Last August I walked into a counselling room for the first time in almost three years. I’m no stranger to a counselling room. There’s always a window, two chairs, a glass of water for us both and a box of tissues in arms reach. This time though, I felt different. I wasn’t in crisis.
I was in my third year of secondary school when my mum asked me if I wanted to see a counsellor. I said yes, and I went every Monday after school. I can barely remember the handful of sessions I had or I how I felt afterwards. I didn’t go again until I was 18. I was depressed, lonely and scared, and seeing more strobe lights than daylight as I went out most nights and slept most days. The next year, I went again, this time trying CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) but it wasn’t for me. And then the last time before this time – which was the worst time – when I was 21. I was having anxiety attacks in the library, crying myself to sleep to Stromzy’s ‘Blinded by Your Grace Pt. 2’ and then waking up gasping for air to do it all over again. And I was terrified. Terrified that if I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t do life and I wondered how was I ever going to survive or just be? Happiness felt kind of unimaginable.