I bit at my thumb nail as I waited for the receptionist behind the desk to get a clipboard of forms ready for me to fill out and sign, stating that I need help. I quietly sat down in the waiting area and began to recount why I was back here after doing so good for nearly a year. Did I really need therapy sessions?
Within the past month, The Echo had released an article discussing the crisis that the Counseling Center here at the UCA Student Health Center had been facing for quite some time. An influx of students had begun seeking counseling, yet there haven’t been enough resources for the counselors themselves to handle it in an organized manner.
I witnessed the crowding myself, it seemed, as I sat in the room filling out my forms. First, there was me and one other person, then four of us and, at one point, perhaps six of us filled the couches and chairs seeking guidance and help. Should I have felt bad for becoming part of the story that I had written? Or should I embrace it by telling others to go and register as I have in hopes of leading a better college life emotionally?
The truth is I have been utilizing UCA’s therapy resources since the beginning of fall 2017. By this time, I had already been through toxic relationships, academic hardships, financial burdens and just about anything else that could have made me cry myself to sleep 80% of the time. I was miserable, and though I didn’t believe that I was truly helped by three past therapists that I’ve seen since high school, I wanted to give it another shot.
Perhaps therapy isn’t for everyone, I thought to myself. Maybe my problems are insignificant compared to those who have been through far worse than me and they deserve the resources that I cannot seem to benefit from. I can handle it myself, right? I have lovely people around me who are supporting me and helping me cope when I have bad days; along with my trusty friend that I call Zoloft.
After a few sessions, I left counseling yet again in spring 2018. I thought I could do it, that I would be fine.
But a few days ago, I had a panic attack. They’ve become more frequent over the past couple months, it seems; a somewhat expected result from a continuous cycle where for a while I feel on top of the world, and then just like that I’m brought down into the pit of dead grass that my brain had dug for me.
My boyfriend held me as I spasmed, gasping for air in between my hard cries. I don’t even remember what I had panicked about, but it turned my eyes swollen and red before I finally calmed down enough to sleep with him holding enough pressure to my body to stay still.
So, here I am again in the waiting room, back to where I needed to be.
Mental health in college is no joke, and I cannot stress that enough. Just because you may feel okay, or even because you may feel like a burden to use your resources, that doesn’t mean you are any less worthy of seeking help. The more I told myself I was okay and that I could handle anything that life threw at me, the more uptight, strict and weary I got of my skills to actually do so.
If you or someone you know is struggling right now, let this blog post be your granted permission to find treatments and solutions. Don’t let facts of overcrowding stop you from visiting your favorite UCA counselor once a week. Don’t let your pride get in the way of you being brave enough to say “please help me,” no matter if the situation is big or small. Because sometimes, we all need that push or tug on the back of our shirts to lift us up out of that hole in the ground and stand us up on our own two feet to carry on.