Specifically the black community looks down upon the need for a therapist. We call them shrinks, people that truly do not care and want our money or people that just simply cannot understand what you’ve been through to be able to guide you and help you have a better understanding of whatever it is that your are facing in life and thats just not true!
Growing up we are never taught the need for a therapist and how much a counselor can make a positive impact on your growth in life. When I was a child I didn’t understand the need of having a therapist and wondered why people went to them. At times my mom would go with my twin sister and I would sometimes sit in only because I was under age and my mom wanted me to be under her supervision. The therapist would ask my mom how she felt about certain things that happened in life and at a young age I still could not comprehend why she told them our business.
Now in my late 20’s I have been through many of things from being cheated on, lied to, used for money, pressured into having an abortion, 4 years of an emotional, physical, and very violent relationship and SO much more! The thing is everyone has baggage they are dealing with and everyone has their flaws; we are human. It’s during emotional turmoil when we need help to make life feel balanced again.
My story: HERES HOW ITS HELPED ME!
After 4 years of dealing with a traumatic experience in my life I finally listened to my older sister and close friends and decided to see a therapist. Prior to the situation I was in denial. I thought I could handle life on my own; meaning one day I would get back to who I once was by myself! This wasn’t the case. I had constant nightmares, night sweats, terrified of noises in the middle of the night, afraid my ex would kick in the door again, find me and repeatedly scream and hit me again. I began to sink into a depression and I didn’t even know it.
I began drinking full bottles of wine while soaking in the tub with the lights off and candles lit for hours and I do mean HOURS! (4-6 hours to be more precise). I never opened my curtains during the day time and I would sleep only when the sun was out. At night I had night lights set throughout the entire apartment and I made sure to lock my bedroom door and the door that connected to my bathroom and the main entrance to the kitchen. I was terrified to go to my car and to work literally looking around like a person that was terrified of being accused of theft and didn’t want to get caught. I barely ate food and would spend hours (2-3hrs per day) at the gym. After being accused of being fat repeatedly I was obsessed with becoming much smaller than I was before. As if this wasn’t enough sh*t on my plate I had serious family problems that pushed me even more into a depression.
After that horrific relationship I figured I could put my life back together and it kept falling apart. Nothing was easy! I felt like a born again person that was learning how to walk again. I was truly free so I couldn’t decide what food to eat anymore, what clothes to wear, or even how I wanted my hair done. I became down and lowered myself into a further depression.
One day, I sat home and was watching tv “fear thy neighbor” to be exact, and out of nowhere I began to cry my eyes out. I hated life, I hated the fact that I was not where I wanted to be in life. I was not married, have no kids, and not as high up I would’ve like to have been in my career as I had planned. The crazy thing is outsiders compliment my accomplishments and I could never see them! My breaking point was crying randomly while watching tv. It’s something I would NEVER do! I rarely cry and for some odd reason I couldn’t contain my cry’s any longer. I felt alone!
Because of the emotional feeling and randomly crying I chose to give in and see a therapist. Believe it or not it was the best decision I have ever made. Day 1 I took a test to see what kind of traumatic experience I had and the severity level. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with PTSD and severe depression from the trauma of the abusive relationship. I have to continue to work on visiting my happy place, which are things that keep me happy, with the ability of being able to feel save and grounded. Then I would be able to protect myself mentally and physically.
I’ve since then learned the therapist I had was religious based and I was practicing EMDR training weekly. EMDR is relieving a traumatic experience over again and again until you are able to cope and respond differently to those traumatic events. By doing so when a similar experience happens in the future that reminds you of fight or flight you know how to positively dissect the situation and remove yourself. This was ok for the time being until I discovered I was still sad and not actually dealing with all of my issues!
It wasn’t until I was recommended to another therapist that coached differently that I learned I needed to change; which is ok. You have to find the right therapist for you! This therapist was able to give me the tools I needed in one session to change the narrative of my future and how I viewed life. Til this day I am forever grateful for being introduced to him through my current boyfriend as my growth continues daily.
If you are struggling in life with depression or even just a thought of feeling alone it is ok to see a therapist! You will go through a phase where a therapist may not benefit you and that is ok too! Do not give up and keep pushing! Find a therapist according to your race as I feel they have more than likely either experienced similar situations or completely understand how you feel and can cater to your growth and can give you better tools to navigate through your issues.
I’ll give you an example! I am and African American and my first therapist was a Caucasian female; she was religious based, so sweet and amazing! Her style of counseling did not benefit me for continued growth as she could not speak on the environment of my upbringing as well as the circumstances in which I had to endure being black growing up in Washington DC then being culturally shocked when uprooted to live in Oklahoma at the age of 13. Instead I received sympathy and prayer. Although I can always use prayer I needed closure to that situation to stop blaming my Mom for such a decision.
Keep shopping for the BEST therapist for you!