When I got to my freshman year of high school, I quickly became overwhelmed. Each of the things that had happened in my life felt like ten-pound weights sitting on my shoulders. All the excess weight I had on my shoulders made me withdraw from the things I had in my life. Nothing was interesting anymore and I just felt bad. Eventually I knew I needed help and I knew it was more than just taking to my mom about what I was feeling.
I started by talking to the social workers at my high school. I was lucky enough that the social workers we had were fantastic, but there is only so much that you can do in a 30-minute class period. One day, my social worker handed me a sheet of therapists in the area. I was reluctant to accept it. I knew I was messed up, but was I that messed up that I needed to see a therapist? Through all the reluctance, I decided that it can’t hurt to try.
I asked my mom to look at the list and we decided on one together. Luckily enough, the therapist was right down the street from me. The first session we had was just an intake. She got to learn a little about me, some of my issues and we went over forms and such. At this point I wasn’t sure it would work. I didn’t feel any better, in fact I was more tired leaving the appointment than I was coming into it. My mom said that I should give it about a month, just to see. So, I tried it for a month.
Slowly, I could feel the weight lifting off my shoulders. It was so small at first that I barely noticed it, but there was something there. Just being able to say everything I was thinking to another person without judgement was so important. I needed to tell someone about all the things that had happened in my life, but I didn’t want to burden my friends or my parents.
Therapy was the best decision I ever made. It didn’t change who I was, but it helped me bring the parts I loved back to the forefront. It helped me learn how to treat my mind and body with gentleness and kindness. I was becoming the best version of myself possible without the guilt and shame following me every day.
Talk therapy isn’t for everyone, but it is a great place to start. Just talking about all the feelings that you have bouncing around your head can help you make sense of them. Or it’s a good bouncing off point until you find the next best kind of therapy. You deserve to give yourself the opportunity to start feeling better.
Elise Keane is a sophomore neuroscience major. They can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]