Ever since I was a little girl, probably around age 12, I have been named the family therapist. It was obvious to me that someone had to be the middle person to mediate between my family of six.
Growing up, my home life was never normal. I have three older brothers who would constantly bicker and turn aggressive as well as parents who would often argue as well. So, there I was, the youngest child and only girl, trying to keep peace amongst everyone.
These first experiences served as catalysts for later times in life. Helping those around me, whether it be emotionally or physically, has always been part of who I am as well as who I aspire to be. Follow on for Clinical Psychology: Why I’m Getting into it – My Story!
Entering High School
When I was 14 years old, I went to a boarding school just like all my brothers. Being on my own for the first time at such a young age was difficult, but a challenge that I accepted. I played sports, had fun times with my friends, and made great connections. Yet, the one thing that isn’t highlighted in the parents’ handbook or anywhere else is how the school dealt with mental health.
I remember on Saturday nights the senior girls would snort cocaine and run around the dorms like mad(wo)men. I remember showering and hearing girls vomit up everything that they had in their body. I remember before prom season people would simply starve themselves to reach their “ideal body.”
When anyone was, God forbid, caught with alcohol or any substance, they would be humiliated in front of the whole school and then sent home for good. Guidance counselors were the enemy, and truthfully if you were struggling mentally, there was no one to turn to.
Helping My Peers
My senior year in high school, my role as a family therapist kicked back into gear, but not for my family. I became the dorm prefect for a dorm in which it was all 14 and 15 year-old girls and myself (18). I wanted to be there for them, and I wanted to be a good role model for these growing girls. I gave out my number to everyone in the beginning of the year and made it known that I was someone they could lean on in times of struggle.
I conducted spa nights, study nights, and mental health or psychology sessions where anyone could come and just simply talk.
In the middle of February at around 10:00 P.M., which was study hall hours for the under formers, I received a call from one of the freshman girls. She told me her roommate was by the Housatonic River, and that she was scared. I ran over to find the girl sobbing by the edge. I walked up to her, and we talked for a little, which led her to finally agree to walk with me to the health center.
She took my hand and held it the whole way there. This was the moment that I knew how serious it was for my high school to have better resources for mental health otherwise situations like these would only continue and could even get worse.
I graduated from this school ready to become educated in a field I have aspired to be part of for so long, simply because I want to help.
I started college in the fall of 2021. Immediately I declared my major and started taking Psychology courses. I was beyond excited and honestly, I was ready. However, all this time I had been so focused on helping others and being there for the people in my life that I forgot about my own happiness.
I had a very tough year, as I struggled with generalized anxiety as well as depression. I was studying what I had been dreaming of for so long, but internally I wasn’t okay. I started to see my therapist again and we integrated many gratitude practices and healthy lifestyle choices into my daily life.
I began to meditate and carry a gratitude journal. I also started to participate in Yoga and other forms of exercise. After some time of focusing on myself, my mental health greatly improved.
Nurturing your mental health and your own psychology truly matters. If you are struggling, it’s okay, and you aren’t alone. I want to be a Clinical Psychologist because I understand how important it is to get the help you deserve.
I want to help our society fix the stigma regarding illnesses like depression and anxiety. I want to incorporate the tools that saved me into other people’s lives. Overall, I want to help, because I know mental health isn’t a simple fix or an easy fight, but it is a fight that can be won with the right guidance and support.
Are you thinking of taking up psychology? What would you like to learn most about in this vast field? Join in the discussion and promote awareness of mental illness in the comments below and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!