I’ve seen a therapist on and off for three years. As a college student, my campus provides free counseling for students by future therapists getting their hours. Since my freshman year (3 years ago) I have seen 4 different counselors.
To describe why I took the walk across campus to make my first appointment at the counseling center at the beginning of college, I couldn’t really explain it. I just had a feeling I should go. Only during the sessions did I realize why (traumatic life experiences I might go into more detail about in a future blog post). Looking back, I am really happy I took the time to go, even though I didn’t have a clear reason pushing me into the office.
Each of my counselors have had a slightly different approach. I never wished to be diagnosed or treated with medication, so by my request it was all talk therapy.
Over my freshman year, I felt like I only got worse. But I kept going to the counselor, because I knew that she could share her tools with me to help me recover. Only by April did I start to feel better (8 months in). Then the summer rolled around and I did not see anyone for the few months. There were also some life events that occurred during that time that pushed me back into counseling in the fall. By the end of my sophomore year, I decided that I would be okay without therapy any more. Then when schools shut down towards the end of my junior year, I hit a low point and reached back out to the counseling center, and my counselor just finished her rotation with the university at the end of July. I decided not to ask for a new counselor.
How could I tell I would be okay without a counselor for almost a year and now for the foreseeable future? That’s a question I am still trying to put into words.
I know I can function day-to-day, deal with small stressors and manage my schoolwork-life balance. But there is certainly a difference between being able to function and being okay. I would say it’s accurate to say I felt stable. I was not dissociating or having flashbacks frequently. But I think the more important part is that I felt that I had the tools to be able to deal with them on my own when they do return.
If you have ever attended therapy, when did you start? Have you ever stopped? If so, did you choose to? Have you ever taken long gaps between therapy?