Sunday, April 19, 2009

Immediately after the incident happened with Dr. Parker, (and after finally removing myself from the fetal position on the bench outside Ledford Hall) I decided I had to tell someone what happened. I had nowhere to turn except the Meredith College Counseling Center. I had always made it a point to avoid that place. It was sort of creepy looking, I always told myself that counseling was for people who weren't mentally tough enough to cope with their problems. "I'm tough enough," I thought stubbornly. But this day was different. I stumbled into the counseling center, fighting back tears. After telling the receptionist what happened, she was absolutely astounded at how I was treated by a member of their faculty. I decided to mention the fact that I just had a baby who was placed in an adoption to make the story more applicable to why I was reacting this way. When I finished telling the whole story, I finally realized just how much I had been through. I always had this defense mechanism that sort of allowed me to pretend like it wasn't true. That I never actually had a baby and that I wasn't actually dealing with the aftermath of giving Deanna away. But on that particular day, I finally accepted what I had been through and I completely broke down. The receptionist went to get another counselor, and I realized that I must have caused quite a stir that day. I'm sure they were used to girls coming in to address issues associated with transitioning to college life or about issues related to depression or anxiety. But never about something like this! "Hi, I'm Amy. I just had a baby out of wedlock, placed her in an adoption, I'm dealing with depression, I hate your school, oh, and a member of your faculty just told me I didn't care about kids. Do you have anything to take care of that?" I was assigned to a counselor named Angel, who had young kids of her own. Apparently, the receptionist thought that would help us to make a connection. Angel and I talked for a long time, and I agreed to meet with her again. I couldn't deny the connection. It sort of felt like I was chatting with an old friend. A friend who cared about my problems and helped me to realize that I was being too hard on myself. We met every two weeks until I finished at Meredith the following spring. It was the only way I was able to cope with my decision. I felt a little bit better every time I went to see Angel, and that's what kept me coming back. When I transferred to NC State, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Angel had coincidentally accepted a job at NC State Counseling Center. We continued with our sessions for the next two years, and I slowly tapered off after that. It was sad that I didn't need her anymore, but it was such an incredible accomplishment to finally be in such an accepting place in my life! In preparation to graduate college in two weeks, I've been attempting to tie up all of those loose ends. I decided to make an appointment with Angel this past week to update her on my life. I hadn't seen her for about a year, so I was anxious to give her the great news about where my life is going! When we met on Friday morning, it was just like old times, except instead of telling her about all of the bad things in my life, I told her about all of the good things. Granted, I still have alot of things I need to work on, and I'll never be perfect, but I can finally speak about my decision from a place of self-acceptance. A self-acceptance that I could have never achieved without her. I used to be ashamed to tell people that I went to the counseling center, but that's not the case anymore. Counseling is something that I am proud to promote. After all, Angel is really and truly the only reason I have been able to move forward with my life and to accept my decision, and I cannot thank her enough. I encourage anyone who is dealing with a problem, no matter how big or small, to visit their school counseling center. After all, as Angel always expressed to me, "counseling is for normal people with normal problems!" Meeting with Angel a final time has given me the last bit of closure that I needed to know that I'm okay. I'm now ready to go out with a bang from NC State University and to share my wonderful open adoption story with the world. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." -Ambrose Redmoon


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