Visiting a counsellor, or receiving any other form of psychological help, is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I think it’s something that most of us could do with, even if we don’t think that we do.
I’m not saying that everyone should go and be psychoanalysed, but everyone needs someone that they can talk to, and many of us don’t always feel like we can talk to those around us. For those of us that don’t, having a professional to listen to us when we’re at our lowest can be both helpful and insightful. Since visiting a counsellor myself, I’ve not only learnt a lot about myself, but I’ve learnt a lot about those around me and the impact that they have. Not only that, but those that know me the best have also noticed that I find it easier to cope with what life throws at me (which is, sadly, a lot), and I’m less likely to run away from dealing with things.
Many things that we do, often without realising, are psychological impulses and our way of dealing with things. Washing our hands constantly. Refusing to wear clothing with sleeves or turtle necks. Turning to alcohol or drugs when faced with something we don’t like. Shutting out the things that we love in order to avoid the things that we hate, too. Binge eating. Not eating. Being unable to eat.
There’s a never ending list of reasons why someone may need to speak to a counsellor, but the reason I think that it’s such a good idea is because it not only offers a fresh, objective perspective – which most of us aren’t guaranteed to get from a friend or a relative, nor are we guaranteed total secrecy – but sometimes it’s easier to speak to a stranger, too.
Despite how beneficial speaking to a professional can be, the government has cut funding for this, meaning that, in a time where mental illness is on the rise because of the environment that we’re in, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to seek the help that we need. It was nearly six months before I was seen, and I’m only classed as having mild depression. One of my friends, who needed to see a “high-intensity” counsellor, and who has attempted suicide in the past, had to wait a couple of months, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but for someone with depression, mere seconds can be the difference between life and death, let alone two freakin’ months.
We therefore need to find ways to be there for our friends – and have our friends – be there for us as much as possible and to find healthy ways to channel our emotions. If you do think that you might need to speak to a professional, however, please, please contact them as soon as possible, because the sooner you contact them, the sooner they can help you.