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.