Today I accomplished a big feat – a personal victory so to speak. I went to counseling for the first time in my life.
While this may seem insignificant for some, it was a groundbreaking moment for me. You see, I’ve always been opposed to seeking professional help. I’ve always been the person who internalizes extreme emotions, only confiding in those closest to me. I used to take pride in knowing that I could handle my problems on my own. It made me feel strong, accomplished, and confident. But, the reality is that it hasn’t always been healthy.
Veterinary school has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, but it has also been extremely taxing emotionally. I have never felt such waves of anxiety and stress, especially during finals.
These emotions have taken me by surprise. I’m typically a very stable person. I handle stress rather gracefully (in my opinion) and persevere through times of struggle. Nevertheless, the reality is that this experience is vastly different. These times of stress aren’t random and short lived. They are ongoing and unwavering. For these reasons, some people (like me) are not able to deal with these emotions as successfully as they have in the past. Sure, I’ve always managed to get through it, but that wasn’t without serious neglect to my wellbeing.
I, like many others, used to have a very negative stigma towards seeking professional help. I felt as though seeking counsel was a sign of weakness. It would mean that I had lost control of the situation and that I was reliant on someone else. In some ways, I still struggle with those feelings, but I have realized that my desire for success is much more important.
Counseling doesn’t need to be about admitting weakness. It’s quite empowering, actually. Counselors don’t serve to give you the answers or tell you how to deal with your problems. Instead, they give you the tools and guidance you need to find strength within yourself.
So this is me and my story. I don’t expect others to feel the same way as I do, or even have the same needs that I do. I just hope if you at all want help you will seek it. I implore you to take care of yourself and do so by stepping out of your comfort zone.