Maybe you need to go to a therapist,
No, that’s for crazy people
Well your friend goes
But he’s depressed
Maybe you are.
That was the lasting conversation that will never escape my mind as I fought with my parents over my mental health and what I thought —at the time— was good for me.
Many people would say that they live pretty well, average, happy lives. I mean I did, and I still do. But hey, I did go to therapy and considered crashing my car into a pole so who knows.
The dark cloud over my head was small, and it didn’t seem noticeable until it engulfed me. I was a senior in high school who worked as the editor of the yearbook, worked for the school’s paper, had a job as an instructor at a swim school, and managed swim team practice. This busy schedule had me going to school at 8:00 am, and coming home at 9:30 pm. All the while, juggling college applications and the spring season of acceptances and rejections.
As a type A personality, I was constantly stressed and killing myself over college applications, school projects & essays, and managing my job. But it transformed from me being a well-rounded, multi-tasker to a depressed, stressed, coffee-injected maniac. I started to feel worthless after my first college rejection, then feeling exhausted at my job, then feeling stuck in a slump during swim practice, then feeling mediocre in class.
I sat in my room after all my homework was done, completely balling my eyes out. I had to make sure that my eyes weren’t puffy the next morning, and that I had an excuse if they were. My parents told me to quit something, anything, just so I wouldn’t be a mess. I refused, I told myself that I could handle it. If I saw people taking on two jobs, doing sports, being president of whatever club, and not being a mess, I could do it too.
There would be times where I would be driving home from work at night and I saw the light posts lining the street and wanted to run my car into one of them. Not enough to kill myself, but to injure myself enough that I could relax in a hospital bed. Relax in a hospital bed. That is what it came to.
Eventually, I realized the overwhelming, and much growing stress was too much for me. I went to a therapist and was able to clear my thoughts and practice de-stressing exercises. I’d say that I thrive on being stressed, and my best work comes out of it. That is what they call eustress. But when it became too much to handle, I felt myself slipping into a dark ravine. Sometimes you have to do what is best for yourself and admit you’re struggling. I felt it so ironic that I was a swimmer, and yet I had the constant feeling of drowning in everything that I was doing.
I’m happy to say that going to a therapist helped me, and despite what stereotypes may arise from the word ‘therapy,’ I think everyone needs to vent to someone, professional or not. Because often times you dismiss your mental and physical health for something, without realizing that you might just need those in check to succeed.
Author: Alyson Chuyang
Author Bio: Alyson is a college freshman, sorority girl, and your typical journalism major; always with a coffee cup and notebook in hand.
Link to social media or website: https://lifewithalyc.wordpress.com