Since receiving my master’s in counseling, it’s become my job to provide compassion and hope when the way seems overwhelmingly dark. I’ve sat across from friends, teenagers, and parents who are in pain.
And I know their pain. I know those demons. I know those thoughts and fears intimately. I’ve spent 10+ years battling the same thoughts and urges.
The truth is, therapists aren’t immune from depression, anxiety, or addictions. We are people who feel deeply the limits of our influence on our clients and our own emotional pain we carry into each therapy session. But for me, it was my own experience with these issues that pushed me toward being a counselor in the first place.
I once mocked and refused therapy as a teenager. I felt sure that the adult woman sitting across from 13-year-old me couldn’t possibly imagine the pain, anger, and loneliness I felt.
I walked alone in my own pain for far too long because I was terrified of how people would react if I told them I felt paralyzed by intense feelings of sadness and anxiety for days on end. The idea of being vulnerable with how I felt kept me from experiencing community, close relationships, and healing until I was in my twenties.
But 29-year-old Sarah now knows recovery is possible. I interact with my own feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and fluctuating loneliness each day—but it’s different. I seek out friendships and community with people I love, and I make attempts each day to acknowledge my feelings and accept them as a part of who I am. I take steps each day to be a healthier person, and I know I have people around me who will help me face the hard parts of life that I’d rather avoid. Counselors need counseling too.
So here I am. I have chosen a career where I now walk alongside people who suffer, and I have chosen to call out hope and healing when I see it. I want to shout with joy when I see growth and restoration bloom in the lives of my clients, all because 13-year-old Sarah walked a different path. To me, that is life-giving.
To everyone who thinks counseling is weird, awkward, and forced—well, it is. At least at first, until you begin to get to know your counselor, and they begin to get to know you. But eventually, being in the right counseling relationship allows you to experience the freedom of being accepted by another person for who you are, right now. Even in pain and sadness, we can be accepted and loved and are then able to begin the process of healing for ourselves.
Talk to someone. A friend. A family member. A teacher. A counselor. Face-to-face.
You shouldn’t have to fight alone, and I don’t want you to fight alone.
I want to fight with you.
—Sarah B. is a therapist, a listener, and an advocate. Raised in the Midwest and now living in the South, she’s made it her life’s work to point people to hope and healing. Sarah is one of millions who have battled depression and anxiety and is grateful to have found her own path to health within a community of deeply loved friends and family. She is passionate about helping people find freedom from addiction and pain so they can carry hope and light to those who are in darkness.