My First Time at CAPS

 

A combination of family life, relationships, school stress, post-grad life stress and after numerous breakdowns, I finally made the decision to take care of my mental health and go to the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on campus. I’ve always made excuses since my first-year like “I have no time,” or “things will go away with time,” but honestly, things kept getting worse and I needed to take care of myself. I was tired of preaching about self-care to others while not even listening to my own advice and preserving my wellness.

For those who are unfamiliar with the process and the services that CAPS offers, you can visit the official page that explains everything. I first took the anonymous mental health screening, I felt so much better already. After a counselor responded back to address the concerns I had wrote about, I had either the option to continue messaging through the domain or schedule an in-person meeting. I realized that I really needed to put my thoughts out in an open space because I could only say so much through a document therefore, I scheduled an in-person therapy session which happened a couple of days later.

This was probably my first actual time entering the wellness center in all my four years at Agnes. I signed in and after a couple of minutes in the waiting room, I was taken to the back into the room where my counselor was. She told me that she was going to be conducting the counselor intake form after I signed some papers that basically explained the rules about the process. Agnes offers about five short term sessions that are free, and if they feel that you need to continue therapy then you are typically referred to an off-campus therapist. Once I signed the papers, we started the process.

The questionnaire was essentially covering all the basics, what my family life looks like, what am I studying, what my relationship status is. After addressing those, we got to the nitty-gritty details, which were about some of the mental health concerns I had listed on the online screening process. She asked, what kind of symptoms have I been dealing with related to my concerns, how long have I been facing symptoms related to my concerns, and what are my coping strategies.

The whole process took about 45 mins and honestly, it was an exhausting 45 mins having to cover everything that was going on. However, I felt so much better, and I already felt good going into the appointment.

I know multiple people that have had different experiences regarding CAPS and I can’t be too quick to judge, however, so far, I have genuinely felt so much better than I think I would have had I not asked for help. I look forward to my next appointment and hopefully, this path continues for me even post-Agnes. For anyone who is on the fence, please take care of yourself and go, even if it’s one time.