I signed up for a counseling session at the center on my campus.
Students get 12 free individual sessions a year, or unlimited group sessions. I think individual sessions will be best for me; it’ll be hard enough for me to talk to one person let alone many. (She said, posting about it on the internet for millions to see.)
I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m pretty nervous about it, but I think I need this. I’ve always been weird and anxious and a little messed up, but I didn’t grow up in a family that talked about mental illness, or if they did, it was just my dad telling people on commercials for depression pills to “just stop being so down all the time.” As if it were that easy.
I know what depression looks like for me though.
In high school, specifically sophomore year, I had a long stint where I would go home in the middle of the day because I felt sick. But I only felt sick, there were no tangible signs, like throwing up or having a temperature. I just didn’t want to be anywhere or have to do anything, I had no energy and felt listless and tired and pointless. I just wanted to stay in bed and nap and read books and forget about my insecurities and the evil voices in my head.
My depression is like an ugly little monster in the back of my brain, who whispers mean things to me and makes me think they’re true. He tells me my friends don’t like me, that I’m bad at my job, that people who are nice to me laugh at me when we stop talking. I fucking hate that guy.
But, I’ve been really happy in the last few years. I’ve gotten occasional visits from that little monster, but nothing too extreme. Recently, though, he’s been around, not saying anything very specific, just draining my energy and filling my head with buzzing noises to distract me from my real life.
My family went through some loss in November and December of last year, and that’s what kind of set me off on this particular bout.
Lately, I’ve stayed home from work and school some days. Coming back to this semester has felt pretty overwhelming, and my social life has suffered because I’m throwing myself into school and work, and they’re taking all my energy.
I am reminding myself to try to be calm, happy, and confident and to do the stuff that helps with that:
Stuff that makes me happy: thinking putty, My Little Pony, watching YouTube videos, tiny mystery toys, Pinterest, talking to my best friend about everything (even just over text), making people laugh
Stuff that makes me calm: reading, book binding, coding, writing, being with my boyfriend, learning all the words and singing along with songs
Stuff that makes me confident: makeup, Instagram (@racheltheharvey for ordinary life stuff, @rachelswatches for makeup), feedback (even if it’s critical, so long as it’s constructive), being productive, helping others learn
My first counseling appointment is in the middle of March, and I plan to continue going at least semi-regularly for at least this semester. I hope it will help me have more calm, happy, confident, normal days.