I've been attending therapy sessions almost every week since January 2017. Before we go on, I just want to say:
1. No, I don't pay thousands of dollars per minute
2. No, I'm not obligated to go.
3. No, I'm not just using this as an excuse to get an hour off of work and school.
I grew up in a strict "feelings aren't real, so you don't need to acknowledge or need them" kind of household. So as I went through things like my sexual assault, depression, and deaths, I never understood how to deal with my feelings and sometimes I still don't. So after going through a mental breakdown due to work, stress, and unresolved emotions someone suggested I see a counselor, but as a 19-year-old broke and struggling college student, I couldn't afford to pay for therapy. Little did I know, on the campus of John Jay College, there are counselors you can meet with for free! Disclaimer: this isn't a free advertisement for the Wellness Center (the department where the counselors are located) but more of an encouragement to push you to see what low-cost or free resources are available on and off your campus. I write this because therapy truly changed my life.
I was always afraid of talking to someone about my past, but I knew that it was time to talk about everything. I found that my thoughts and feelings were valid, and there is no reason why I should be holding them back. By going to therapy, I realized that I finally had something to motivate me throughout the stress of the semester. Now don't get me wrong, I have horror stories from past therapists. I could go on and on, but in the end, I gave it another chance because there's nothing better than begin able to talk to someone without any strings or judgment. My life completely changed after I found my counselor, it didn't get any better, but at least I was letting the stress out in a health way rather than just making it build up.
The funny thing is when I first started to see my counselor I used to have panic attacks right before going in--I'm telling you, the horror stories of counselors past are real--and after a few sessions she started noticing what was happening, so together we diffused everything that has made me feel this way. And during each of our sessions, this is what we do--diffuse and understand and, my personal favorite, emotional rants. Being able to let everything out is a luxury that I didn't have growing up so now it's something I try to do at least weekly. It's once a week that I take my time away from the world and remember to keep my feet on the ground.
Going to counseling sessions has been a game changer in my life. I know that there is no shame in going and doing something for myself. I hope to continue to be able to speak to, and I urge you not to knock it until you try it. Even if you have a million people to vent to, I promise this is entirely different.