When I first started going to counseling for depression, I looked at it the same way I looked at makeup when I was 10. I had pale skin, freckles, unruly not curly yet not close to being straight hair, and glasses. Makeup sounded like my cure. Makeup commercials promised me that if I just could put on a little bit of foundation I would be beautiful. Concealer would cover up my freckles and make me happy.
Then came the moment my mom actually let me try makeup for the first time. It was a girls sleepover and my mom’s friend the makeup artist promised to give us a makeover. I was beyond ecstatic. I not so patiently waited my turn for beauty, and then the time came. I sat in the chair feeling the soft brush strokes over my face and my many insecurities melting away. When she was done, I emerged from the chair feeling better than ever before. I practically ran to the mirror and looked expectantly and full of hope in the mirror just to have it crashing down around me.
What awaited me in the mirror was the opposite of what I had expected. My freckles were still there staring back at me, if just a little subdued. My face was still just as pale as ever and not in the least bit model like. I just couldn’t understand it. Why didn’t I look as good as the makeup commercials had promised? I honestly felt completely defeated and hopeless.
Now, looking back I feel absolutely silly thinking that makeup would make me look like a completely different person, but at the time, I truly thought that would make my life completely different. I was so devastated that I never even tried makeup again until prom. I didn’t see the point. The problem was that I was looking to makeup to solve a much bigger problem, my poor self image.
The same was true for counseling. I went into counseling thinking that my counselor would be my savior. She would fix me, and all I would have to do is let her….like my makeup, that wasn’t what happened. I quickly realized that to truly help my depression, I would have to confront parts of my past I didn’t want to ever look at again. Despite how hard I tried to forget them, they just won’t go away. They’ve become a part of me without me realizing it. They dictate where I go, what I say, who I choose to talk to, and how I live my life, and until I face them and deal with them once and for all they’ll always be there affecting me in ways I never even thought about.
The problem is that the thought of facing those past hurts again terrifies me.