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Brandon’s Story

When life presents you with multiple changes all at once, it can feel overwhelming. Brandon’s wife suggested he talk to a counselor to process the stress and anxiety brought on by recent life changes, and a friend referred him to a therapist at Insight Counseling Centers.

Brandon’s Story Transcript

 My name is Brandon Billings. I live in Nashville, TN. I grew up in central Illinois, and I moved to Nashville to come to Belmont University, and I liked Nashville enough to stay. I work at my church, and I do operations for the most part. We have many different campuses, and I kind of help all of them around the city make things happen and make people feel loved, make Sunday happen. 

I had done short stints of counseling when I was engaged to my wife, and I think I also, at the time, didn’t know what I wanted or what I was looking for in a counselor or therapist. I had moved, I had just gotten married, and I had just started two new jobs, two part-time jobs. There was just a lot of change in my life in a really short period of time. Working in a church like that, I would kind of consider it very much a helping profession. So, you know, focusing on other people and pouring into people, I was having some stress and anxiety about dealing with that chaos, and I needed a space to kind of speak that and breathe. 

Lydia, my wife, I think one of the things she said that I remember was, “You know, that might be something to figure out, talk about with a therapist or counselor.” And I was like, “You know what? You are right. That is a great recommendation.” That kind of led me into reaching out to Insight. I was kind of asking some friends around different places they recommended. One of my friends, actually, he was interning at Insight at the time, and I was just asking him about if there was anyone he’d recommend there, you know, kind of details about it. He mentioned that they had an income-based scale at Insight. That was super helpful and really smooth and also helped me to be able to have that level of care without the financial stress. Sometimes that cost is high for people like me, and so I’m really grateful that that was an option. 

I was really interested in meeting with someone in person. That was something I really valued. I just called and was kind of like, “Here are the things I want to talk about. Here’s where I’d like to meet.” They paired me up with someone, and that was really great. It felt like a really big shift in my life.  

I started meeting with Emily. Some of the things that were really helpful to me about her were: she also had a kind of faith experience, and that was something that was really important to me and was very integrated into my life. So, to be able to speak openly about that, number one, but then also to have someone who kind of understands that perspective and kind of speaks back into that too, I think was really helpful. 

One of the things, especially about Emily, and this was me also learning more of what I needed in a counselor, was someone who would listen but would also challenge me to think about things differently or in ways that help me see a new perspective. I’m really good at verbally processing. I also really thrive on challenging questions, like continuing to think about or process that thing or think about it maybe in a new way to relate to, whether it’s a person or a situation in my life. 

Some of the changes I’ve seen in my life: I live in my head a lot of the time, and so to have someone kind of verbalize back to me and talk things out is so helpful. I think another thing that has been a really helpful change too is knowing that there’s something on the calendar, to be able to unpack that. To be like, “Oh, something really crazy at work or at home or in my family happened.” Like, okay, if anything, I know I have a designated space to think about and process that. That helps de-escalate a lot of things in my life for me and made the small things that I was making big actually feel smaller again. 

And so, I really found it valuable to give voice to myself and my own desires and my fears and my questions, and I really thought that counseling was a really great place to be able to do that. I think even if you’re not having really big mental health struggles, it’s so important and helpful to be able to have a space to talk about your life and what’s going on and give voice to what you’re afraid of, what you’re feeling, what you’re nervous about, and your dreams and desires. Having a space to process that is really helpful. 

Other advice I’d give is just to go for it because even just the act of asking for help, whether it’s in a big or a small way, I know has given me the ability to learn to ask for help more often. All of those transitions, like new jobs, new place to live, living together with my wife for the first time, there were so many big life transitions that I was going through. So to be able to have a person to process and talk to about all of the stress of that or all the joy of that, I think, was really, really impactful for me. 

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