Taking the Leap

Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of suicidal ideation and suicide.

I could not have been more sceptical as I heard my name called. Anything was worth a try at this point. But counselling? Really?

I had lived this story too many times through my late-teenage years. Every time it had ended the same. Well, not quite the same. Sometimes it had left me indifferent. Sometimes it left me feeling even more worthless than before. Then there was that one time I left in a rage, with the full intention of killing myself. Never a good ending, though.

That was a decade ago. But those feelings still lingered in the forefront inside of me as I sat down in front of what must have been close to the tenth counsellor/therapist/psychologist I’d seen.

She asked me what was going on. And I did not know how to even begin to answer that question. So much had gone on. So much had happened. I started talking. I told her, not quite all of it, but a great deal of what had led me to the edge of a cliff not so long ago. And then something amazing happened. She did not dismiss me. Did not look for reasons why it was my own fault. Did not tell me how shouldn’t be feeling this way.

She validated every one of my experiences, every one of my feelings. She told me not only was it completely normal to feel how I was, but that I was doing remarkably well, considering everything that had happened.

It was the most amazing thing to hear. Someone got me. Finally.

So, I told her more. I used the ‘s’ word in a counselling room for the first time, having always been too scared to utter it. Then she started helping me make sense of my thoughts. Analogies that I had always dismissed as irrelevant as a teen all of a sudden became illustrations of truth and clarity.

Was it because I was more open to them than I had been a decade earlier? Or was it because she had made me feel as though she understood me? Probably both.

I am someone who needs to come to my own conclusions about myself. And this counsellor embraced that. She listened to me rant, she helped me make sense of my thoughts and guided me in the right direction. But ultimately, she empowered me to get to where I needed to.

We talked most weeks for six months. At the end of that, I was barely recognisable from the person I was who had walked in.

Over the next months, I spiralled back down. But I caught it early. This time it was not a hard decision to go back. We spent the next eight months working together, at first weekly and then every second week.

By the time I checked out, I was thriving. And I still am.

After all that doubt, a mental health professional had worked wonders. Maybe it was a case of needing to be open to the help. Maybe it was a case of just needing to find the right one.

Whatever the reason, taking the leap was the most worthwhile thing I could do. And it ultimately helped me back to healing.


Voices of Hope wants you to know that you do not have to do this alone. Click here to 'find help' - it's not weak to speak!

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