Trigger Warning: Suicidal Ideation
I have always been someone who is afraid of reaching out for help. However, that had to change when at the end of freshman year I reached a point where I could not handle everyday life and feelings by myself. My parents were freshly divorced, COVID hit, and my therapy stopped due to the pandemic. It was at this time that I reached out to my high school counselor for help.
I remember drafting an email to her and waiting three days to send it because I was nervous. I was worried about what my parents would think and didn’t want to be a burden to my guidance counselor while the world was going through so much. Finally, I worked up enough courage to send the email and we talked the next day via google meet. It was so nice being able to finally talk about my parents’ divorce with someone who didn’t know me and was not involved in the situation.
After that, I continued to stay in touch with my guidance counselor and went to talk to her more often. It was nice to know that I had someone at school who was readily available for me. This proved beneficial when halfway through my sophomore year I learned my dad was remarried. I was able to go to my guidance counselor once again to help me work through those feelings.
This year, as a junior, I started out the year with a new guidance counselor. This was difficult because I had just gotten comfortable asking my freshman and sophomore counselor for help when I had to switch. I was so nervous at first, but the switch turned out well. Junior year has been the hardest year of my life and she has been so understanding and kind. It has been nice to know that she is there for me.
Having my counselor available especially helped when I began to have suicidal ideation.
It was a Friday. I had a terrible day filled with three panic attacks. I was supposed to have speech practice after school, but instead, thoughts of hurting myself kept distracting me. Even though I was struggling, a part of me knew there was someone I could reach out to. I went and talked to my guidance counselor after school. She called my mom and my mom had to come up to the school and talk with us to make sure I could stay safe. It was hard asking for help, and I doubted my decision when my counselor called my mom. However, it was the right thing to do and it saved my life that day. There have been a handful of other times when I have reached out to my counselor for help because I was afraid I could do something to hurt myself, but she has continued to help keep me safe and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Reaching out for help is a sign of great strength and is something that is hard for many people including me. However, it saved my life and let me get to know some amazing people while getting the help I needed. It is so important to reach out to a trusted adult as scary as it can be. They can help you. They care, they want you here and they want to see you happy. If you are struggling, there are so many resources out there to help you, please use them as they truly help. Always remember, you matter!
Erika’s Lighthouse is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 that is dedicated to educating teens and raising awareness surrounding depression and mental health. Our programs are tailored to our mission of making sure no young person feels alone in their depression. Erika’s Lighthouse strives to help teens create an inclusive school culture and eliminate the stigma of mental health. Erika’s Lighthouse evidence-informed programs not only bring awareness to young people about depression and mental health; they build a structure for young people to thrive and survive, even when they might be experiencing depression.