It’s not often that we have the privilege of sharing stories from individuals who have received counseling services through AGAPE. We take very seriously our clients’ confidentiality as they place a great deal of trust in AGAPE when they open up to share their story. We are thankful for Daniel Tomlinson, a former AGAPE client, and his desire to share some of his story and his counseling experience. You can read our Q&A with Daniel below:
What was your counseling experience like at AGAPE?
Someone at my church recommended AGAPE for counseling. I’ve had counselors before, but my experience with AGAPE delved deep into my anger management issues, which often inflamed the clinical depression I battle. During my sessions, we went as far back as the third grade where I remember the depression “starting.” After I started taking medication and using a CPAP machine to improve my sleep, there was a marked difference in who I am now versus who I was before.
How did counseling impact your life?
I have no doubt that counseling saved my marriage. It woke me up to the importance of being mentally healthy in a parenting role, and it made me a more productive member of society, instead of taking my anger out on complete strangers.
Was your faith involved in your counseling experience? If so, how was your faith impacted?
My faith was and is central to the things I will probably struggle with for the rest of my life. Mental illness doesn’t mean you don’t pray, you don’t go to church, or you don’t trust God enough, as some have said. I am reminded that Paul had a thorn in the flesh, and he asked the Father to take it away, but He didn’t. In so many ways, our crosses make us stronger.
What was the biggest takeaway from your counseling experience?
My biggest takeaway is that AGAPE is as committed to their counseling clients as they are to orphans. They see people at their worst, but they grind day-in and day-out to set children and adults free from chains that paralyze us.
How would you describe counseling to others?
Counseling is a statement of strength. No one can make sense of the evil we face by ourselves. Clinical counseling, such as that which AGAPE provides across Middle Tennessee, is vital for even the “strongest” among us. Counseling is different for each person, but I believe you get out of it what you put into it. And if you don’t connect with your first counselor, find one you can connect with. AGAPE will stay the course as long as you do.
Would you recommend that others consider counseling? How can someone determine if or when they should
see a counselor?
Life happens to every single one of us, and I would argue that even before a crisis starts, you should secure counseling services similar to how we buy insurance. It’s really that important. I think the Spirit will ultimately reveal to you when you need to become vulnerable and to whom, and for me that happened at AGAPE. I’ve never once regretted crossing their threshold.
What do you think is the biggest misconception around counseling?
I believe the biggest misconception in receiving counseling is that you have little or no faith in Jesus Christ. That could not be further from the truth. When Jesus sat with the woman at the well, He didn’t talk down to her; He gave her water from which she would never thirst again. God is still doing that every day through AGAPE.
Daniel is self-employed with CleanHouses.biz, a boutique residential cleaning service in Davidson County. He and his wife, Carey, have a 16-year-old daughter who is the apple of their eye, and they have called Donelson home for the past 14 years. Daniel also writes a blog about depression and a variety of other topics at beyondsad.com. For more information about AGAPE’s counseling services, please call 615-781-3000 or click here.