I Started Seeing a Counselor

The last time I saw a counselor I was 14 years old. I had been diagnosed as clinically depressed, and after a handful of less than exemplary events, found myself a freshly minted resident of a psychiatric ward. After a month-and-a-half stay in the ward I was home again and seeing a counselor on a weekly basis. These were forced visits, demanded by parents who were operating under the idea that what I was experiencing had no direct correlation to the dysfunctional conditions of our home-life. I needed to be fixed, and if I were fixed, all the problems would go away.

I wasn’t blameless, and counseling was probably a good idea for me. I mean, I was a fucked up kid. I had issues. And I was severely fucking depressed. Yet, since the main root of the problem was never being addressed (my screwed-up parents and the home life they were providing me), things never changed. I felt the counseling was pointless and stopped participating. It didn’t take long for it to be canceled.

There were ample times throughout the intervening years that I could have used counseling. For instance, my twenties were a trying time, though to be fair, much of it was self-inflicted. Nevertheless, I can remember my days were often marked by emotional darkness, at times my whole being feeling as if I were slowly sinking into a moat. Plenty of this into my thirties as well. So, this depression thing has kind of been floating along with me since that first diagnosis at the ripe age of 14. Completely oblivious, or in complete denial, after that time I never considered myself as being depressed again.

I’m fast approaching 50. A couple more years and I’ll reach that high-water mark. While I’ve always been one to look back and evaluate, re-live, perhaps even mentally mortify myself a bit by replaying moments of pure shamelessness, this backward evaluation has been different the past few years. It’s a sober, and sobering appraisal that is butted up against the awareness of a life lived longer than it has left to live. At 50, what can you expect, 30, 35 years if you’re truly lucky? Average male life expectancy (as of 2021) in America is 73.5 years. Sure, the pandemic lowered that number, but seriously, it wasn’t a whole lot higher before Covid. I have a heart condition and was told, very bluntly by a doctor with a thick, Russian sounding accent, “I not kid you, I be honest, this reduce your life expectancy by 10 years”. The way I see it, making it to 85 is a fucking long-shot.

Looking back from this vantage point, one of sober mind, and despite my heart condition, probably in the best overall health I’ve had my entire life, I can see that I’ve likely been depressed for over thirty years. That’s a lot of self-denial. With these realizations, many of them ushered into more serious consideration because of my wife, Erin, I started seeing a counselor last week. After carrying so much bullshit most of my life, I’d like to work on being free from it. Que the motivational music.

I don’t know what to expect, or if I should be expecting anything. I don’t know what is going to come of it, where it is going to go, or what it may lead to. Near the end of my first visit the counselor asked me how I would know when I was finished with counseling. I didn’t have a real answer because I don’t know. I guess we’ll see.

Author: Jason Jacobs

Jason Jacobs is an artist, project manager, and frontend web designer living and working in Boise, Idaho. Beyond work he spends his time with family, as well as reading, writing articles for Uhmm, and working on his art. All words and opinions, etc., are his and do not reflect the positions or beliefs of anyone other than himself.