Counseling

I remember I had a counselor once say to me, “Counselors are like a great pair of jeans.” And I couldn’t agree more with her but only one who had a great pair of jeans would understand what that meant.

Jeans for me are hard to find but then again I also have a 36 inch inseam. Last time I went swimming with my sister and my nephew, I stood at the shallow end. The 3 feet deep end. I walked over there giggling to myself and turned around and said to my sister, “Look, my legs are a meters long.” A meter is also equivalent to 3 feet or 3.28 feet.

Ever since I was younger (see teen years), I hated clothes shopping. I was long and skinny and most clothes just didn’t fit. I can’t recall “Tall Clothes” stores having been up in northern Ontario then either. So, I hated buying jeans even more. Length of jeans usually stopped at the 34 mark. Rarely, I could find a 36 or a 34 that fit like a 36 length. I had few jeans. I couldn’t even sneak my legs into my sisters’ jeans. They were all short. When I did find a “great pair of jeans,” I loved them. I wore the crap out of them. I usually had 2 to 3 jeans in my closet. One of those jeans were usually my favourite. They just fit well. They didn’t make my butt any flatter than it should be or didn’t make me feel like I was prepared for a flood, and I wore the crap out of them.

So when my counselor said to me that day, “Counselors are like a great pair of jeans,” I knew exactly what she was talking about. This counselor was also telling me that day in a month she would be gone. I thought…well, I didn’t know what to think. By this time, I was 18 years old and had seen countless counselors, psychologists, and about the only pediatric psychiatrist in Sault Ste Marie. I started seeing these professionals when I was 13 years old. For 5 years, I had never had a chance to develop a connection long enough to feel like any of this work was helping. It was frustrating. Plus, I felt like I couldn’t trust any of them. For one psychologist, I was forced to see him because the hospital told me they would call CAS if I didn’t see him and I would be taken away. The hospital also told me they would call CAS if I didn’t take the anti-depressant usually prescribed for adults only (that same pill now has a warning on the label advising those young adults who take may experience higher incidences of suicidal ideation and they should tell their doctors if that happens), CAS would also be called and I would be taken away. At 15 years, I sat in silence in a psychologist’s office once a week and took a pill every day that wasn’t supposed to be prescribed to someone my age.

Then when I was finally entering university, I felt that I couldn’t do this on my own anymore. This being trying to be healthy. I met a counselor who was doing her placement there. I really liked her because she just straight up told me like it was. She didn’t allow me not have options when I felt like I had none. However, I knew with her being a student, that she wouldn’t be there for long so I just was honest about everything that happened in my life. I wasn’t scared to share anything. I felt safe. The only thing I had to lose out on was a chance to actual receive the help that I needed.

Some people think that those who go to a counselor are weak or that there is something seriously wrong with them or that they have a low self esteem or zero confidence or that they are emotionally disturbed. There is nothing wrong with going to see a counselor. In fact, a lot of people go to see one. It’s not that they can’t handle their own problems. I think it’s more that people need an educated, neutral third-party to give input or provide assistance in helping with their issues because maybe friends are too judgmental or family members give unwarranted suggestions. I have been guilty of both.

Today, I am seeing a counselor once a week. Not because I can’t handle my problems but because I need help in understanding why certain things happened to me as a child or a teen or why I made certain decisions. Things are going great. I am gaining a better understanding and a better hold on certain areas of my life.

I see this counselor, after the initial counselor at the university, because she is a good fit. She is my new favourite pair of jeans.

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