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  • Writer's pictureKaliya Johnson

I Always Hated The Idea Of Therapy

“So tell me about yourself. Why did you make an appointment”


“Well, I am Kaliya. I am a sophomore here in the Lynch School. I am student-athlete and I play ice hockey. I made an appointment because I can’t feel anything”


“And how do you feel right now?”


I laugh to myself, “that’s a loaded question”


She waits for me to answer. And at this moment, I realized how powerful silence really is. So I gave in.


“I feel anxious. Sad. Confused. Angry. I am tired. I’m really tired. I sleep a lot. I haven’t been eating. I want to cry all the time, but I don’t know why. I feel every emotion in a matter of seconds, but at the same time, I feel nothing. I am numb. Just numb. Sometimes I feel like I can’t feel my body, like I’m not there. It’s kinda like when you zone out. But it's like I zoned out and never returned. That’s how I feel. Like I don’t exist. To be honest, sometimes I don’t want to exist. Sometimes I just want to be gone. But I know that I'm very lucky to be living the life I live. But what is the point if can’t enjoy it? What’s the point of any of this if I'm not happy? What’s the point?"


Silence.


She knew I needed to continue. To finally tell someone how I had been feeling.


“I just want to be able to feel something again. The cutting makes me feel something. I don’t cut deep, but just enough to feel something. I know I shouldn’t, but it feels good in a weird way. It feels good because the first time in a long time, I can feel something. But don’t worry, I will be okay. I’m okay”


“Are you?”


“No”


She sat there for the next 20 minutes as I cried. I had just had a major break through. I finally told someone how I had ben feeling. I finally told someone the whole truth. I had gotten really good about lying about how I felt. When my friends would ask, or family, or teammates, how I was doing. “I am great” I said with a smile on my face. But in that moment I could no longer lie. I could no longer hold it in. I could no longer “fake it till you make it”


Fake it till you make it. I hate that that’s a thing.

You shouldn’t have to fake it till you make it. You shouldn’t have to wait until you are at your absolute last breaking point to ask for help. As an athlete we are taught to be not only physically strong, but mentally strong. If you had a physical injury, that was okay. You can see that. But if you had a mental injury? Well we never talk about those. I never felt comfortable enough to reach out because talking about mental health was unheard of. It just wasn’t talked about. I want you to know, its okay to talk about it!


I always hated the idea of therapy. Who wants to sit in a room with a stranger and talk about your feelings. Especially when you don’t even understand what your feeling. For a long time I was ashamed of going to therapy. Lying to teammates and friends saying I had to go to my teachers office hours. For a year I even said I had class because counseling services was in the basement of the academic hall. Saying I was going to therapy and getting help scared me, because I was afraid that someone would find out. But sitting in that room, and talking about my feelings every two weeks, was the only place I felt safe. It was the only place that I felt I could truly be myself. Kaliya Johnson, who was anxious and depressed.


I am not telling you all of this because I want you to go to therapy and it will change your life forever. I am telling you because I want you to know it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to let someone in and tell them that you aren’t okay.

Therapy may not be for everyone, but asking for help is for everyone.

I want you to know it is okay. No. I need you to know it is okay to speak up. Speaking up is the first step. You don’t know until you do, but it feels like a weight is lifted off of your shoulders. That you can breathe again. It sure does feel good to breathe again.


I decided to share my first experience with therapy because I want you to know it’s okay. Whether you choose to do therapy, take medicine, or simply just write in journal, know that I am proud of you. Whatever you decide is best for you to get better than that’s what’s best for you. There is no cookie cutter solution to managing your mental health. We are all unique in our own ways, that including our mental health. It is not an easy step to take but it’s an important one.


Do what works for you, not the person next to you!


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