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My College Counselor Helped

11 September 2015 Written by 

My University offers countless services for students' physical and mental health. Naturally, I waited until senior year to visit one. I'm an Intern reporting on college life, right? So this is part of my job. I made an “assessment appointment” with one of the counselors, thinking I was just fine. I'm doing it for work, so I tell myself. All right, I told you I was messy, but I do have my life under control. I thought it would be a cut-and-dry appointment in which the counselor would asses my life and tell me either, “Wow, you are doing a great job!,” or “Ok, I’m going to need to see you at least 4 times a week because you’re insane.” I didn't think the experience would actually change me.

Here's how the assessment went. The counselor asked me 3 million questions about my drinking habits, sex life, drug use and, my childhood. Being the totally honest person I am, I told the truth and this led me to 5 groundbreaking realizations. 

1. Turns out I’m not the grief expert I thought I was.

My dad died from alcoholism six years ago. The first few years were tough, but I considered myself to be in touch with my grief cycle and thought I reached a point in my life where I had closed the wound and could look back at his death with a smile and think of how happy he is now that he is free of his earthly diseases… OMG NO I CRIED LIKE A BABY THE ENTIRE TIME. It still hurts a lot. Maybe it always will. It's okay to mourn.

2. You don’t have to wait for a traumatizing event to happen to seek help.

I don't know what I thought was necessary for a student to visit a school counselor. Some terrible trauma even worse than mine. Turns out that isn't true. Apparently I, and everyone else, don’t need an actual event. The challenges of life itself are enough reason.

3. It is possible to regain control of those spinning thoughts in your head.

I am a highly anxious person, and my brain will spiral out of control with one simple problem. After talking to the counselor something changed within me (no this is not a rendition of ‘Wicked’, sorry). I was numb on the walk back to my car, but after my emotions settled, I experienced a peace that I had long forgotten. Talking to a professional turned out to be a soothing experience. I'm not alone.

4. I don’t know best.

Shocking, I know. I am such a control freak and a compulsive ‘know-it-all.’ By giving up control for an hour, I allowed myself to be vulnerable to an expert. She proved everything I thought I knew about my problems to be wrong… and it was awesome.

5. Nothing is as bad as it seems.

For some reason when I vocalized my thoughts and feelings to this random person (okay, not really a random person I did go to a counselor), I took the anxiety and stress out of my body and laid them on the floor in front of me. Outside of me, they weren’t as scary as I thought. The anxiety and stress came from thoughts and feelings that don’t have to take over my life. I can feel what I want to feel and it will be all right. Hey, did you know that stress comes from the way you think about things? Surprise, you can learn to let go.

Should I have gone to a counselor in my Freshman year? Absolutely. Should everyone try it? What do you think. 

A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: The Intern

Read 1442 times Last modified on Tuesday, 22 November 2016 16:24
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The Intern

The Intern is a college senior, sorority sister, child of a father who passed away from alcoholism. The intern tells about college life and what it's like to look for normal when you've never known it, and can't share your story with your professors, and friends.
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