Hello, everyone happy Tuesday and happy May! May is actually mental health awareness month. So today I wanted to get a little bit more personal for you to get to know me a little bit better, know my story – especially why I am a counselor / therapist. And I encourage you all to share your stories as well, because as we know, there is a stigma against mental health that we are trying to get rid of. I actively try to get rid of this stigma because I think everyone can benefit from seeing a therapist at least once in their life! Benefits include (i) seeing if it’s something that you want to continue, or when you are struggling, you know that therapy is there and that there are resources available to you and feel comfortable reaching out for help.
Why I got into Counseling and why I became a Therapist.
I actually originally went to school for Occupational Therapy. I really wanted to help people in some sort of way and had some experience with Occupational Therapists. And I thought, this is perfect for me! Well, about a year in, I took a counseling class as an elective, and I realized this is what is meant for me. So I realized very quickly that counseling was the route that I wanted to go. I graduated and then went and received my masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling – and thus, this is exactly what I should be doing. So I feel really great about it. Just goes to show, you can go to school for one thing and come out with something completely different. So that’s kind of how I got started.
I want to share my story of anxiety because I also suffer from anxiety.
I’ve had anxiety for a while now. Probably since I was young, but realistically I kind of realized what it was when I was in high school where I had my first panic attack. So I have had anxiety when I was younger. I think it showed up a lot by acting really shy and not really wanting to be around a lot of people. Kind of keeping to myself a lot and just being an anxious child all around – constantly worrying about things and people and all that. So that’s kind of how it showed up. And then in high school, I did have some panic attacks at times, and didn’t really know what they were or why I was having them and didn’t really care to reach out for help. Cause I didn’t really know what help was. So that was how it showed up in my teenage years.
College – the first time I saw a Therapist
And then in college was when I first saw a therapist and realized this is helpful. This is helpful to talk about stuff and to talk about it with somebody who’s a neutral party who has no idea who I am or what’s going on with me. And so I was able to start learning how to manage it. And now as an adult, I have anxiety. Anxiety is a part of me. But it is something that I’m able to manage in a much better way. It doesn’t mean I still don’t have times where I’m anxious. It doesn’t necessarily go away. It’s just kind of something that’s there. That’s a part of me, but I have coping skills and tools to help me through those times that I feel really anxious. So I am thankful for that.
Anxiety is normal
And I just wanted to share my story because I think it’s so important for people to know that it’s a normal thing to have anxiety. There’s so many people that suffer from depression and there are so many other things that people suffer from. I think if we all can share our stories and be vulnerable and be open about sharing, it will help other people who are not so vulnerable with getting help that they need. This is because they can see that other people are open and willing to do that as well. So I know this one’s a little bit different, but I hope this just gives you a glimpse of who I am, why I chose this profession and a little bit about my own suffering from anxiety – ultimately to help you. Please reach out if you need help – to a therapist, a family member or a friend – to help you connect with a therapist (if you need one). And please share your story if you feel comfortable and help other people get to that point where they can also feel comfortable sharing their story. Thanks and have a great rest of your week!