Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Turning Point - How September 11, 2001 Changed My Life

I was already feeling depressed. I'd been going downhill for a little while now, but I wasn't really aware of what was going on with me. Then, it happened.

September 11, 2001 is a day that will go down in history for all Americans. Mostly, we remember how we united as Americans and the signs of love and compassion in New York City where the twin towers fell. For me, it was a personal turning point.

I had a little bit of difficulty getting moving on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was after 8:30 am. My class was at 10 am and I wasn't even out of bed yet. The phone rang. It was my roommate's sister. She told me to turn on the TV. She was a jokester, so I wondered what silliness she was up to today. When I turned on the television, my annoyance at being roused from my sleep was quickly replaced by shock.
"What happened," I asked her.
"Someone crashed planes into the World Trade Center. They crashed one into the Pentagon too."
I watched the news for a few minutes and then I got ready for my class which was, interestingly enough, Introduction to Islam.
We spent the class speaking about what led up to these events. We talked about the Taliban's rise to power. The professor stressed that these actions were not indicative of Islam itself. Some of the Muslims in the class spoke about how they were feeling. It was an enlightening experience.

The next week was difficult for me. There was an overarching sense of insecurity, sadness, and depression throughout the university campus. For reasons I didn't really understand, I seemed to experience these feelings even more deeply than the others around me. Within a couple of weeks, others had moved on with their daily lives. I had moved on as well, but this sense of sadness wasn't leaving. I didn't know why. For a while, I thought I was getting sick. I went to the doctor. They said nothing was wrong with me. Then, one day in March, my professor for one of my classes said the words that broke open that shell.
"You just seem really depressed."
I cried.
Then I sought counseling.

It was a turning point for me. I still don't know if I would have started to feel depressed if the events of September 11, 2001 hadn't occurred. I still don't know if I was already depressed before these events took place. I was depressed, yes. I needed help, counseling, and medication to get over that. But when I was off the medication, when I was no longer depressed, when I opened myself up and really explored those emotions, I discovered something about myself. That something is what has led me on my current career path. That turning point 13 years ago has led me to pursue my Master's Degree in Clinical Counseling. September 11, 2001 changed the lives of so many people in so many ways. This is how it changed mine.