my husband. She listened and gave me tools to battle my thoughts etc. She helped me distinguish what was truth and what were lies in my head. She was a savior of sorts to me. After I was no longer battling postpartum depression I continued to see Joan. I had a lot of past issues that I wanted to work through and she had already proved her value.
5 years later I continue to see a counselor. Joan and I both moved to different cities but I have found two other counselors that I have trusted and seen. I sincerely feel like everyone would benefit from seeing a counselor. A counselor is someone who listens without bias and judgement. There isn’t a friend who can do it the same. Counselors also give advice. They have college degrees and know what they are talking about. Again, there isn’t a friend who can do it the same. Listen I have the best friend a girl could ever ask for (Love you Tiff) but yet she still doesn’t replace my need to see a counselor.
There are a lot of things I wish I could change about our culture. One of which is the fact that seeing a counselor is looked down upon. I wish we could announce our counseling sessions with pride, knowing that we are doing something good for our mental health. It doesn’t mean we are broken or damaged. It simply means we are looking outside ourselves for help. We are human and all humans need help. Whether they admit it or not. I’m comfortable admitting that I do and I am so much better off because of it.