I never thought it would end up this way. For most of my life, I’ve considered myself to be a well-adjusted, fairly normal American boy. I grew up in the small town of Ferndale, Washington, perhaps only known for being Jake Locker’s hometown.
I was a paperboy, the proud deliverer of the mayor’s copy of the Ferndale Record every Wednesday afternoon. I did well in school, graduated valedictorian of my class, played Call of Duty with my cousin on the weekends, and always looked forward to visiting my grandparents’ house across town, especially when those visits ended with my grandfather slyly passing me a five-dollar bill. Buy yourself a treat, he would say, his special way of saying I love you. By all measures, I was happy.
I never imagined a future in which my cheery glow would fade to darkness. I never thought I would have to deal with depression. Until I did.
I came home from working my maintenance job in Lake Oswego the summer after sophomore year and found myself debilitated by an overwhelming sense of apathy, an utter lack of interest in doing anything whatsoever. Even the simplest activity, like watching Netflix, couldn’t entertain me or make me feel anything. I felt paralyzed by a sensation of blank, nothingness.
I was terrified.
However, with some prompting from my girlfriend at the time and an overwhelming desire to escape the malaise I felt, I went to my doctor, who prescribed antidepressants. And I began seeing a counselor.
Today, a year and a half later, I feel like I’ve finally climbed out depression’s darkest depths and back into the light of day. But I wouldn’t be where I am today without counseling — specifically the sessions I’ve had here at UP at the Health and Counseling Center. Counseling has helped me process the deeper emotions surrounding early childhood buried within me, emotions I was unaware existed until they manifested themselves in the form of major depressive disorder.
I wish I’d thought harder about my life when I felt that all was well and happy. Maybe If I’d thought harder about my life then, I could’ve preempted the onset of depression.
Counseling, though, isn’t just for the person suffering from mental illness. Counseling is a way to process the events in one’s life, coming to a deeper understanding of who you are and how you interact with the world. It’s a 50-minute space to take a step-back from the craziness of the everyday and spend some quality time with yourself. Here on The Bluff, counseling is free. Everybody likes free food and free gifts — why don’t we take advantage of free counseling, a service that fundamentally transforms your reality for the better?
Counseling shouldn’t be stigmatized as for the weak; it should be celebrated as a normal part of being well, no different than eating healthy food or getting enough sleep. So, stop by the Health and Counseling Center and make an appointment. I promise you won’t regret it.
Wes Cruse is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at email@example.com.