Health Healthy Living

How My Counselor Made Me Happy Again

How My Counselor Made Me Happy Again
Written by Jenni Laplow

I did it.  I signed up to see a counselor.

It’s been well over 8 years since I last met with a counselor: I was in college with bouts of depression and eating disorders. With counseling available through my university, it was an opportunity to speak with someone about my troubles and for free. I was also taking anti-depressants because, to be honest, it was what my regular physician prescribed me for the depression.

The last semester of college, I met my husband. He made me so happy and the start of our relationship was a whirlwind of getting to know each other, fun times, and lots of lovey-dovey feelings. I almost immediately stopped seeing my counselor and gradually discontinued taking my anti-depressants. Life was good!

Five years later we got married, and now we own a home and have a 1 year old daughter. Outward appearances would suggest that “life is (still) good.”  I guess it’s not that easy.

My tendencies towards depression are still there. While I can confidently say I am far away from my college eating disorders, I can’t hide the fact that lately I’ve felt so sick to my stomach that I simply don’t eat. What is happening to me?

I don’t want to feel depressed, I need to get my appetite back, and I want to scream out loud that “Life is good!” 

So, realizing that I can’t do it on my own is the first step.

The second step is finding out where to call and who do I see for counseling? I wish I could just walk through campus and make an appointment for the first available slot, but I am not a student anymore. Now I am a wife and mother.

Ugh, reality hits.  I’m not doing this just for me anymore: I’m doing this for my marriage and for my daughter. That, right there, is my motivation.

I could have (and should have) made the call I did today a lot sooner. I started by reaching out to my medical insurance provider, and was directed to EAP (Employee Assistance Program). Thankfully this is included in my husband’s work benefits, and after speaking with someone, I found out that I get so many free counseling sessions a year. Deep down I was worried about money, so making this call was a blessing.

EAP gave me a list of local counselors that participate in the program, so my next to-do was call names on the list to find my counselor. I had to make sure that the counselor also accepted my insurance because after my free sessions are up, I need my insurance coverage to help where it can if I need to continue seeing the counselor.

Luckily, the first name on the list was closest to my home and seemed like a good fit. So, I was able to make my first appointment with them. Third step complete.

Fourth step is preparing myself for what comes with counseling. It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of work. I need to remind myself that being open to change and listening to what the counselor says is important. I’m not going to magically come out of my depression just by going, I have to take the time to work on myself.

One of the few things my college counselor said that stuck with me was, “You seem to care a lot about yourself because you’re here right now seeking help, and that is very important.” 

Who knows, maybe I’ll hear this same line from my new counselor because it’s something they all say, but it’s something I need to hear. I need to believe that I care about myself enough to take the time to work on me. In the end, it will benefit my marriage and my child.

Even though I’ve already done a few steps, it’s really just beginning. I’m scared, but I’m happy that I realized I can’t get through this on my own.

About the author

Jenni Laplow

I’m a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) located in Metro-Detroit, Michigan. Moving from a fast paced work environment to being a SAHM I’ve had a lot of adjustments in my life, so I rely on reading other mommy blogs for inspiration. I am happy to contribute my thoughts, ideas and experiences from my own stay-at-home journey! I am mommy to 1 daughter, 1 Puggle, and 2 cats.

  • Julie Mason

    My daughter was diagnosed with major depressive disorder when she was 18 and we talk about this all the time. She understands that counseling is essential to her well being. She has only been going once a month for about the past year, but it is her opportunity to unload and reset herself. I just hope she realizes this is part of her life and continues even when I am not nearby to make sure of it.

    • Jenni Laplow

      That is so great that you have these conversations with her! Thank you for sharing, Julie.

  • This post made me so happy because…you are going to help SO many people who are wondering if they should take this step too. I am praying you will learn ways to help YOU become a better YOU. I love my counselor so much, and I love what your college counselor told you. Thinking of you!

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thanks, Kim! Your words are so kind, and I truly hope that it does help others!

  • No one should go through ANYTHING alone – so this is a very good thing. You’re being proactive about getting better. Thinking of you and can’t wait to read about your progress!

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thanks, Jasmine!

  • Awesome first steps! I see a counselor regularly, and honestly, having young children does bring up a lot of old issues. I would also consider the following:
    What kind of therapy do you want to do (more talk therapy or thinking strategies)?
    What are your specific goals for therapy?
    Ask for homework so that you can continue the work on your own time and implement lasting solutions.

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thank you for the additional insight, I definitely want to consider all of those things as I go through this.

  • It’s fabulous that you are sharing your struggles! It helps others feel less alone.

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thank you, Jen!

  • It is amazingly strong of you to seek out help. I am at the end of my Master’s in professional counseling, and am obviously a huge advocate for seeking out help for mental health.

    • Jenni Laplow

      That’s great! Thanks for the support, Joanna 🙂

  • Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons

    Good job for starting with step 1! Contacting someone is brave and SO, SO important! Great blog post also, you can really help someone else with your words!

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thanks so much! Any hesitancy I had about putting this out there is completely gone now, thanks to the support and kind words from everyone.

  • Chanel van Reenen

    I have always been pro-counseling and wish that our healthcare system could make it more affordable (or free) for everyone. It’s such a benefit for our well being!

    • Jenni Laplow

      Yes, if it were easily accessible and low or no cost it would be easier for everyone to consider as an option! Thanks for the input, Chanel 🙂

  • Amie Retzlaff

    This is so good for people to read! It’s all so hush hush but it doesn’t need to be. People should be able to look out there and find stories they can relate to. GREAT read and thank you!

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thanks, Amie 🙂

  • Julie Porter

    I think it is so important for us to take care of ourselves. As wives and moms, we tend to put others before ourselves. Good for you for having the courage to take those all important first steps, which are doubly hard when you are fighting depression. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thanks, Julie!

  • Bree

    Good on you gurl! I wish I had the courage to take those steps. I know from past experience how much counselling benefits me and I also know how hard it is to work on myself. I am so proud of you for taking those steps!

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thank you, Bree!

  • Stephanie

    You’ve got this Mama! I am so glad you chose to share this and inspire others to take action as well. Sometimes mom life gets a little too chaotic and we forget to take care of ourselves. Best of luck!

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thanks, Stephanie!

  • I’m so glad you took the first HUGE step to taking care of yourself. I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety and finding someone to talk to was the first, scariest step I took. You can do this <3

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thank you for the kind words, Naya!

  • I love this! Counseling is SUCH a healing tool and shows how much we need others at the very times we may be more likely to clam up. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thanks, Emily!

  • Dicia

    It’s so great that you are seeking help. Take care of yourself. Do what you got to do to improve you, your marriage, and being a mom!

    Dicia ~

    • Jenni Laplow

      Thanks for the encouragement, Dicia!

  • Valerie CottageMakingMommy

    Thank you for opening up with this. My mom was a social worker her whole life and so many people deal with this. There is such a stigma and there shouldn’t be.

    • Jenni Laplow

      So true! I’m really glad I made the decision and shared it so hopefully others see past that stigma.