If you’re like me, then you want to do everything by yourself.

No asking for help.

No favors.

You got this.

Anything and everything - you can handle it.

But I recently hit a spot where I realized that I can’t do all of this on my own. I needed some help.

And that realization was a little scary.

I was going through some terrifying, weird health problems and struggling with severe anxiety over it all. I was eventually diagnosed with something called POTS Syndrome and am doing much better now. Health problems, severe anxiety - all of this was new territory for me. I didn’t know how to healthfully handle it all. So, I decided to go to a counselor. Counseling was also new territory for me, and I didn’t know quite what to expect. I soon found out, though, that it is intensely and genuinely life-changing.

We see counselors and psychiatrists portrayed all the time on TV and I think it’s easy to brush it off as: “That’ll never be me. Counseling and talking about emotional and mental health is for people with actual disorders or for people who have lived through extremely traumatic things.” If I’m honest, that perspective probably used to be mine. I saw the value in counseling, but I never pictured myself going through it. I didn’t want to be in a place where I needed counseling, you know? Because I thought I could handle it all, and if there was something that came up that I couldn’t handle, then... well... who was I?

I’m learning that my identity is not in my ability to handle things. It’s okay to ask for help, and the world still goes on. I’m still myself, even while I’m being helped. I think we all go through vulnerable, scary times and that what adds to the scariness of those events, diagnoses, insecurities, worries, etc. is just the fact that we don’t feel in control. We don’t feel like we’re handling things the way we should be able to.

But we all need a break and we all need help sometimes. Honestly, I think counseling could serve a purpose in everyone’s life-whether there’s crisis or not. I have been able to work through different areas in my life during my counseling sessions that weren’t at all what I originally sought out help for. The help and peace I’ve received has changed me in so many incredible ways, and it’s also changed how I view myself and my God. God made me with flaws and weaknesses. He made me with the need for help and the need for dependency on him. (I thought I was just learning to ask for help from human sources... well, psych! I’m learning to depend on Him, too!) Yet He saw that, even in my inability to handle everything, me as His creation was good.

So please, if you are considering counseling, I know there are financial and other obstacles at times, but please do not let one of those obstacles be that you want to handle everything yourself. There are wonderful people out there who want nothing more than to empower you - not ridicule or judge you - and remind you of the tremendous creation you are. It’s not an embarrassment. It takes a lot of strength, really. We have our limits. I found mine even though I was fighting like crazy not to. And it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.