I received therapy through YSB a few years ago as a 20-year-old university student living downtown. Despite having everything so together on the surface (I was a full-time Health Science student maintaining a 9+/10 GPA and working part time), I was so severely depressed.
In retrospect, I really had been that way since I was 12 or 13 years old. I was taking medication, but it really wasn’t doing much for me. I cried several times a day, every day. I went to all my classes, but the only thing I could think of while I was there was how badly I wanted to crawl back home to my room. I hated every single one of my classes and everything about school in general. I had severe anxiety about being out in public.
I didn’t tell anyone any of this, and I saw my friends “just enough” to avoid suspicion, but I was such an absolute wreck. I felt such hopelessness and worthlessness day after day, and somewhere in all of that I started self-harming. On top of all of that, I was dating a guy with severe mental health issues, who had attempted suicide more than once, and who relied on me emotionally and, to a certain extent, financially.
I reached a low at some point in the spring of 2008 and stayed there for a long, long time. I was still “doing everything right”, but I spent hours obsessing over how useless my life was, and how sad and lonely I would always be. I self-harmed at least several times a week, and sometimes more than once a day.
In the summer of 2008, I sort of accidentally stumbled upon Youth Services Bureau. I made a few calls, and almost right away I was able to meet with someone to fill out some paperwork and give a bit of background about myself. Shortly after that I began meeting with a counsellor at the downtown location.
Being able to meet with her made a huge difference for me. Having a place that I could finally talk about everything that was going on was literally life-changing. I found so much support in the time I spent with my counsellor. She was so patient with me, and so genuinely kind.
I certainly can’t say that I turned everything around overnight, but the difference between the person I am now and the person I was then is night and day. It happened so gradually and almost imperceptibly that I honestly didn’t notice it was happening at all. I stopped needing to punish myself with self-harming. I started working through some of my anxiety and felt less afraid to leave my house.
Now over 2 ½ years later, I am so, so happy. I am graduating in June with my degree in Nursing. I am with a new guy, and though I am still taking medication, I’m happy for the first time in my life. I am looking forward to my career as a nurse, and my ultimate dream is to work as a nurse at a centre for at-risk youth. But we’ll have to wait and see, I suppose.
A huge THANK YOU to my counsellor for meeting with me all those times, and also to all the staff at YSB—you guys gave me a second chance!
Someone is here to help you, listen and not judge.