*I am working with BetterHelp to bring you this post.*
Relationships can sometimes be a bit tricky to navigate especially when you are dealing with mental health troubles. Counseling has helped me manage those tricky times and gave me some skills to maintain healthy relationships.
I am happy to say that I have a pretty good relationship with everyone in my family now. But it wasn’t always like that. When I was mentally unwell, I withdrew from my family. I often didn’t want to talk to anyone and I felt I was a burden to them. Taking away their precious time with my unstable mind.
After going through intensive counseling at a partial hospitalization program (PHP), I realized that I am not a burden and my family loves me through thick and thin. I didn’t learn this right off the bat. It took time and it wasn’t like they automatically say those perfect words that you’ve been waiting for or not expecting to be said. It came when counselors told me that my depression was lying to me. It was telling me I was worthless and a bother and I believed it until I learned that depression just wants to keep you down. It doesn’t want you to be happy or make you feel like you belong. So once I heard that it was all just a lie I started listening more to my counselors and less to my depression. I finally listened when my family told me they loved me and I slowly started to believe them again.
Friends are a little different than family. I mean friends can definitely become part of your family. But when you go through a hard time you learn who your real friends are. Not all of them are accepting and that is okay. It may hurt nonetheless. Thankfully my best friend of 6 years has stuck by me even when I was unwell. I hope she knows that I am there for her through any hard time as well.
Counseling has made me learn to open up to my best friend. Before I started counseling I did talk to her about some of the things I was going through like my overwhelming feelings of sadness. But I didn’t understand why I felt like that. I think I was scared of facing what was going on too. She was my only friend that I could trust with everything. Heck, we shared a tiny dorm room together for two years. But I didn’t tell her everything, like my suicidal thoughts, until I was nearly a year into counseling. I don’t remember how or when I told her but she was accepting of me and would get me out of the house when she knew I wouldn’t leave on my own. And when I needed to take a medical leave from school she was supportive.
She stuck by me even when I was being difficult and I appreciate that. And I am thankful to counseling and how it helped me be more open to my loved ones.
Counseling has helped me with both my family and friend relationships. I can partly thank intensive counseling for my progress and how far I have come in my recovery. I just hope everyone can experience the benefits of counseling for themselves. And if you are struggling with anything, please reach out to a professional. It can and will get better.