My personal experience with counselling

Graphic by Thom Bell

How one Concordian got through anxiety and self-confidence issues with the help of a psychologist

I guess I would say it started about halfway through secondary three.  I always seemed to be plagued by this idea that no one really liked me. It wasn’t the unsettling feeling of having an off day or not being my usual self—it was an ongoing feeling of anxiety based on this worry that no one in my circle of friends really wanted anything to do with me.

In fact, they all probably hated me. And why not, right? I was annoying, I always complained, I never did anything fun, I never laughed enough, I never went out enough—or so I thought.

I went on living this way for almost a year, and the bad thoughts and insecurities got perpetually worse.

To add to my rapidly depleting self-confidence, one of my classmates decided to make me the target of her bullying. I hated every day I had to get out of bed, because I had to face the people my anxieties and behaviour had ultimately pushed away: my best friends.

It got so bad that I couldn’t say anything to them without feeling this intense wave of anxiety and self-hatred. I would start telling myself, “Shut up Gab, nobody cares about what you have to say. You’re ugly, you’re stupid, you’re dumb and you have no friends. They all just hang out with you because they feel bad that you’re such a fucking loser.”

I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I will always remember the day when—in the midst of silent car ride with my mother, without even looking at her, I told her I needed to see a psychologist.

She handled it beautifully and gave me the card of a psychologist she’d heard many good things about.

Today, I can say without a doubt that seeing a psychologist changed my life. I am not the same person who walked into that office four years ago. Seeing a psychologist helped me face my demons, become confident in the person I am and believe that I am worth all the love and respect in the world.

It’s definitely not easy to overcome self-hatred. Taking control of your life, when you’ve been so used to sitting back and letting it take control of you, is extremely difficult. You are forced to dig up aspects of your life you buried ages ago because they were just too hard to deal with. I promise you though, it’s worth it.

Thanks to counselling, I was able to tell my bully I wouldn’t stand for how she was treating me anymore. I was able to have an open, honest dialogue with my friends about my anxieties.

This is why  I’m writing this—to encourage you to seek help if you think you need it. Self-love is hard, and I still have a long way to go before I can fully appreciate my uniqueness.  But now I know how to disassociate my hateful thoughts from the person I actually am.

I now know how to take a step back before becoming overwhelmed by anxiety and self-deprecation.  I analyze the situation that is making me feel this way and determine how I can resolve it.

Counselling gave me the tools to work on self-love, a little bit at a time.

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