Shattering the Stigma: An Untold Story

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I recently discussed how much I hold back and how much I share on this blog. Depending on the topic, I may be an open book. Other times, I may be rather vague and safe. I may not know how to share, I may not want to share, or I may not know what to share. Today, I have no fear or guilt in sharing a part of my life. In fact, I probably should’ve said so much sooner. For whatever reason, I never did.

I am in therapy. Yes, I am seeing a counselor. I have been for about a year now. Truthfully, though, I wish I would’ve started going years ago. Alas, I didn’t. But that’s not the point. The point is I am seeing a counselor and I am GLAD I am.

My intention of consistently seeing someone for my emotional and mental well-being is such a big part of my life, to not tell people is to almost not tell them I am adopted. In this past year, I have learned and grown so much. Yet, I still have so much more to learn about myself, my thoughts, and my behaviors. And I am more than okay with this. In fact, I am grateful for this.

However, I was not always grateful. Initially, I was somewhat fearful. Originally, I began going after a nudge from my pastor and his wife. I always knew I needed to go. I have always been willing to go, too. But, you know how it goes sometimes. No matter how willing we are to better ourselves, a part of us always wants to second-guess and say, “Oh no, I am fine. I don’t need that.”

But, guess what? I needed counseling then. I still need it now. Truthfully, I don’t know how long I will see my therapist. I will go as long as the Lord wills me and leads me. It could be only a few more months or it could be for the rest of my life. And I am okay with that.

I know this next statement may not please everyone: I believe EVERYONE should have some form of counseling. You don’t have to have a completely messed up life story to need help. You simply need to be human. That’s right. My counselor even once said, “Even counselors need counselors!”

At first, I wasn’t the biggest fan of my counselor. It didn’t seem like she cared or valued my issues. But, she wasn’t the issue. I was. My heart was still hanging on by a thread to the stigma society creates for improving mental and emotional health. Once I acknowledged my heart issue, I truly began to see a change in myself.

Now, I look forward to counseling. I only wish I could go more than once a month. My counselor helped shatter the stigma that comes with therapy. She helped me see the benefits. She cares. She encourages me. She challenges me. She helps me make some sense out of life. Most importantly, she listens. I cannot express to you how wonderful it is to have someone completely outside of my life circle and situation to have an open ear and honest advice.

Yes, many may say, “Well, doesn’t she get paid to listen?” Yes, she does. But, she cares, which speaks more than a dollar sign ever could. When I look at my therapist, I see someone who has probably gone through her own set of struggles and tribulations. I see someone who wants to use her educational knowledge and caring spirit to help others heal and grow. I see grace.

My call to you is simple: At least one time in your life, see a counselor. And I don’t mean someone whom you view as your “counselor-type” friend. I mean go see a clinically licensed therapist. Go just once simply for the experience. Better yet, go four or five times and see if you notice any change in your thinking or attitude. One small notice, that’s it.

I leave you with this: There will always be a stigma about counseling in society. Of course, human beings are going to think seeking support from others–professionals or mere acquaintances–won’t do squat. It’s human nature to believe we don’t need other people. It’s human nature to believe we are our own healer and provider.

If my experiences have taught me anything, it is the stigma will be there until you walk through the door of a therapy provider, sit on their couch, and share about your life. It is then and only then that people will begin to see why it is so important for everyone, no matter their life story.

Blessings,

Renata

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