Thomas Transtomer, Roman Arches
So, I was in the waiting room of my psychologist, standing, staring out the window, as I do, feeling calm and looking forward to our sessions, when a guy I know from poker appears. We greet each other with a g'day, a few words and a smile before my counsellor calls me in to her chamber. "How did it feel to see someone you know?" she asked. "Fine," I replied. "It's like seeing someone at a juice bar. We're both here for something healthy..."
No stigma in my opinion. Interestingly enough, me and that fellow have always been open with each other and discussed relationships, past troubles, etc countless times. Two life veterans who have been through the wars getting some help - well, it just seems sensible.
I was taken to my first psychiatrist when I was just nine years old. I stubbornly refused to wear jumpers. Even in winter. I just didn't like them. This worried my caring parents, so they sought professional opinion. Makes sense. They were young, still in their 20's. The experience for me was amusing, interesting. I was on the look out for questions regarding my jumpers, but none came. There was a sandpit in the office. A good sign, I thought. The doc was relaxed, I was relaxed. It was enjoyable. I don't recall a single question.
After that, I chose to see various professionals from about my mid twenties onwards. On and off. On my own and sometimes with my live-in girlfriends - usually at the tail end of our relationships. Worth the effort, still.
I've always enjoyed talking openly and confidentially to a professional about what's on my mind. Unloading, sharing, exploring, testing the boundaries... There's a limit to what you can do by yourself. I've seen a few duds - one's who weren't up to scratch - but knew pretty quickly they weren't right for me and moved on. I have a clear preference for female counsellors. I just feel more comfortable. And I appreciate a woman's perspective, insight (in general and during counselling).
Mental well being is an important thing. No matter how lucid, well adjusted or strong we believe ourselves to be we can all use some feedback, guidance sometimes. It's imperative. It helps. At the very least, a good hour session will clear your headspace for some new stuff. At best, it can be clarifying, insightful and uplifting.
It's common to get into a mind loop, stuck in a (unproductive) groove, find yourself losing the battle with an unhealthy habit, stagnating in a going-nowhere relationship. Times like these especially, it's imperative to reach out for professional guidance.
I've always found that they don't say too much, really, they just let you talk and find your own way to a realisation, a clarification and a solution. After all, we humans aren't that different from each other, essentially, and follow similar patterns. If there is a way into the corner, there's a way out.