How Going to a Therapist Helped Me More than I Ever Expected

I am realizing that you all don't know that much about me.

As an internet blogger, many readers pass through my articles, read my words, thoughts, and ideas, maybe they see my profile, but they know nothing of my life. Not just the specifics of my life, but even the general aspects of my life. The reason I am explaining this is because this article is much more personal than any of my other ones. 

It is full of some things not many people know about me. As you can tell from the title, this article is about my therapist. 

We will start there: I go to see a therapist at simple college campus counseling office weekly. 

I am very private and guarded about going to a counselor. In the college-sphere and modern world, mental and emotional struggles are looked down upon. If someone is depressed or even sad, it is seen as an impairment, a contagious disease. When in reality, emotional strain has a direct effect on the academic performance and relationships in a person's life. 

Everyone who goes to a counselor has a reason unique to themselves. Some go to vent and rant about work or school, others go for a third-party opinion on their struggles. Why do I go?

I go and see my therapist, I will call her Katy to preserve her identity, weekly. I do this for many reasons, but the ultimate reason is I need someone to wholeheartedly trust in. Yes, I trust in my parents and friends, but there is something about having a stranger come with anonymity into your life. It is almost comforting. 

I started going to Katy at the beginning of the school year. In fact, I called and set up my first appointment on my way back to school after summer break. I knew this year was going to my toughest year of school yet: I had hard classes, was in a relationship that had lasted over half a year, and was going to be a Resident Assistant for my school's Office of Housing. Simply, I was expecting to have to jump a few hurdles and was expecting to need a coach. Little did I know that the hurdles would be 3x the height of my 5ft tall body and would come one right after the other. I will not go into too much detail, but my year included failing a mandatory course, going to Honor Council to defend my academic credibility, an unexpected breakup, and other events that pushed me close to, if not over, my breaking point. 

I have a very hard time accepting feelings as well. I hate feeling sad, alone, depressed, but I hate showing people how I feel even more than I hate feeling those things. I will put up a "wall" that I use to prevent others from seeing how I actually am doing. This "wall" can be placed up by saying "I'm good" when someone asks how I am, or plastering a smile on my face when I feel so hurt inside. 

It is not healthy, but I do it. 

So I see counseling as my happy place, my safe place, the place and the person who sees exactly how I am. No walls, "I'm good's," or fake smiles. No suppression.

Ok, back to Katy. I cannot remember the first day I met Katy. It was probably as normal as it is to meet a stranger for the first time. But unlike a random stranger, Katy did get to know me. I told her about all my stressful triggers and what would cause me to feel depressed. We talked about school, family, my boyfriend.

Then it hit…

My lowest point occurred around October of 2015. My boyfriend of 8 months left me out of no-where. No one saw it coming. He had no genuine reason that made sense to me or my friends. I had never cheated on him, never tried to hurt him. But he just walked away. And that broke me more than I wanted or expected. 

I remember the day I told Katy that he and I had broken up. The only way I could get out enough words to explain what had happened was to tell it as if I was reading a history book. But Katy looked at me during one of our meetings after the breakup and said "Georgia….I want you to stop." 

This took me by surprise. But she followed up by saying, "Ok, now I want you to feel."

Katy didn't speak for a few minutes and after about 2 minutes, tears began to stream down my face. I sat there on an October morning and cried. I fully submerged myself in the sadness of failed love and Katy sat there too. Not touching me. But fully there.

Katy became more than my counselor. She was my friend. One day I was talking about something and started tearing up. Maybe it was about my newfound trust issues that came from a failed relationship, maybe it was how I felt far from God. But I looked up to see my counselor almost in tears. Katy, whose job I perceived to be to "stay disconnected from your patient's emotions" was about to cry. This was the moment where I realized how much she was invested in my emotions. And that was the most comforting thing I could have asked for. 

Katy helped me realize the extent to which I suppress emotion. She taught me to feel. And at our last meeting of the year, she said, "well, this is it." She told me she would be moving to another job and referred me to one of the other counselors at our school. She told me how proud she was of how far I had come and how I had overcome all I had gone through. But the last thing she said to me was "Georgia. Remember to feel." 

I left the office feeling the weight of such a strange situation: someone who knows everything about me is gone. It was a type of sadness that I had not felt before.

So that is why I have written these words. To encourage you to not be afraid to go to a therapist or counselor. It does not mean you are weak, broken, damaged. 

It means you are human. 

This person, Katy, has impacted my life in a way I am not sure I have fully grasped. 

You never know who will come into your life and who will leave, but I have realized it would be sad to not know how they have affected you. 

The only way to understand this is to "stop…now feel."