Let's Cut The Shit - Go to Therapy

Some of the common reasons individuals seek therapy/counseling services are the following:

Depression

Relationship Issues

Isolation

Life Transition Challenges

LACK OF Motivation

Academic challenges

Trauma

&

LOW Self-Esteem

You can find many more reasons/causes on the Good Therapy Website .

 

Let me just say that Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It Netflix series was probably the most recent show that has influenced me to think about therapy. For a long time I thought that in order to seek therapy you needed at least a pinch of bravery instilled in you. Not to mention the lack of visual representation of Black people taking care of their mental health. Finally, TV had portrayed a Black woman who sought out therapy. I was inspired by Nola Darling because for her it was just a normal thing that Black girls did for themselves. It reassured me that therapy is an ordinary part of women’s emotional lives, and worth exploring onscreen. 

Over the course of the story, Nola goes through a series of events and a journey of self-acceptance and love. At a point she falls victim to assault. This traumatic event really is the center of Nola’s journey and forces her to examine some hard truths about herself in order to find healing and be able to flourish into the woman she wants to become.

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For me, it was trauma. I experienced something deep and never took the time to deal with it. I have an impressive habit of letting things be a “thing of the past”. I never wanted to open up about things that affected me daily. I lacked the understanding of self care -- which at times negatively affected the way acted towards myself and loved ones. So after many years of sweeping things under the rug, I took it upon myself to seek counseling and bring my issues up to the surface.

Being a Haitian-American woman, therapy isn't a resource we talk about to aid in self-care. The Haitian expectation that our mental health should be in tact is so high, that if you reflect any abnormalities of behavior or speech at all, they’d label you with the stereotype/stigma that you have been possessed with some sort of voodoo.

Growing up in my household (I'm sure like many others) when we were disciplined for misbehaving, my mom expected us not to express one look or sound of discomfort or pain. You were just supposed to suck it up. So can you imagine the psychological effect that can have on someone. On top of that, I grew up not having the opportunity to express myself when I didn't agree, or was uneasy with something an adult said. This lack of expression as an adolescent has in turn crippled me as an adult emotionally. But I didn't notice it until late into my adult life.

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Although my traumatic experience took place as an adolescent, now being an aware (woke if you will) adult, I’ve seen how necessary it is to take the steps to search for a counselor in the present. I did my research and came across PsychologyToday.com, a website which lists the profiles of licensed therapy professionals. I then made my choice of professional candidates based off of these personal criteria:

Location

Flexibility  

Insurance

Specialties

&

Race

(I wanted someone who could relate to my home & social struggles).

After scrolling through a few pages and only finding 1 (or none) Black therapists per page, I came across a profile that resonated with me and I made the call. I didn't know how the process worked, so I didn't know how to start the conversation -- it wasn't like ordering your favorite box of pizza. This therapist must've known shit was awkward for me because there was this vulnerability I immediately expressed over the phone, and I was comforted very quickly. We scheduled an appointment for the following week. My stomach was in knots as I entered the appointment into my phone calendar.

When the day finally arrived, it felt like I was going to throw up. I couldn’t believe I was finally going to seek some clarity and practice opening up. The first question I was asked (with a smile) was, “What brought you here today?”. I was initially under the impression this therapist was going to think I was crazy as I started talking about everything that could've led me to the very seat I was sitting in.

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After talking and mapping out a brief but detailed synopsis of my life (using both words and hand gestures) I immediately felt this huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I honestly feel like having that one positive experience with the therapist has allowed me to want to seek this sense of clarity for years to come. I was so excited that I did something for myself. I was impressed (despite my initial feelings) and knew I was going to enjoy this new experience. I didn't care that a stranger now knew about my life. I was more wrapped up in the idea that this stranger was going to help me see things in my life through a clearer lens.

For me this experience was important because it showed me just how much I value myself, my time, and my own efforts. There's no sane way to pour all my time and effort into others while my glass of value is half full. I am not ashamed to have sought counseling because at this point I really enjoy the chance to talk about things. All things. Anything. I enjoy being able to decompress and learn how unique I actually am.

I had to realize that this experience was just as important for my mind, as going to the gym is for my body. And it is now part of my “personal self-care methods”. Many people seek counseling because they have identified specific goals or issues in life they wish to work on. My goal now is to not allow my trauma to affect the rest of my life. Although it will always be a memory I cannot shake, it will no longer be an experience I carry with me walking through all of life's blessings.

If you can do anything for yourself today, I would highly suggest seeking some sort of counseling services. Not only will you be relieved to get some serious personal emotions off of your chest, you’ll find yourself grateful for a brand new, non-bias outlook on a chance at a better you! 

 

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Dope With Purpose...

Manoucheca Lord

 

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