Take Advantage Of Your School Pyschologist
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Health and Wellness

Take Advantage Of Your School Pyschologist

Therapy does not mean you’re a crazy person with one too many issues.

Take Advantage Of Your School Pyschologist

College can be some of the best times of people’s lives, including mine so far. The education, networks, and experiences you build during these years are everlasting. It is also a critical time where responsibilities increase and the stakes are higher than ever. Often times college students juggle more than they can handle and it takes a toll on their well-being. The cold reality of it is that many students struggle with emotional problems, addiction, depression, disorders, anxiety, and other mental health issues, which paralyze their ability to progress to the extent they could during these pivotal years. Furthermore, many students do not seek the help they need and the taboo of mental health lives on. According to research conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness on mental health on college campuses, 40% of students do not seek help, 80% feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities and 50% of students struggle in school because of their anxiety. If you are experiencing any symptoms of mental health disorders, and your school offers counseling services, I highly advise you to take advantage of that resource.

My personal experience with mental health traces a while back but it was only after I went to college that I noticed my anxiety exponentially increase. In fact, I had never had a “real” anxiety or panic attack until my first finals week during fall 2014, and it did not stop there. I was relatively private about it and I never wanted to “make it a big deal” or see a psychiatrist or psychologist because I did not feel “crazy” enough. I also didn’t want to give my anxiety or other obstacles the satisfaction of validation, or so that’s how I thought. I am not alone in this way of thinking and it prevented me from seeking help as it does to others. It was only after repeated instances of missed opportunities that I realized how many doors I had closed due to my mental health.

Being raised by parents who don’t “believe in therapy”, I had been programed to deal with any situation at hand independently. I became a self-proclaimed “master self-manager” but I privately made the call to see my school psychologist when I felt myself losing grip of scraping by. Even though I had felt that grip being lost in the past, it took over a year and a half of building courage to finally seek professional help. I had been embarrassed of going to therapy myself, although I would encourage it for friends who were going through rough times. It was one of the hardest steps to take as well as the most rewarding. Countless students struggle to take this first step, whether it is because they undermine their challenges or have a misconception about counseling. I understand because I used to be the same way.

In the past, the idea of therapy made me feel like I was being weak and putting myself somewhere I did not belong. I didn’t want to feel problematic by going to therapy, nor did I want to awkwardly sit across a professional and tell them my private thoughts. It turns out I love to talk but I love to talk mindless chatter and the idea of being analyzed scared me. As an individual with a silently stubborn personality, I couldn’t understand that vulnerability didn’t mean weakness. I was so gung-ho on being strong for myself and taking pride in “handling my own” that I failed to understand that asking for help didn’t translate to helplessness. It took maturity and overcoming my ego to finally recognize that that way of thinking was flawed. It also took breaking down the stigma that therapy is only for “crazy” or “very problematic people” in order for me to be comfortable with it.

My journey required breaking down the misconception of therapy in order to see the strength and honesty it required going in. People who go to counseling are resilient. They are there taking the appropriate steps to take care of themselves and be open, or at least are on the right journey to be. It is only when you are completely honest that you can have substantial progress in your recovery but to be so bare is not an easy task. It takes time to get there, and every patient’s progress is at his or her own pace, but calling for an appointment is the first step to get there.

It is admirable to put your well being first; admitting, addressing and working with a professional to cope with the issue at hand does not compare to retreating to alone time, friends, or to established habits during times of mental vulnerability. Too often people self diagnose and medicate, and turn to different coping mechanisms that could potentially open the door to other disorders. It is important to recognize when you need help. It is not embarrassing to reach out to a professional; it’s necessary. What is said within those walls is confidential and you don’t need to explain or tell anybody your experience unless you choose to.

We learn a lot in school, but no one reminds you to take care of yourself first. Well, I’m reminding you right now. In the fast pace university culture, college students often neglect their emotional health trying to keep up. People find themselves drained and feeling paralyzed in a routine, or unable to juggle it all anymore. Every day there are students who are walking on this thin rope and not seeking help. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety or any other disorder symptoms, know that reaching out is a valid option. Therapy does not mean you need to be crazy before you go, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a tool and resource for your health to assist in your productiveness in academia and personal affairs. If you were physically ill you would see a doctor and there would be no stigma about it. Why can’t we treat mental health the same way? Putting yourself first is not being selfish; it’s survival and perseverance.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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