So I Went to My Mental Health Counselor Yesterday …

There it is. All public and for the world to see. And now in a blog post for Google to index and cache and be permanently logged into my life’s record.

Yesterday, at 3:30 p.m. to be exact, I went to see my mental health counselor. His name is Kyle.

I’m posting this loud and proud because I’m an open, passionate advocate of good mental health. And as an advocate, I regularly encourage it for others when speaking to people publicly and privately.

I believe regular mental health checkups are just like physicals. You should get them regularly. Just like when we get the flu, and then typically go to our physician for help, we should also seek professional mental health guidance when we have issues we can’t seem to get past.

But that’s not what we do. It’s taboo to talk about mental health. I’ve seen and heard how people use the word “feelings” when referring to mental health. We paint it like some kind of touchy-feely weird thing that we don’t want to get close to …. mainly because I think we’re afraid of expressing those inner thoughts, the ones you have and never share, to anyone else. It makes us feel vulnerable and we don’t like feeling vulnerable.

And that has to change. Now.

Read the headlines and you can see how bad people are hurting. I promise you, it’s worse. It’s the world’s most hushed or silent epidemic.

And if it doesn’t change, these headlines are only going to get worse and more prolific. And the people hurting around you, the ones dying inside, are going to continue to suffer in silence.

I can almost guarantee you that someone you know (and love) right now is suffering with something so deep and hurting so profoundly … but hiding it all under the surface. They wear a mask of a smile, while dying inside.

So today, I want you to know … I live what I preach. I walk the talk.

I have a mental health counselor that I see 3-4 times a year (for my regular checkups) and have consistently for the last three years. And in my life I’ve had several counselors who have helped me work through things I needed an objective, professional assist with. For the big life change stuff — like divorce, marriage, having a child, death, even moving — I have sought and will continue to seek help. And in particular, if I find any combination of those big life events happening in life and I try to make that appointment ASAP.

So last week, I realized I was way overdue for a session with my counselor. I was dealing with some issues that I needed some help and perspective to sort through it all and to manage it better. So I went to Kyle yesterday. I talked it all out. I got and sought feedback and guidance on some things in my life. Afterward, even during, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I had new clarity to address certain issues in my life.

And I felt better and healthier for it.

He described this particular session as a “tuneup.” And yes, I feel tuned up. I feel like I’m running at a higher level of performance (and happiness and peace).

But let me say this … I’ll be back to see my mental health counselor. It’s not a one and done kind of thing. Just like I know at some point I’ll get physically sick again and need to go back to my doctor, I know I’ll need another tuneup. And maybe, most certainly actually, at some point, I’ll have something bigger that I’ll need someone to help walk me through it and the emotions that emerge from it.

So here’s the deal. The real reason I wrote this.

I let you know something that ordinarily my own first instinct would be to hide because I want to help you, help yourself.

I figure if someone who runs a 21-person award-winning, profitable company, who is respected in his community and by his peers, competitors and customers, says all of this so publicly, it might give you the courage to take a next step for your own mental health.

So here’s my challenge to you: If you don’t have a mental health professional you regularly see, find one today. Make an initial appointment. Find someone you can trust, has professional credentials and that you feel confident listens and can help walk with you through life’s challenges and obstacles.

Do it for yourself. Do it for those who love and care about you. Then once you do, encourage others to do the same.

It’s the only way we will help those silently suffering while making progress against an epidemic that no one really wants to talk about.

I will tell you … my life, my happiness, my peace, my joy, and those who love and care about me, are all better because I take care of my mental health.

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14 thoughts on “So I Went to My Mental Health Counselor Yesterday …”

  1. Cory,

    Thanks for posting this. I think you are correct that SO many people are suffering but hide it pretty well.

    I’ve had 2 uncles commit suicide because they were depressed, but nobody around them knew it, because they were silently sufferring and hiding it from the world. . .most likely because our culture has established that you just need to “man up” and get over things. So more often than not, in an effort to “man up” or whatever you want to call it, people hide it and put on a show that there’s nothing underneath the surface that needs addressed.

    It’s great to see someone like you post this. It does take a lot of humility and I think it’s encouraging to read this.

    • Thanks, Jason. I think your examples are the exact ones we ultimately want to avoid … either hurting yourself or others. Appreciate you sharing it.

  2. Thanks for putting this out there! Mental health does not deserve the taboo it suffers under… and likewise, mental illness doesn’t deserve the stigma. Shared experience is so important, so thank you!

    Unfortunately, however, behavioral healthcare is somewhat of a luxury and many people don’t have access, either for financial or geographical reasons. And I hope that piece becomes an additional part of this important conversation.

    • Rachel, totally agree. I would rather trim everything but food and shelter to be able to do this. But I fully understand that some people might not have ready access to mental health assistance. It’s a key issue in this that we have to work through as well.

  3. Cory, thanks for sharing this side of your life with us.

    I can understand when folks are afraid to talk about this with the internet at large, but so many can benefit from talking about it with just ONE person — like a counselor — if they took action.

    I’ll admit, times can get difficult when you’re making decisions that not only impact your bottom line, but the livelihood of your family and your team.

    These thoughts that swirl around in our minds during the journey can be detrimental to our health and salute you for bringing awareness to it.

    • Matt, thanks … you’re right, for entrepreneurs, this is even more of a necessity because of the pressure and stress we deal with. Thanks for your support.

  4. I always love how honest and open you are about everything Cory! If only there were more people like you in the world!

    I also have a psychologist and see him any time I’m feeling overwhelmed by something in my life and need some outside help. I only started seeing him early this year and I really wish I did it earlier.

    We’ve worked through relaxation techniques, working on mindfulness (being in the main moment rather than thinking too far ahead) and we’ve talked about ways to handle different personality types among other things. My psych always has amazing books for me to read about people or business owners too which are very beneficial for me.

    I agree that everyone should have someone to work on their mental health! 🙂

  5. Cory,

    Thanks for the inspiring post, and for your courage in telling your story to inspire others to improve their situation.

    In this crazy world, there are just as many challenges to mental health as to physical health (if not more). Yet many people are afraid to admit that they could benefit from help on both fronts. Thanks for sharing your story and your advice.

    Mark

  6. Cory,

    I was on the treadmill this morning at the gym, (therapeutic in itself), and as I was skimming through my favorite bloggers on Feedly, I came across this post. The title really caught my attention because I have been dealing with some heavy stresses lately. Not sure if you really realize how incredibly powerful this post was, but let me just say that you are one of my favorite bloggers now. It only took a single post to earn my respect. I follow people that don’t just share great material, but that inspire me as well.

    I agree with you when you say that people are in pain. Whatever these pains may be, . . . sometimes we need a little help and sometimes we need a little “push.” Thanks for that “push” buddy.

    Entrepreneurship can wear on our minds, bodies, and attitudes. I want to be my best for my wife, kids, friends, and even clients. Going to make an appointment this week.

    Your new fan,

    Pat

    • Comments like this are why I keep doing these things. Thank you for that encouragement! And hope you have a great appointment.

      • You’re welcome! You have a great voice—as well as product. I LOVE how our community is beginning to connect in other ways than just on tech and business levels. We need a good support system as well, and i think that being united instead of being competition is a great thing. There’s plenty of work out there, but not a lot of friendships. It took me awhile but I somehow found my way to a new “group” of people that offer me what I need. The freelance world can be a lonely one at times.

        Again, thanks!

        -Pat

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