Deep down, we all know the answer.
All my life, I’ve been told by my family and close friends that talking to a psychologist means you’re sick. That something is wrong with your mind that it’s shameful. When we talked about someone meeting a psychologist, it was always in a negative light.
But today, looking back, I don’t believe it’s wrong.
I had a problem, and It put my life on hold
For years after the end of my military service, I was overweight, shy and had enormous debt which I kept hidden from everyone in my close circles.
I would cry in the nights before payment day, fuss about my credit cards, make excuses when asked to buy something by someone else, disregard meaningful friendships because there was always that one thing they could never know.
I wanted to prove that I can still maintain a healthy lifestyle, so I registered more credit cards to deal with times when I had made expensive choices, like accompanying my parents to a visit to the USA. I dug my pit deeper and deeper without even realizing it.
But every bubble is fated to burst one day.
I was scared to date girls because I was afraid I would succeed and then have to reveal my financial status.
I believed I could take care of my debt on my own. I did what I could, and it was never enough. I needed help, but I refused even to consider the notion of telling my parents.
But then, one day, my cousin announced she was getting married. She’s two weeks younger than me. We shared childhood, and when she announced her marriage, I felt something break inside me. It was the last straw.
She was getting married to the love of her life, and I didn’t know what I was doing with mine.
I don’t regret telling my parents
I decided to tell my parents about my financial status. My debt was around 70k dollars at the time.
But when I did, it wasn’t at all what I had feared. My parents interrogated, they asked lots of questions, they worried. But in the end — they decided to help me and encouraged me that everything will be fine.
And they did help.
They registered a loan on their name which they transferred to me, and in return, I registered automatic monthly payments of their loan amount to their account.
With my parents help, I canceled four credits cards and paid off two external loans. Now I have only one card which I use very selectively.
I work as a Software Developer, so I do have a good salary to work with, but I had too many other payments to make a dent in my vast loan.
Their help solved another issue: I was always on the brink of my account’s credit limit. I was checking the bank statements every day, worrying that maybe I was somehow moving past my credit limit.
I was losing it — bit by bit, every day. I didn’t remember when was the last time I looked at my face, and it didn’t have black circles around my eyes.
Telling them was scary. I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t easy and I rehearsed the whole thing in my head several times before doing it.
Now, this fear is in my past, and I’m so happy I decided to tell my folks.
I’ve stopped falling and started climbing
Once my salaries began pouring in, and I didn’t have so many payments chipping away at my future, I started worrying less. But old habits die hard and I’m not out of the woods yet. I still have a loan to pay my bank and another smaller one to my parents.
Now I finally have a chance to try other things and maybe make additional money from my writing. I have always believed that we shouldn’t be chained to a 9–5 job. I want my future to be exactly that — mine.
And I can only do that by fighting my debt. As long as I owe money to other people, whether my parents, the bank or a credit card company — they control a part of my life.
After so many years in this prison — I want out. I want to be free. I always wanted to be free.
And this prison was of my own making. I decided not to seek help, to keep this hidden from everybody, to suffer alone.
I could have sought help much sooner
Today I’m well on course for a healthy financial status, but I still can’t stop wondering where would I be if I had talked to someone years ago. If I didn’t want to reveal this to anybody, I should have spoken to a psychologist who is under oath to keep my secrets.
But I should have revealed my problem. I should have talked and tried to get help.
If I did, I might have been persuaded to tell my parents sooner or to invest more in myself despite my financial shortcomings. If I had talked sooner, maybe I would have needed to pay less.
Is it wrong to want to talk to someone even if that someone is being paid to listen to you?
In a world where social media has connected us digitally and isolated us physically, I believe it is imperative to have someone to talk to.
Yes, wanting to talk with a psychologist means we’re sick. It means there is something wrong with us.
Talking to someone or even a psychologist is not the problem — it’s the cure.