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Why I'm Going to Keep Attending My Counseling Sessions

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I started attending the counseling service at my sixth from college last week, and I already feel like this was a bad idea. But I am determined to stick with it. I know these are just nerves, and I know this will get better. And this is how I know that, although I currently want to sink back into my protective hole and continue on alone, counseling is the best next step for me.

1) This is someone who is a specialist.

This is someone who deals with people just like me on a day-to-day basis. I know that no two cases are the same, but this person talks to loads of teens, my age, in my area, who also self-harm; who also struggle with food; who have parental issues. This woman will have seen it all and will have knowledge far beyond myself or my friends or my parents. She will know what best strategies to offer to cope, how it will be best to talk to my parents, and how I can get past this stage in my life. This isn’t just a random person I happened to bump into on the street: this is someone who can help.

2) It will be a constant support.

This scheduled, weekly session is something I know I can rely on, and when living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) this is a godsend. It will be punctual, routinely and organized. I won’t have to worry as to when I have to talk to someone, when I need to reach out for help. A constant support provides a steady hand, and that is just as important as the actual help — to know someone is there, without the fear they will leave, without the fear they will give up hope on you — that is the one thing everyone in need deserves, and it is the one thing the counselling will always offer.

3) It will give me an anchor in my worst times.

When I happen to find myself at a low point, the tether of hope linked to the counseling sessions could be the last string to hold me up. If I stopped the sessions, I would be giving up my lifeline. One thing everyone should have, but sadly not many people do have, is a lifeline they can hold onto. That could be the one thing which saves a person. I’m not implying counseling is a guarantee, but what harm can a little extra protection do? Especially for those who need that little bit extra.

4) It gives my friends and family hope.

Even if it may not seem all that useful to me yet, my seeing a counselor will let those close to me relax a bit. They will have support in the knowledge that I am being proactive — that I am getting help. If they see I am trying, they are sure to have a weight lifted. Counseling is something you have to do for yourself while helping those around you too. I spoke to one of my friends about counseling for a long time before I finally signed up, and I could see the light shine in her eyes when I finally went. She wanted me to get better, and that is a magical piece of hope in itself.

It may not seem like counseling is helping much when you first start, but all we can do is keep going with it. These things take time, and — although I’m not there yet myself — I know this will get better.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Unsplash photo via Tim Mossholder

Originally published: May 15, 2017
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