This past year I wrote a research paper about mental health. I was supposed to "become a mini-expert" on my topic which I chose, and I wrote about how passionate I was about the subject. I wrote about the effect counseling can have in reaching mental health and how many suicides could be avoided by counseling starting out at a young age.
I'm not saying it was a great research paper because that's obviously not my style, but it really did teach me about mental health and how to reach it. It taught me that leaving depression to rot your brain can cause effects like those of Alzheimer's disease, the breaking down of your brain.
We see mental health illness as this invisible thing hurting your soul that is impossible to overcome with anything other than time, but it also affects your physical body as well.
They say that 1 in 4 people struggles with a mental health disorder from depression or anxiety to manic depression or bipolar disorder, but as I see it is that 1 in 4 people is willing to admit that they struggle with mental illness or is forced to because of a doctor's diagnosis.
I mean seriously who doesn't eat their feelings after a breakup or lay in their bed to make everything "ok"? Who doesn't have an anxiety attack here and there or struggle with grief over hurt other people have caused them or a death in the family?
I decided I wanted to go to counseling 1. because I wanted to live what I spoke but 2. the spells of life were seriously drowning me and all I could do was lay in bed, pile on hours at work, and eat ice cream. I became this shell of Paige Preheim. I was barely responding to my name because it felt like I was living on the outside of my body.
Snapchat stories and Instagram and Twitter and Slack all had me in the bed. They told me I wasn't good enough to get invited or that my friends didn't like me anymore or that my boyfriend was at another freakin' festival without me. They told me that people are going to cool places and hanging with their friends while I lay in bed and watch One Tree Hill for like the 5th time.
Slack makes me feel like the worst Editor in Chief in the whole company that is Odyssey sometimes. I see all these notifications on my phone and I grab my big Blue Bell ice cream tub and starting eating it right out of the carton.
Anyway, after my long sob story, I still felt inadequate and unworthy of counseling. I knew many people with way sobbier stories than mine. Stories of rape and abuse and suicide attempts and I think these are the people that should be going to counseling.
But, I am way too scared of Alzheimer's and everyone no matter how big or small their obstacles should have a safe place to come and talk about them.
So far I have had only one session and I felt deserving of mental healthiness and I see the neon light at the end of the tunnel.
If counseling is something you're on the fence about, jump down from the fence, pull up Google and search for counselors in your area. Sift through them finding the ones that specialize in your situation and that also accept your insurance, and give them a call about setting up your first appointment.
I know depression makes you unmotivated and lazy and careless, but take advantage of those days where you feel that extra little push and take that leap of calling someone for help.
I took the leap and after only one visit there was a notable difference in my behavior and mood.