Today’s post is by Carleigh, and I am so grateful for her willingness to be open about her experience with counseling. I personally have also seen the power of counseling for personal breakthrough and freedom, and I can’t encourage you enough to see one yourself. There is no shame in seeking health of any kind. Nobody questions fixing a broken wrist or an off-set jaw. Nobody thinks twice about seeing a doctor when you have a cold or the flu. We are here to use this platform to shed light on something that IS NOT SCARY despite what the world has made us believe. To shed light on something that brings hope, beckons freedom, and can change your life. No matter how healthy or heavy you are in this season, I hope you are as blessed by Carleigh’s vulnerability as I am. I hope you see the benefit in seeing someone who can help you process what you are feeling and facing. There are seasons for seeing a counselor weekly and others where, like annual or quarterly check-ups, you maybe just need one once a month or every other. You and your counselor can decide together! xoxo, Hannah
Happy Thursday, friends. Carleigh here. Today I want to talk about a topic that is very personal to me: counseling. While the topic of mental health is getting more attention and becoming more common to talk about today, I would say that there is definitely still a lot of shame and uncomfortableness around the subject. But I wanna shine a big ‘ole spotlight on counseling and say “This thing is awesome!! Everyone should do it!!” Since there’s not one perfect person in this world, we could all use a little help… and that’s exactly what counseling is for.
I chose to go to counseling, because I pretty much reached a breaking point in my life where I couldn’t do anything, felt lower than I ever had, and was having panic attacks that I couldn’t get a handle on. I was isolating myself more and more, and never felt like doing anything. It put a strain on pretty much every aspect of my life. I didn’t really understand what was happening to me, but I could see how it was negatively affecting my life in ways I wasn’t okay with and I wanted it to change. I ended up being diagnosed with anxiety and depression by my counselor, and part of my time in counseling was spent trying to understand what those things even meant. I needed someone to explain to me what those illnesses were and connect them to how I was feeling. I also knew that I wanted to get better, both for myself and for those around me, and I knew that I couldn’t get there by myself.
If you think you’re ready to talk to someone but have zero clue where to begin, I get it. It’s scary enough to talk about the hard stuff, and finding the right person that you can trust with the hard stuff is almost enough to make you not want to do it. My advice is this:
- Find someone that you feel comfortable talking to. Only you can decide who that person is. Start by asking around if you’re comfortable with that. Ask a friend or anyone you know that has experience with counseling if they can recommend someone. Ask your church if they know of a local counselor or if they have a program themselves. If you don’t want to ask anyone you know, just google counselors in your area! While there is nothing wrong with going to counseling, it’s understandable if you don’t exactly want to run around advertising that you’re looking into it. For me, I wanted someone that was a professional, qualified to help me, and that I wouldn’t run into at the grocery store. That is what I needed, but it may not necessarily be what you need.
- Give it a chance and some time. Once you find someone, just go and try it out. If you don’t feel comfortable with that person, find somebody else! Keep searching until you find someone that you trust will help you in the way you need.
- Study the difference between psychologist, therapist, and counselor. There are some different approaches, and depending on what you think you need, one may be a better fit for you than the other. Biblical counseling is a great place to start, but a licensed Mental Health Counselor also has the education and ability to diagnose and assist medically as well.
If it feels like you’re the only one that is going through something or needs help, let me lovingly tell you that you’re wrong. I have been there, and so have so many others. If walking into a counselor’s office is a scary start, then begin with a mentor who can direct you toward a counselor as you feel more ready. But, if we can encourage you in anything, start talking TODAY. Remove the duct tape that has covered your mouth in fear and start talking with someone you trust. Counseling is a wonderful thing that has changed my life for the better, and I’ll shout that from the rooftops if it encourages someone to give it a chance. Take care of yourself friends, you deserve it.