During the fall, I attended a counseling session offered at my university for the first time. At first, I was extremely intimidated and fearful of what it would be like. I thought people would look at me differently, as if I was somehow inadequate to fit a leadership role because I needed time to be counseled. However, the results were completely the opposite. Check out the five common myths (and what the actual truth is) about counseling here!
1. I’ll be judged if I speak out about my problems. Counselors are not there to judge you; they are there to assess what is going on in your life to find the best treatment possible so you can continue being your badass self. I thought I was going to be judged for having problems or not being the perfect person I wanted to be, but that was the opposite. It is meant to be a welcoming environment full of professionals who can help you live the best life possible.
2. Speaking about my problems will make me weird or unlikable. The beauty of people is not found in their strengths, but rather their ability to address where their strengths fall short and where they need help. You are capable of doing wonderful things, even with the most difficult circumstances. It is in times where you are able to address what is bothering you that makes you truly remarkable and brave. In a world where flaws are scrutinized and people are divided, it is on us to normalize self-love and self-care.
3. You have to be “crazy” to go to counseling. I believe everyone should go to at least one counseling session, regardless of how mentally healthy they feel. Everyone has stress (especially as students) and licensed caregivers can provide important insight on how you can deal with your daily stresses and worries. Even if you are going through what seems like a minor issue, there is nothing wrong with getting a little help. If something does come up where you are not doing well, they can find the right medication for you so you can feel better.
4. Speaking to strangers is too weird. If you feel uncomfortable talking to strangers about what’s going on, please still talk to someone. Whether it’s your parents, siblings, close friends, or trusted adults, do not be scared to talk about your issues with a mature person you can trust. If things get bad to the point where you’re wanting to hurt yourself or others, than it is time to talk to a professional counselor who can provide the proper care for you. Getting help when you need it is the important part.
5. I’m not a counseling type of person. I never thought I would be the type of person to go to counseling. Being very independent, I like to be the one to solve my own problems and to fend for myself. However, when I noticed the water was going over my head and it was becoming too much for me, I knew I needed to get help. To this day, this is a decision that I stand by and am proud of.
You don’t have to be strong all the time. If you feel like life has been unkind to you and you don’t know where to turn, do not hesitate in finding the proper care for yourself. Your mental health matters, and it’s time to shift the conversation from counseling being viewed as a negative thing to counseling becoming a life-saving, normalized practice.