This is not to get attention, but to prove to myself how much I’ve changed in the last few years.
I started counseling today. I should have started two-and-a-half years ago when I first came to Biola and was made aware that there was somewhere I could do so for only $15 a session, but back then, I had a huge stigma against counseling. I thought that the only people who needed it were crazy, suicidal, or not trusting God enough to carry them through their problems, and so anytime someone suggested it to me I was offended or freaked out.
That was also because I didn’t want to be someone with problems. I had always prided myself on being the person who helped other people with their problems, and that anything I dealt with in my own life could be reasoned or prayed away. If I sought help elsewhere, I thought that meant I was weak, and I didn’t want to be weak. I didn’t want to be damaged.
But I was both of those things — I am both of those things. What I no longer am, however, is prideful. My pride two years ago caused a lot of fear. A lot. The thought of admitting that maybe I needed help was terrifying, because I would be giving up that image I had of myself as… well, not perfect, exactly, but perfectly capable of dealing with anything life threw my way.
Over the last two-and-a-half years, though, God has slowly but surely worn down my pride, shown me just how much I need other people, and how my need for other people isn’t a failure to trust in Him, but rather a chance for me to humble myself by trusting other people and to give others an opportunity to serve God by serving me that way. I’ve come to understand (and I feel foolish now, looking back, for not having understood before) that trusting God and depending on people are not mutually exclusive. He has also shown me that, first of all, I’m not at all alone among my friends. Most of the people I’m closest to here have been going to counseling for awhile, and none of them are psychotic or frighteningly depressed. They’re just normal people to whom life has dealt some harsher blows.
It’s a bit paradoxical, the realization I’ve come to: I have problems, but I’m still a pretty normal person; I’m a pretty normal person, but I do have problems. And both ways of looking at this are equally okay and valid and fair.
Freshman year, the thought of opening up to someone, of not only baring my hurt but also talking about it, wrestling with it, facing it, was tantamount to the thought of gaining 200 pounds and becoming leprous and then stripping down in front of an audience. Now, I feel nothing but freedom. Maybe this is strange, but I was actually eagerly anticipating my first session today. Although this will probably be a long journey, I’ve taken the first step to becoming a whole, healthy person. I no longer have to burden myself with the fear about what other people will think of me, which is why I’m posting this admission to the world. I no longer have to be frustrated by my inability to work things out on my own and fix myself, because it is okay that I can’t. It’s an opportunity to learn to trust and depend on God in an entirely new way. He didn’t create us to be isolated in our hurt — He stuck us in communities for a reason. Praise Him for His patience during the time it’s taken me to realize that, and praise Him for the work He’s going to do in me.