I am not a person who asks for help. Even when I am drowning and someone is holding a lifeline, it is incredibly difficult for me to reach out and take what they are offering.
After I finally got in to see a counselor at my university, they evaluated me and came to the conclusion that I was depressed. I know, such a surprising turn of events. Having reached that conclusion, they did what they considered the standard response, gave me a M.L.O.A. (medical leave of absence from school) and referred me to a therapist in the area.
The idea of going to therapy was terrifying. Talking to some stranger? Telling someone else about all of the shit that was going on in my head? I did not want to go through with the idea. But even I could tell I had hit rock bottom. It felt like I was wandering around lost in a cave without a flashlight. If I wanted to get out of the darkness, I needed help.
Walking into that waiting room was one of the most terrifying things I have ever done, but I made it to a chair, sat and waited. And then she opened the door, I I saw the grandmotherly hippie Dr. Sara* for the first time. Sara later told me that her first impression of me was that I looked petrified sitting in her waiting room. She was scared I would run away if she made a sudden move.
I do not remember much about that first session. But I know that she had me sit on a couch next to a menagerie of green plants. She made me a cup of tea, so I had something to hold. And most of all, she did not force me to talk. She would let the silences stretch until I was ready to talk, and because of that, I did.
Asking for help was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but looking back, it’s one of the few choices I made back then that I don’t regret.
What do you do when you have no idea where your life is going?
If you have the answer, let me know.
*Not her real name