Parenting

I See A Counselor Regularly And Have Zero Shame — Because It's Been Incredible

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I’m about to drop a truth bomb. I see a counselor. And guess what? I’m not ashamed. I’m a recovering alcoholic. I have an eating disorder. I have kids with ADHD and ODD. My marriage isn’t perfect. I’m a stay-at-home mom whose home is sometimes a disaster. I have people who have lived their entire life hating me. I dump this all in 45-minute sessions, and I walk out feeling like a million bucks.

Counseling wasn’t something I entered into lightly. I didn’t love the idea of sitting in a room with a total stranger and telling her all the bad things about my life. I was sure I’d be judged, and that wasn’t appealing. For a very long time, years and years, I let it all bottle up and it was legit ruining me. I was a bitch, all the time. No one wanted to be around me. I didn’t want to be around me. I was a mess.

The tipping point came when I started taking it out on my kids. They are innocent. They didn’t pick me as their mother, but they deserve the best of me, and I was determined to give it to them. I looked up local counselors on my insurance site and picked one who looked appealing. Her specialties sounded like a good fit, so I made an appointment.

The first session, I held my cards closely. I had to make sure that I trusted this woman before I spilled my guts. We hit it off though; I felt comfortable. By the second session I was telling her the most intimate details of my struggles. Things that I had never verbalized to anyone before and it felt so good. She listened, without judgment, for 45 minutes straight. It was unbelievably cathartic to get it all out.

I have continued these sessions for more than a year and it’s been such a positive experience for me. There has been so much self discovery, so many tears, and an incredible amount of personal details spewed. But, I have never ever felt that I can’t trust her with all of it. She isn’t my friend — I wouldn’t want to socialize with her outside of these sessions — but she is a confidant. I’m so grateful.

There is no shame in seeking an outside sounding board for help. If you’re like me, your husband and mother and your friends can’t and don’t want take it all on. They have their own day-to-day lives to live without additional drama weighing them down. My loved ones have encouraged me to talk with a professional for guidance. She doesn’t solve my problems, but she does help me to figure things out on my own. I feel good about myself again. I know these challenges can be overcome with time. I no longer feel the helplessness I once did.

I will never be cured, if that’s even a thing. But I will continue to be empowered. I will wake up in the morning and face the day armed with confidence and strength. And I will continue to unload, if only for 45 minutes per week, everything that is bothering me at the moment. And I promise you from the depths of my soul, if you need that outside guidance to help you through, it’s really okay to do that.

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