The hardest part was following through to set up an appointment with my university counseling services. So far, I’ve had two meetings with a therapist and my school allows me to have eight more sessions. This has been a long time coming, and I am very happy with my decision to reach out and get help.
A couple of weeks ago, I emailed my university’s counseling center after I had a breakdown mid-afternoon. I wasn’t able to go to sleep and “start over tomorrow” as I usually did when I get sad late at night. Within a few days, I scheduled a 30 minute intake call where someone asked me a couple of questions about what I was going through and what I wanted out of counseling services, and they set up the first meeting with one of their staff therapists.
My first meeting was on Zoom, and I got to chat with my new therapist about what I was feeling. I told her a bit about my background and what I want to achieve with therapy. I remember feeling pretty emotional during that first session because I had previously not talked about a lot of my concerns with another person before. One of the main reasons for me reaching out to get help is because of my boyfriend. He has shown me nothing but love and compassion when I feel anxious or overwhelmed, and I am so grateful for the support that he shows me. However, I know that I don’t want to depend on him to be there to work through all my emotions with me. He is a valuable person to have on my side, but I want to learn how to take care of myself to the best of my abilities, and I think that therapy can help.
My second meeting was a phone call because my therapist got locked out of her Zoom account. Technical difficulties make life more interesting sometimes. I sat there for 10 minutes waiting for her to open up the room and felt a little anxious, but I was able to calm myself down. She gave me a call and we conducted the session over the phone, which I found that I really loved. I was able to stand up and walk around my room while we talked, and I felt more comfortable knowing that no one was watching me. She makes me feel very comfortable and like she cares about what I have to say, and I am grateful for the insight that she has provided me already.
Here are a couple of things I am thinking about from my experiences with therapy:
- It was so hard to send that first email and ask for help, but setting up an appointment and getting in touch with a therapist at school was so easy.
- I was in a more vulnerable state during my first session which allowed me to open up about some of my deeper fears and how I handle stressful situations. I was feeling a lot more cheerful in my second session. We talked about different techniques to help cope with anxiety and stress and how I can learn them now to feel more prepared to handle my emotions when I experience tough situations.
- Even though I am feeling happy now, I recognize that I still feel the need to continue seeing this therapist because I can learn a lot from her about regulating my emotions and dealing with difficulties in the future.
I am a newbie to therapy, and I plan to seek services elsewhere once I reach my maximum number of sessions with my university counseling center. I would like to learn more about your experience with therapy! If any of these questions resonate with you, I would appreciate your insight.
- Are there any coping or mindfulness techniques that you have found particularly helpful?
- What are things that you think about when considering if a therapist is right for you?
- When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, how do you handle those feelings while still taking care of your responsibilities?
- My therapist talked about “non-productive” activities that I might try to decrease my stress and take time to myself. I thought of painting, reading, and watching YouTube videos. What do you do for fun?
What barriers have you experienced (or experience now) intitiating therapy? How do you think you can overcome these barriers, or how would you tell other people to overcome them? Is the hardest part making that first phone call? Comment below!