Rebecca is back to talk more about her experience with counseling, her coping mechanisms, and the stigma surrounding seeking help.
Once you decided that you wanted to try counseling, how did you go about finding a counselor to talk with?
“I went to my Primary Care Provider, who is awesome! She gave me a list of counselors who deal specifically with young adults and the problems that they face. I spent a week going through all the names on my list, seeing if they accept my insurance – which is a big one. Then I also checked out what their website looked like and how that felt. I knew I wanted to talk to a female counselor because I would feel much more comfortable with a woman. And I ended up with my counselor and she is amazing.”
When you walked into your first appointment what was going through your head?
“Well, there had been a car accident in the intersection, so I was super stressed out that I would be late for my first appointment. Of course the traffic was backed up because of the accident and I was like “oh my god!” So I was super stressed, but not because it was my first appointment. I got in the doors and was like “wow, I’m going to talk to this new person – to this stranger.” I was a little but nervous, but the office was pretty nice. It was very calming and there were some interesting magazines. Before we started, I had to fill out a couple forms and I had to call my mom because I still don’t have my own medical records memorized. I filled out the forms, which were like medical records and family history. Also a waiver saying that if she thinks I’m going to hurt myself, she’s medically obligated to do something. So, yeah, she was really nice! That’s probably most counselors, though. It was an hour long session and it went by really fast.”
What kind of coping mechanisms did you learn in counseling?
“The one that I use most often is a visualization exercise where you box up your worries and specific stressors. You just put them all in a box, and you put the box on a conveyor belt and the conveyor belt just carries them away. Other people might use a leaf, where you write your worries on a leaf and put it in a river and the river carries it away. I like the conveyor belt because I’m an engineer and I like mechanical things. Thinking about the sound of a conveyor belt – like ch-ch ch-ch ch-ch – is soothing to me. Another coping mechanism that we talked about is separating my worries and my stresses from myself. Like, this is what I’m feeling but it doesn’t become me, and I think that really helps me not get overwhelmed.”
Another thing is that you can’t shut yourself in and feel like you have to deal with this on your own. Asking for help is what you need to do. People aren’t going to make fun of your for it or think you’re weak or think less of you for it. It’s just, get out of your bubble that’s drowning you because there’s air on the other side. It’s that you have to get out of your bubble. Worry and stress creep up on you. It’s like: you’re fine… you’re fine… you’re fine, then the bucket overflows and there’s water everywhere.”
For more information on finding counselors, see our Resources page.
If you’re interested in sharing your story on this blog, please email us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!