Leah Pollick
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The Process

One step at a time.

There are so many ways to handle mental health issues and I can honestly say I've tried several different approaches. My most prominent approach however, would definitely be avoiding and ignoring it. That was a huge part of my problem leading into the summer going into my senior year of college. I suppressed all of the emotions that were starting to eat me alive, and was I slowly began to crumble and lose control. After my panic attack in June, I decided to reach out for help for the first time ever and let me tell you, it was not even slightly easy. Like I've mentioned before, I was always the one helping my friends and family and was always "the rock" and never felt like I needed help. I've realized it is hard for me to accept help because I was so accustomed to helping others, and I felt a certain pressure to always be okay. But once my emotions started to affect my everyday life in a negative way, I had to put my hard-headed feelings aside and accept that I was not okay. 

I found a therapist near my home town that a family member of mine had also seen, and I was anxious but somewhat excited to meet her and start my journey. The first few weeks of therapy were extremely hard for me, I started to reveal and unravel things about myself and my past that I didn't even know were there. I was mostly trying to make peace with the amount of pain my best friend and her family were going through that I could not fix or take away. With weeks of consistent therapy, I found that my anxiety was mostly under control, and I felt pretty confident going into my senior year. But boy, was I wrong AGAIN (this seems to be a pattern).

When I got to school, I was not going to therapy consistently and continued to live like a normal college student would. However, deep down I knew that I had to go to therapy to continue the progress I was making over the summer. But life just kind of got in the way; I was taking six courses and interning 25-30 hours a week which resulted in not making my mental health a priority. This was probably one of the hardest realizations I had to make throughout my journey, that the progress was a working progress, and it would take a lot of time. I felt like, why should I have to make this a priority when normal college kids prioritize school, friends, parties, etc.? Why should I have to do this? And unfortunately for me, I am quite impatient and felt ready to be better right when things started to be bad. I was ready to not feel the way I did anymore, but had no idea how to fix it.

It took me time to accept the losses my family and I had went through this past year, and to accept that the changes that I needed to make. I started up therapy again in late October, and was lucky enough to have a therapist I really loved after going through a couple trials and tribulations. 

A few tips for people starting the journey of reaching out and accepting help: 

  1. Reaching out is one of the hardest steps, and once you take that step, realize that that is a victory within itself
  2. Everyone's mental health journeys are entirely different- I spent weeks researching different people and techniques about how to help anxiety and would get extremely frustrated when it did not work for me. But this is YOUR journey, YOUR experiences, and YOUR life that you are trying to make better.
  3. Therapy works in the way it does for a reason. Sometimes there are sessions that will require you to dig deep and recognize things about yourself that you might not be ready to unravel. But always trust the process. 
  4. The sooner you deal with the issues you are facing, the sooner they will get better and the sooner you will be able to make peace with whatever it is you are dealing with.
  5. You might not connect with a therapist right away, or therapy might not be the right route for you. Some other things that have helped me along the way...
  • Writing down how I feel in a journal
  • Going to the gym or for a run
  • Binge watching your favorite tv show
  • Surround yourself with friends/family who know your situation

Although these things might seem like common sense, it is scary how blurred your mind can be during peak anxiety/depression times. It is so important to either stick with, or start a routine that maintains a sense of normalcy. 

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The Process
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