My Experience With Seeing A Counselor: Give It A Chance

My name is Elaina + I’m the current Ambassador of the Ball State University CHAARG Chapter. I’ve struggled with my mental health as early as middle school. I never had much self confidence + felt *unworthy* of love [from myself + others]. I never reached out for help because I didn’t think mental health was important. I figured I could just *suck it up* + things would get better over time.

Because of this mentality, things only progressively got worse. When I moved away from home for the first time to attend Ball State, I began to spiral. I knew no one at my university + would just lock myself in my dorm room alone for 48+ hours on weekends. I never left my room besides getting food, going to class, + going to CHAARG events twice a week.

As things got worse, I slowly realized what I was feeling was *not* normal. I made an appointment with our counseling center + got the earliest triage appointment I could. I remember sitting in the small, triage room + telling a complete stranger about my struggles. The first person I ever told about any of this was someone I didn’t even know, but that thought was actually peaceful to me. If all of this was just me overreacting, I could just walk away + never come back. However, to my surprise, my triage therapist told me I *deserved* help. At the time, I was also experiencing signs of an eating disorder so he set me up with their eating disorder specialist.

My hopes were high when I first went to meet my first *official* counselor. I thought I’d walk in + she’d become my best friend ++ all my problems would vanish. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a realistic expectation. It was actually far from what actually happened. My first appointment with her was only 30 minutes + I had to tell her everything I told my triage therapist. It was frustrating to repeat myself but I knew it was for the best.

At the end of the session she just looked at me, laughed, + asked “do you really think it’s reasonable for you to feel like this?” I was completely taken aback. I never thought a health professional would laugh at my feelings. I actually went into my session with her feeling confident, excited, + happy. Because of her comment, I left on the verge of tears + swore I’d never go back.

When I went home that afternoon, I sat for hours replaying how my counselor had laughed + mocked me. At first I was sad, but after thinking more + more about it, I grew extremely angry. After years of hiding my mental disorders, I wasn’t going to let her tear me down.

The next day, I called the counseling center + requested a counselor change. Luckily, a week later I got a call saying I had been paired with a new counselor. I was nervous at first because I found out he was male + I feel much more comfortable around females, but I decided it was worth trying again.

When I first met my counselor, I immediately knew he was going to help me + was a *much* better fit with me. He was extremely kind + open-minded ++ listened to everything I had to say. He always took what I said seriously + provided me with all the tools I needed to better myself.

Finding the right counselor also provided me with the confidence I needed to realize I actually did need help. He helped me get paired with a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, + social anxiety disorder.

Simply knowing I had these disorders was a huge step. It allowed me to accept my feelings + work on bettering my thoughts. I continued going to counseling for the remainder of the year + obtained prescription medication [completely my own decision— I just wanted to try to further my progress]. I also began being more outgoing at CHAARG events + got the motivation to ask girls to hang out outside of events. This pushed me to get out of my room + made me develop positive thoughts.

All of these steps in my journey have pushed me to become the person I am today + I have officially decided on specializing in the mental health field of social work! I hope to one day be a mental health counselor + work with people who struggle with a variety of issues.

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