I don’t know why, but seeing a counselor has always seemed to have a stigma attached to it. I’ve never personally looked down on someone that needed such a thing, but I always feared that I would be looked at negatively for it. I don’t know why. My Dad is a retired pastor and I recall knowing that he was meeting with people for counseling sessions while I was growing up. I never thought it was a bad thing. When people recognize that they need help, and get that help… why would it be bad? It should be encouraged!
At some point in my marriage, I thought we could have benefited from counseling. But I was afraid for ANYBODY to know about it. I searched for counselors nearby but didn’t want to go some place too public. and risk being seen. I didn’t know what I would have told our child’s babysitter about the reason we needed to go someplace without our child. Silly, right? Actually, down right stupid in my opinion now. But the thing was, I didn’t want anybody to know there were any problems going on in my marriage.
Once divorce became my reality, I couldn’t find a counselor quick enough! It was rough getting through the weekend, waiting on that return call to see who could get me in soonest. I just wanted to talk it all out with somebody not involved in my life. See, I was 5 1/2 months pregnant and suddenly a single mom with a preschooler and a school ager. I knew I was going to need somebody to talk to and the stigma disappeared. I TOLD people I called some therapists. I TOLD people when my first appointment was. I TOLD people how great it was. I felt no shame. I knew I needed some support in those initial months and I sought it out.
A few months later at the start of the next school year, my bigger kids were struggling. They had gone through so many changes including their parents divorce, their brother’s birth, and more. So they started seeing a counselor at school. They loved it. And they still see their counselor to this day.
You know what I found out through all of this?
We’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with us.
I’ve learned of so many people I’m connected to who have gone through counseling. I’ve met many other parents whose children also see the same school counselor. They’re all getting the support and help they need. Just like my family has. We’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with us.
We all need to open up more and show others they’re not alone either. We’re all just trying to get through this thing we call life the best that we can.
I have a challenge for everybody reading this. If you personally have or currently do see a therapist, open up about it to somebody. If you or your children are struggling with something, seek out a local counselor. It shouldn’t feel any different than going to a doctor for a regular checkup.
Say goodbye to the stigma. Say hello to a happy, healthy life.