I’ve bounced in and out of therapy since I was in high school. I had a lot of one-time-only appointments with professionals who probably could have helped me if I had let them. In high school, I went to the school counsellor once because a teacher was worried about me. I went to a nutritionist once in college after I let it slip to a therapist that I had been forcing myself to throw up.
I did try to stick with therapy, once. I sought it out again in high school when I noticed I was going through something more intense than teenage angst. I met with her every couple of months over the span of two years.
I went to college and was back in a deep depression within less than a year. I didn’t leave my room for days on end and would lay around watching Disney movies and crying. So, I made a second attempt at getting counselling. I went to a therapist on campus who told me to make a list of things to do that make me feel better when I felt sad. That was an impossible assignment for someone who couldn’t identify emotions as they arose. The concept of coping skills was entirely foreign to me.
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She told me that I showed classic signs of clinical depression. Upon the suggestion that I speak to a psychiatrist, I was annoyed. I wondered how a clinical diagnosis could make any difference from what I’d always experienced. I wanted an out. I wanted an easy way to make it go away, and a medical diagnosis didn’t feel like an easy solution. Going to a psychiatrist was another thing on a list of things to do that I was not willing to check off.
Before even being prescribed medication, I rejected the hypothetical possibility. I was convinced that going on anti-depressants would make me numb to the world. I only paid attention to the stories of people who claimed medication didn’t work for them. I was searching for a definitive answer on what to do, and I listened closely to the voices that were critical of medical solutions. I paid the most attention to people who didn’t encourage me to find my path to healing.