During my freshman year of college I went to my first therapy session. I would eventually be diagnosed with a depressive episode and a general anxiety disorder but what I felt that first day I will never forget. I can remember the fear that was probably radiating off me while I sat in that waiting room. The shame of being crazy or unstable that burned my cheeks and eyes; the social stigma of having a ‘depressive episode’. However, nothing I felt in that moment, or anything else I could have felt, would have made me leave that waiting room. I knew I had to stay. There was no other choice because nothing could have scared me more than the first time I honestly thought about taking my own life. In that moment, I realized I could not let the fear of being judge keep me from getting the help I needed so desperately.
Fear stopped me from getting help until it was almost too late for me. For others in my situation, it paralyzes and mutes them. They fear what their friends and family will think of them. They fear the social stigmas of therapy and counseling. They fear the possibility that they cannot handle the reality of their situation. I never understood the reality of this until experiencing it myself. Fear had never stopped me from getting what I want and, suddenly, it controlled my life. I was afraid of all the reactions I could have gotten; I still cannot tell my parents about what happening in my first semester. But when I finally opened up, my friends were nothing but supportive and I was even able to become closer with one of my friends who was also silently struggling. I hope no one lets the fear of rejection from anyone keep them from getting the help they need. My only regret is not reaching out sooner. There will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. You just need to open your eyes first to see it.