I overheard two teens talking while I was in line picking up a prescription.
I rarely stop and go in. Let’s be real, the drive thru is easier. That day, for some reason, I decided to go in.
I don’t believe in coincidences, by the way. I believe in the universe –
So, the universe had me behind these two teens, and I hear one say
“I would NEVER go to counseling. It means you’re labeled crazy and that goes on your record, you know?”
The other teen laughed and agreed with her friend, but I saw her body language change.
The first girl, the one who made the comment, excused herself to go to the bathroom.
I introduced myself to the second girl. Me being me, I told her that I overheard the comment and just wanted to share my experience. Personally, as someone who’s been through much counseling. And professionally as someone who helps people overcome this exact hurdle.
I didn’t know if she was going to get annoyed and walk away, or if she’d
politely respond and excuse herself. I wanted to give her the space to do either one.
I certainly didn’t expect her to burst into tears and thank me. To tell me that she really wants to get into counseling…but (there’s always a but) her parents and friends all think it’s ridiculous.
I didn’t expect the pharmacist to join the conversation, thanking me for speaking up and sharing how his life improved through counseling.
This is also the world we live in…
One with so many benefiting from counseling… mostly in silence. Because of the stigmas and judgments from the outside, people who seek support often do so without making it known. And in that silence, lies the cycle that keeps us silent.
There’s this giant misperception out there that accepting support is a weakness. I promise you – this is completely backwards. Accepting help is a strength.
So what can you do if someone you know expresses thoughts of beginning counseling?
Even if you don’t think it’s necessary – remember that it isn’t your life. Even if you don’t believe in it – consider an open minded response over discouraging or mocking. Or, as the saying goes “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.
If someone is opening up and sharing these thoughts with you, it’s because you, and your opinions, matter.
Listen without reacting.
People might mean well saying things like
“you’re tough enough to get through it yourself,”
“mind over matter”
but in reality, these comments perpetuate the problems surrounding mental health.
Would you discourage someone from going to the doctor for a sore throat?
Would you tell someone with diabetes that it’s mind over matter?
Don’t let mental health be any different!
Make a connection.
And feel free to reach out with any of your own questions. You can learn more about what counseling looks like and how to best be there and support someone you care about through their counseling journey.
I should point out that there are also people who are in need of help but they don’t realize it….. yet. They might not ever realize it. And they need you.
They need to know you’re there – through the ugly times. They need you to be honest with them – because you care.
Maybe that’s suggesting someone, so they don’t have to deal with the overwhelm of who to see and how to choose.
Most of my clients come from a friend or family member who already know me. It decreases a lot of the fear. It also takes the pressure off you.
I do the work. It’s up to me to reach out and see if I’m the right fit.
If you’re not ready for that, consider sharing a blog or podcast episode with them that has value and connection to what they’re dealing with. Invite them to Team Ruthless or a community they’ll connect with other positive support systems.
The possibilities are endless. Connect with me, or another professional you trust, and let us help.
As the pharmacist, this teen, and I were talking, her friend returned from the bathroom and stood off to the side. Listening. Watching.
I invited her over to join us.
I invited her into the conversation.
I acknowledged her feelings.
A LOT of people don’t get counseling because they “know it’s on some record – somewhere” What they don’t know is that there are protective measures therapists can take on your behalf.
I want you to get into the school of your dreams. The military. That job you’ve worked so hard for.
I’m on YOUR side.
I didn’t expect this girl to ask for my contact information.
Just moments before she was against my entire field. But then, she asked if she could share it with her school. I was surprised but happy that she wanted to make that connection. For her, it was because “they don’t explain it to us this way at all and if they did, a lot of us would view it differently.” And something stuck with me.
People are afraid to rock the boat.
Afraid to have uncomfortable conversations.
And they might not be easy and smooth sailing every time….
But, they also might be ❤️
It’s all about taking that leap, reaching out, being a listening ear, and letting others know it’s okay to get better.