“You should go talk to a mental health counselor.”

This advice came as a huge surprise. I had just told a close friend about how stressed I was about getting into a prestigious accounting program, maintaining relationships, and dating as a recently returned missionary. I had never even considered the idea of therapy, and I felt like talking to a counselor was only for people who had big problems or were too weak to deal with challenges on their own. My friend had only good things to say about his own experience talking to a counselor, so I began to consider it.

Soon my anxiety got worse. After sleepless nights of worrying, I decided to schedule an appointment. I was nervous about what other people might say or think if they knew I was going to see a counselor, but at that point my anxiety was affecting my ability to function, so I went.

Overcoming Anxiety

At the appointment, the counselor asked lots of questions that helped me come to answers on my own. The counselor didn’t give me a magic solution to my struggles. He also didn’t treat me like I was crazy—he had seen a lot of people with struggles similar to mine. In some ways, it felt like going to a medical doctor. He was a professional with experience in diagnosing the problem and had the expertise to teach me how to prevent and treat anxiety.

Along with other suggestions, the counselor suggested that I write my feelings and thoughts in my journal. This was a huge help in overcoming my anxiety. I also kept exercising, spending time with friends and family, eating healthily (or as healthily as a guy in college who was cooking for himself could), studying the scriptures, attending church, and praying.

After meeting with the counselor a few times, two things changed for me.

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