I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to take two counseling classes during my time here and it has made me think about A LOT of things. I’m super jazzed about it all. But today, I’m hoping to shed light on something I’ve been trying to come up with words to explain for a while now.
There have been times that I’ve suggested counseling to a friend or acquaintance and they respond with “well I’m not THAT bad”. Not only has it happened to me but I’ve heard of this happening to other people as well. What is classified as “THAT bad”? This stigma has to be changed.
& Here’s why.
While yes, there are some people who are stubborn about seeing a doctor when they’re physically sick, most of the time they’ll get medicine or see a doctor and figure out what’s up. Emotional pain, struggles, or even insecurities NEED to be treated the same….
Except not to see a doctor, but rather a counselor/psychologist/psychiatrist. Life is too darn short to go through the motions, push through struggles alone, or assume they will magically get better on their own.
Does strep throat heal on its own? Not to be a smarty, but no. It typically turns into something worse. If a person doesn’t seek help when they’re initially struggling emotionally, their emotional well being has the possibility of worsening into a mental illness the same way a physical illness can.
In many countries, it’s common to see a counselor and talk about struggles or “small stuff on your mind that isn’t causing big problems but you want to talk to someone about it”.
Those are the exact words from my Norwegian friend. I’ve gotten the opportunity to talk to her about the reputation around counseling in her country, and boy is it inspirational. Individuals aren’t viewed as weak if they see a counselor and it’s a fairly common thing to do. Nobody is “bad enough” to seek help. It’s just what people do.
I dream of a world where people are vulnerable about their struggles, where they’re eager to get help and open to the idea of talking about the hard stuff. Because guess what!
Your problems do not define you. Those emotional struggles don’t make you weak. We’re all superheroes, but we’re human. Some struggle is inevitable.
So what can we do to fix this?
For starters, I think we can open our minds to the idea of counseling. Encourage our friends and family. If you know someone who could benefit from talking to someone, don’t turn your head the other way. Talk to them, encourage them.
Because the change starts with us. We can transform this stigma.
We have the power in our hands to create a society that doesn’t look down on people who seek help. We have the power to create an environment that encourages vulnerability, believing it makes us strong rather than weak.
It’s a matter of how we handle those struggles, how we support one another. That is what I believe will shift the negativity around seeking help and emotional vulnerability.
So let’s live our lives to the fullest by being vulnerable and embracing help. I’m done holding back from talking about the ‘hard stuff’, and I challenge you to do so as well!
WE can alter this stigma