Asking for help the first time was hard. It was hard to tell my parents that despite the fact that they had always given me the entire world, I still wasn’t happy. Even though they had showed me nothing but love and compassion my whole life, it wasn’t enough. When I finally did tell them, I was overwhelmed by how well they took it. We scheduled appointments with professionals and we talked about it. No judgement, just more love and compassion.
I started weekly psychotherapy for the first time when I was in high school. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and depression and prescribed SSRIs. A couple months on this new routine and I felt like myself again. I was happy and I was me. It was amazing how just a few weeks of talking with someone and taking some pills seemed to have fixed everything. At that time, I felt that I may have been the first person ever to truly beat mental illness.
Years later, I was a second year at the University of Virginia and the world was at my fingertips. Despite the constant excitement of parties and social events, I began to have those feelings again. I felt sad and alone and bored even though I had never been busier and more social in my entire life. I was determined to push through it myself, without any external help. I had already gone through the pain and awkwardness of telling my parents, doctor and therapist that I was broken and I did not want to do that again. I did not want to be seen as someone who needed help. I was not going to let myself be seen as weak and helpless. So I pushed through it. I went to even more events. I forced myself to have fun. I pushed away those feelings and pretended everything was going to be fine. Months later, however, I realized that I did not have the energy to pretend anymore. I needed help and my method of self-medicating with alcohol and extreme amounts of socializing was not working. I was unhealthier than I had ever been. So, I had to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done: ask for help. Again.
This was the best decision I could have made. I got matched with a new therapist through CAPS and I still see her when I feel like things aren’t as they should be. Today, I still have issues. I still get very anxious and depressed without warning. The difference is, when I do feel these things, I am not afraid to talk about it. I am not afraid to admit that I am not always the perfect woman I pretend to be. Sometimes, I am broken. My therapist once told me that “realizing you need help does not make you weak, it makes you human.” Today I am happier, stronger and healthier than I have ever been and it is only because I had the strength to admit that I was not okay. If you’re reading this, it is okay to be broken more than once. It is okay to ask for help more than once. It does not make you weaker. It makes you human.
Corinne S., University of Virginia ‘19