Experience with Student Psychologist
“Treat your mental health with the same respect as your physical injuries”
At the end of August 2018, I arrived to Wageningen with the purpose to start my master in September in Wageningen University & Research. It’s the first time that I had lived abroad, and I knew It wouldn’t be easy. I was used to spending my free time in the mountains and I am now moving to probably the flattest country in the world.
Around October 2018, I planned to fly back home to visit my family as I had started to feel a little homesick. Two days before the flight back to The Netherlands, I was driving on the way to run in the mountains with a friend and my dog. Due to the rain, the road was slippery, and I lost control around a bend. My car slide to the other side of the road and crashed into an oncoming car.
It was a bad accident but luckily my friends and those in the other car were not severely injured. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop worrying about them as I had recovered fast while they had remained in hospital. Knowing they were still in hospital was giving me anxiety and stress. I couldn’t stop blaming myself for the accident even though it was not my fault.
It was as simple and easy as sending an email to my student advisor.
Only two days after having the car accident I was due to fly back to the Netherlands. To leave my family and friends behind at this time was difficult for me. I arrived in Wageningen feeling homesick, stressed and anxious about those still in hospital after the accident. Day by day, I began to feel emptier, to the point where I wanted to give up with my master program. I knew I need to remind myself that there is life beyond my hometown and that I was privileged to have the opportunity to experience life abroad. I decided to take steps to fix the sad thoughts I was having.
It was as simple and easy as sending an email to my student advisor. Immediately, she put me in contact with the student psychologist and within one week I was already sat in my first meeting with a psychologist. I felt safe in opening up with the psychologist, after a few sessions my anxiety faded, and I was able to approach my masters with a fresh enthusiasm.
I strongly believe that talking about your experiences can help both you and others. If you are struggling with something talking about it with close friends, family or a phycologist can take the weight off your chest. We should stop holding on to the antiquated thought that you must be sick or crazy if you go to therapy. That’s contributing to the stigma that surrounds psychotherapy. In fact, therapy is taking care of yourself, getting healthier, achieving potential and making life easier. If you get physically injured, you go to see a physiotherapist and do rehabilitation exercises. We should recognise that mental injuries are treated in the same way, with the help of a phycologist and rehabilitation. This will help to remove the stigma. The more we learn about ourselves the faster we are able to overcome our problems.
I felt safe in opening up with the psychologist, after a few sessions my anxiety faded, and I was able to approach my masters with a fresh enthusiasm.
If you fall and break a bone, probably you will ask for medical help to get your injuries fixed as soon as possible. Visible injuries are not the only ones you can have. If you injure yourself both mentally and physically, seek help to fix.
Be patient and trust the process, good things take time. Don’t doubt, keep working on improving yourself and do your best one day at a time. The most powerful thing standing in between you and happiness is your own resistance to what’s in front if you.
There are 2 comments.
Deeply inspiring and motivational. I love how you described therapy and couldn’t agree more with the fact that we need to take more care of or mental health. Fantastic text, insightful and powerful message. You are great and the work that you have done reflecting on what happened to you is amazing. I look up to you!
Now there is a long wait time (4-5 weeks). All students have issues, but I feel like an international student really seeking help and having to wait this long is discouraging. I know it’s because of corona, but what’s the point of seeking help if access takes long.