It was a sunny and warm spring afternoon. It was also my first day of art therapy. My mom did not have much luck with finding a local psychologist who was accepting new patients, so I had settled for art therapy.
I pulled up to the therapist’s house atop a gently rolling hill in the next town over from mine. My mom and I walked slowly up the cobblestone pathway leading us to her front door. I nervously rang the door bell. I was instantly greeted by two big black barking dogs. “I hope you’re not afraid of dogs,” the therapist announced as she cracked open the door.
As she cracked the door open a bit more, she motioned for us to come in, and said, “I’m April, and you must be Erika.” My mom and I stepped into the narrow hallway as she lead us towards the kitchen table. We sat down with April sitting in between my mother and me. April handed me a stack of magazines, a white poster board, a pair of scissors and a glue stick. She instructed me to create a collage of anything that interests me, while she asked me a series of pointed questions.
She asked me about my childhood. I told her about how dreadfully shy I used to be, and how I did not really have any friends until I met my best friend in the fifth grade. And then she got to the inevitable question: have you experienced thoughts of suicide? I nervously shook my head, and responded, “No. I have never really considered taking my own life. I just feel like life is so overwhelming and sometimes I wonder.. Is it all worth living for?”
After my therapy session, my mother seemed concerned. Before I could even start my car, she turned to me, and said, “You are seventeen years old. You have so much time ahead of you. You should not feel so overwhelmed at your age. I do not understand why you feel so overwhelmed and exhausted, but I do not believe art therapy is the answer. I’m going to continue searching for a psychologist. I just want you to be okay.”
* Names have been altered to protect the privacy of individuals.