When To See A Therapist Or Get Mental Health Counseling

Why Everyone Should Consider Counseling

Counseling — and mental health in general — are often stigmatized and a social taboo. But I think everyone, no matter who, can benefit from counseling.

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Mental health is often a subject of social taboo and stigma. No one likes to talk about mental health, but as of right now, it seems that anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. College students seem especially prone towards developing anxiety and depression disorders.

First off, I think mental health shouldn't be stigmatized and should be freely talked about. Almost every person I know has some kind of personal issue, whether it's family issues or self-esteem. And almost every person I know has some form of anxiety or depression, from social anxiety to OCD. Yet, it seems as if therapy and counseling are almost sneered at, looked down upon. I feel that this shouldn't be the case, especially with the way mental health has been in the news lately.

Counseling or therapy can be useful for many reasons. Oftentimes, as much as we love our friends and family, it can be incredibly difficult to talk to them about personal issues. Many people fear being vulnerable because in today's world, being vulnerable means being subject to emotional hurt.

Talking to a therapist is different than talking to a friend as well. Therapists and counselors are specifically trained and equipped with the knowledge and resources of how to handle mental issues, from anxiety to depression. They often give advice, coping mechanism, and, if you're the type of person to benefit from it, just being able to lend an ear.

While friends are great, it isn't always good to rely on them to help all of your mental and personal problems. This can lead to toxicity, where you use your friend or significant other as a tool to rant. While ranting or venting occasionally is fine, doing it too much can lead to problems, such as co-dependence. Also, your friends aren't there to fix your problems. It's ultimately up to the individual to fix their problems, whether it be through therapy or medication.

There's absolutely no shame in seeing a counselor. When people think of therapy, they often associate with extreme mental disorders, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. While those kinds of psychiatrists exist, there is therapy for less extreme issues, such as relationship counseling, interpersonal conflict counseling, etc. Counseling is for everyone, not just people with extreme mental illnesses.

A reason many people forgo counseling or therapy is they feel they might not have the time or money. However, most insurances cover counseling, and the copay is typically not much, usually around $30-40. For those with insurance, counseling doesn't have to break the bank. And for those with busy schedules, they can choose to have sessions every other week, or even as little as once a month. It doesn't need to be a weekly event, oftentimes therapists will work with their clients on schedule.

With all of these reasons listed, I believe every person could benefit from counseling. Although it may be hard to initiate, once started, it can be life-changing.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Anxiety Medications Aren't As Scary As You Might Think

It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

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Before my journey with anxiety, I was very anti-medication. I truly didn't understand the purpose or need for it. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. Upon visiting the doctor, I learned that there are two types of medication that do two different things to the neurotransmitters in your brain. These are categorized as SSRI or SNRI. According to anxiety.org, "SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain. Neural systems affected by increased serotonin regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion."

The medication that I am currently taking falls under the category of SSRI. As a result of taking this medication, "your brain is more capable of making changes that will lead to a decrease in anxiety" (anxiety.org). I don't know if that sounds nice to you, but I loved the sound of it.

On the other hand, per mayoclinic.org, SNRIs "ease depression by impacting chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to communicate between brain cells. Like most antidepressants, SNRIs work by ultimately effecting changes in brain chemistry and communication in brain nerve cell circuitry known to regulate mood, to help relieve depression."

From my understanding, the different types of medication focus on different neurotransmitters in your brain. I don't think that one of these is "bad" and one of these is "good." This is simply because anxiety and depression are very personal and impact people differently. My anxiety is not the same as my friend's anxiety. I think it's more of a spectrum.

There are a lot of misconceptions upon starting medication. I think the first is that it works instantly. I have some bad news and it's that some medications take up to a month to get into your system. I mean, you're chemically altering your brain, so it makes sense. It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

Another misconception is that the pills are addicting- making them completely unnecessary or dangerous. That wasn't true for me. One of my dear friends told me that if you don't feel guilty for taking cold medicine when you have a cold, then you shouldn't feel guilty for taking medication that helps your anxiety. I think this really does boil down to knowing yourself and if there's a history of addiction in your family. However, as someone who's taken the heavy pain killers (via surgery) and now takes anxiety medication, I can testify to say that there's a difference.

The pain killers made me a zombie. The anxiety medication allows me to be the best version of myself. I like who I am when I'm not constantly worried about EVERYTHING. I used to not leave the house without makeup on because I constantly worried what people thought of me. I used to be terrified that my friends didn't want me around. I used to overthink every single decision that I made. Now, none of that is happening. I enjoy my friends and their company, I hardly wear makeup, and I'm getting better at making decisions.

Do I want to be able to thrive without having to correct my neurotransmitters? Sure. However, this is the way that I am, and I wouldn't have gotten better without both therapy and medication. I'm forever grateful for both.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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