When I was young and in high school, like most of my peers, I struggled. But I was one of the lucky ones who reached out and sought help. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I had ever made. 

I remember nervously sitting in her office, waiting for the guidance councillor to arrive for the first time. I remember being so nervous that I was shaking. I was afraid she would judge me, like I felt that everyone else in my life was doing. I was afraid she would say to me, “yeah, you’re pretty messed up. I’m sorry but I can’t help you.” I remember not wanting to talk about my problems but yet wanting to find solutions in order to jump the hurdles that kept me stagnant in life. 

When she entered the office, I was slumped in my chair, on the edge of tears. I met her welcoming gaze for a moment before my eyes darted back to the floor again. Her smile said something to me in that moment. It was a je ne sais quoi that would last a lifetime and open me up into becoming the person I am today. 

*Tanya sat down in a chair across from me and said something that has resonated with me since then. “You’re here, which is the first step. And that tells me that you have the courage to make changes in your life. I’m very proud of you.” 

I met her eyes again and, for the first time in my life, I held someones gaze. Hell, I think I even smiled in appreciation. That was my first step – I felt accepted for making a good decision. And that was why I kept going back to see Tanya throughout my high school years. 

*Names have been changed. 


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