Someone I love has been going to therapy. This person, let’s call him/her “Adele” (because when she comes on the radio, that girl sings like therapy to my heart), is struggling to cope with life’s overwhelming amount of decisions and disappointments. I get it. I actually feel like that on a fairly regular basis. Honestly, I might feel better with therapy.
But why the stigma around going to counseling? For some reason, so many hear the word “therapy” and think:
Therapy does not necessarily mean mental illness (although for some, I recognize it is – and that’s not terrible either).
This may simply be a tough time.
In college, I suffered a deep depression. I attempted to spend the summer before my senior year in Hampton, New Hampshire, on a Campus Crusade faith-based summer project: living in a giant house with 60 other students for 10 weeks. I had to get a job somewhere local, with that being my first potential “mission field.” The arcade hired me and I hated it. HATED it. (But hard to tell with this happy face at a nearby lighthouse…oh, the facade we can put on…)
Hampton was supposed to be a hot tourist spot, but it rained almost every day I was there which made it really cold, dreary, and not busy. Plus the arcade games required maintenance with physical requirements I struggled with, and my hands always hurt and I had cuts after fixing machines. On top of that, I felt really out of place with all the other “happy” Christians in the house. I felt like everyone was an imposter. I felt like I was an imposter. And I broke down. I couldn’t handle it and went home after 2 weeks.
Going home was no good either. All my friends had summer plans and I was the lost puppy living in my parents’ basement. I ended up going back to the summer camp I had worked previous summers, but never felt at peace. I made some really self-destructive decisions that summer that impacted people I loved. And when I went to start my senior year of college (including as co-president of Campus Crusade on my campus), I was a complete wreck.
A friend suggested I visit the free counseling services. I had nothing to lose and it was very discreet to get to so no one would likely see me walking in. I went to those sessions and just wept. We didn’t come to a resolve, but I at least got to start somewhere. After feeling stagnant in the sessions, I stopped going, but I’m not ashamed to say I did revisit a counselor about two years later to talk through feelings of self-worth and the lies I was believing about failure.
So when “Adele” told me she was going to counseling, I was happy for her. I celebrated that she was able to push past the stigma that many times our society tells us about the weakness of getting help. But more people need help, y’all.
Mental health problems are at an all-time high, especially among youth, today. I especially love that British royalty is focusing on this issue. Prince Harry recently shared his struggle with his mother’s death and how, after seeking counseling, he’s finally been able to cope with her death – and stop the risky behavior he has engaged in for years.
I became enthralled while researching this topic, especially because I ran into two articles I fell.in.love.with. These sites are a great place to start with as you start to explore if counseling might be a good fit for you – or someone you love.
But I realized I hadn’t yet asked God’s opinion about seeking out help – from others (in addition to Him, y’all. ‘Cause we should always strive to seek Him out.) And He didn’t disappoint. Here are my few fave verse:
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Proverbs 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated. But with many counselors they succeed.
We need people to help us with the journey. It’s part of God’s plan for our life.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Ooohh!!! I just LOVE that! “Bear one another’s burdens.” Y’all! God is practically calling each of us to counsel one another – He commands it, as He demonstrates that by doing so we have obeyed.
We all have issues; that will never end. God wants to help you, but He also realizes you may need a physical person and voice to help guide you out of your valley. So go to therapy. And if anyone gives you a funny look about it, tell ‘em God prescribed it.