— “If you’re not well, but you know the clinic won’t be a help for you, go to us. We will be there. If you’re struggling, it’s time you step out of your silence, and speak to us. We will listen.”
I’ve always feared that one room in all the schools I attended. I never imagine myself behind that door with a ‘Guidance Office’ sign swaying, fastened to the frame. And I used to believe that there’s no way I might need to be inside that because I’ve been a good student since. I have never even seen or knew the guidance counselor in all three schools in my elementary.
For a long time, we’ve been told by who knows who that breaking rules and not doing good in class are the almost only reasons we get to talk to the school’s counselor. It was like a punishment. But it is that one fault in school culture we never tried to talk about.
I went to the office once when I was in junior high school. The reason was I needed to get an excuse slip for my absence. I remember there was a guy in my year sitting opposite to me who was being lectured by the counselor for doing inappropriate actions. Another meeting was in my senior high school year, when I was brought by our instructor along with my other classmates because of our absences that outnumbered our present-days (Did I dislike school that much in high school? lol) What experiences to justify the beliefs I knew. A room where you are judged by your ‘wrong’ doings.
But that day in my first freshmen week, the opening ceremony, changed the way I think of guidance offices at last. I was enlightened by its actual role and responsibilities in a school. They encouraged students to visit the office whenever they have concerns whether academic or extra-curricular activities. They also assist students choose their career path by helping them realize their passion and discover their skills. And one thing that led me to visit the office voluntarily — “If you’re not well but you know the clinic won’t be a help for you, go to us. We will be there. If you’re struggling, it’s time you step out of your silence, and speak to us. We will listen.”
So, not too long since that day, when my mental health was at its terrible state again, after all my classes I went straight to the guidance office.
Inside, I was asked to sit in front of a kind-looking lady in her forties. She asked me what brought me there. She’s soft spoken. I felt not anxious at all. As if it’s easy to tell her things that burdens me, and it was.
I told her about the likely reasons to how I felt that way, how the pain started to build up like a snowball and took me along with it, rolling down and up the hill until broken. I was broken. And I opened up about some childhood issue and my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. As I speak, she listens and ask me questions. She didn’t give me advice or any ‘life lessons’ or lectures or whatever which I think is okay. Instead, she referred me to a psychologist she knows. Also told me to come back whenever I feel like I need to.
My experience was fine. However, I didn’t feel any better like I was expecting after coming out of the room. I only felt bad for telling her those things because before we’re finished, she asked me If I know this certain guy in my previous school-her nephew, and it turned out that It was my classmate I never really get along with. So, I felt uncomfortable after that and did not come back.
If you’re depressed, anxious or suffering about whatever reasons you may have and you think it greatly affects your studies or even not, you can go talk to your school’s guidance counselor. It’s not bad to try to help yourself. Talk to people about it. Let’s all talk about it. Let’s all get better.
So, you already talked to the counselor, but you think the help you need is more than that— more clinical. I encourage you to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist like what I did. In case you have doubts and questions to yourself about therapy, I talked about how my first psychotherapy session was like in another post. I hope It may give you some ideas about it.
Maybe things are not going well for you, but there is always help for you, help for each one of us.