Why Seek Counseling?
Tori (Goodling) Tatum
Have you ever seen a piece of furniture that looked worn and damaged but at the same time was mysteriously beautiful? One that had dents and scratches from years of use, yet still had something redeemable about it?
Many people find themselves scarred by circumstances that life has thrown their way. They struggle to cover up the scars that loss, trauma, and mental illness have given them. They walk around with a cloud over their heads feeling present but not alive – involved, yet alone.
Fifty-nine percent of people fighting symptoms of grief, trauma, depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles do not seek help. They don’t talk about it. They don’t share their hardships. After all, they can’t, right? Who would listen? Who would want the honest truth about their struggles? Who asks, “How are you?” and dares to hear honesty in return?
Sometimes we aren’t “good”, even though that’s the response that we give when people ask. In reality, we might be struggling. The bills are piling up and we don’t know what we’re going to do. Our marriage is in shambles, but who can we trust to tell? Our loved one has been diagnosed with an illness, but we are supposed to stay strong.
It is true – life can be hard. We tell white lies so that we can spare the other person from hearing how “real” things truly are. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to keep your struggles to yourself. You don’t have to bury your thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to hide that you feel as though you almost can’t go on.
There are people professionally trained to help you. These people ask how you are doing, and they want the honest and ugly truth. They are familiar with the unique struggles associated with loss, hard times, and bad circumstances. They are individuals who went to school specifically to learn how to help others cope with grief, suicide, mental illness, or whatever challenge that is plaguing you.
We are therapists. We have a heart for helping people overcome these obstacles. We believe in healing, finding purpose, and gaining hope. We believe that just like that worn out piece of furniture, you can be redeemed. Yes, you may have scars. Yes, healing may mean hard work. It might take time, but the end result of reaching out is far more beautiful than fighting the fight alone.
If someone with a heart condition visits the cardiologist to gain understanding and develop a treatment plan, they are considered wise. Going without seeing the cardiologist would be considered negligent. The same is true for those who seek counseling. The brain is as much an organ as the heart. When emotions are high, when life is hard, when you feel like giving up, there is someone out there who wants to help.
Counseling provides a safe place for you to share, explore, and challenge your emotions and thoughts. There is an alliance between therapist and client, which becomes the catalyst for change. This relationship is different than a friendship, familial relationship, or marriage. It differs because it comes without advice, judgement, or resentment of your true feelings. It offers understanding, acceptance, empathy, and clinically derived feedback.
So, while friends, family, and spouses may recognize the change in your personality, your agitation, the fact that you’ve withdrawn, or your hopelessness – they may not know how to help or when to step in.