A note from the editor
The stigma associated with counseling and psychiatric help is still very strong. With this in mind, and in light of Robin Williams’ recent suicide, several members of The Reflector staff decided to share a few words on how counseling has helped them. We are your friends and your classmates. Professionals helped us, and they can help you, too.
When I was seven years old, I was afraid of everything. Thoughts like, “What if a burglar breaks into our house?” would play through my mind constantly. A psychiatrist diagnosed me with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. A few years later, my mother was diagnosed with ALS. She died nine days after my 11th birthday. That was when I started counseling. I’ve seen several counselors since then, and all of them have helped me become a more confident man. I learned how to ignore the silly fears and embrace the world around me. They have taught me how to enjoy living again.
-Michael Rheinheimer, Opinion Editor
My anger was off the charts and had been my entire life. The worst part is I couldn’t even control what was coming out of my mouth. I was afraid I was just insane. I made an appointment at the health and wellness center, and I went into my session asking my counselor to help me label what was going on.
Instead, she gave me the tools I needed to make sense of what I was feeling. She stuck with me through the hysterical crying and crippling doubt. The people in the counseling center are loving and want nothing more than to hear your successes. I still have nasty bouts of anger, but now instead of lashing out, I can organize my thoughts so that I can articulate my emotions in a healthy way. It is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me.
-Anna Wieseman, Editor-in-Chief
Before that, I had thought that receiving help was an act of weakness and that I had given up on helping myself.
I would keep my emotions bottled up because I did not want people to feel sorry for me.
Through each week of counseling, I opened up and learned how to better communicate how I felt about losing my sister. There was never a set agenda, and I decided how the conversations would go.
There were days that I felt worse than others, but my counselor was always supportive and listened to anything I had to say.
I can honestly say that going to counseling did not make me weak, but in fact made me stronger now than I would be if I had decided not to walk through that door.
– Kylee Crane, Managing Editor
Being a naturally private person and dealing with anxiety can be a scary combination.
Usually feeling like my worries were irrational and irrelevant, I would only confide in my mom. Being away from home and trying to handle my anxiety soon put me in a funk to where getting up in the morning soon became a draining task.
After receiving an email from a professor concerned about the drastic change in my behavior, I realized that if other people could see the cloud over my head, then it must really be there. Finally I clued my mom into how down I really had been feeling, and she suggested I talk to a counselor on campus to unload some of the heavy anxiety. Once I sat down in the counselor’s office and started talking, I couldn’t stop. Suddenly all these worries I had not even realized I had been holding onto came flooding out.
Eventually, talking about my feelings became easier, because I knew I was talking to someone who was trained to handle whatever I was dealing with. From the smallest to the most burdensome idea, they were left on floor as I calmly walked out after every hour session.
-Amani Morgan, Staff Writer
I have always had this idea of what I wanted my life to be like. As time progressed, I obsessed over that. I became fixated with perfectionism in my schoolwork, my acting and with fitting the mold I set for myself. I was able to maintain this in high school with only a few anxiety attacks.
College was truly a different world, and I struggled to adjust. It was this last summer, I felt like I had no one to turn to and I was looking for a way out. I remembered Active Minds coming to campus with their motto “send silence packing,” and I did just that. Suicide can be prevented just by having someone to talk to. I am so overjoyed that I go to a school that offers listening ears.
-Laraithon Williams, Staff Writer
I have been in counseling since my freshman year in high school. I enjoy talking to my counselors.
People may think that talking to professionals is “weak” and “unnecessary,” but it is a helpful process. I am glad that I have counselors on my side; if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today.
-Nicole Monday, Entertainment Editor