Black, 30, And Finally In Therapy » VSB

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Black, 30, And Finally In Therapy

Do you remember those Cathy comic strips your mom used to have tacked to her cubicle wall or office board? The one’s her and her co-workers would share and cackle and point at while nodding their heads in agreement and uttering ‘Yup, so true’? You’d look at those comics as a little girl with a blank stare, confused as to why so many of your mom’s female co-workers related to this neurotic, cat owning, chubby white lady who spent the majority of the comic complaining about dieting,exercising, yogurt, work and dating.

Now I ask you, do you remember the day you realized you BECAME Cathy?

For me it was when I was around 30, I was on the phone in the grocery store with my friend discussing this new wellness challenge I saw on IG, where you cut out all refined sugars for 30 days, and there was some hashtag involved. I looked in my basket and saw one bottle of white wine, a container of sugar free Greek yogurt, and cat food. Somehow, I had morphed into the Millennial (am I a Millennial? I was born in 85’ idk) Colored Cathy. This wasn’t a moment of panic, but definitely a random moment of self realization. This was 30, and I was doing the things black women in their 30s do. Maybe its an American thing, but a large part of adulthood in our culture heralds “self-improvement.” We must always be striving to be fitter, richer, healthier, better educated, more skilled, glow-upier versions ourselves. This is especially true for women and hell, I was, I am no different. To be content with who you are in the present is seen as resigning oneself to mediocrity. It’s lethargic, and un-ambitious. Cardinal sins in our current “Rise and Grind”–everyone’s a personal brand-social media reach quantifying ass world.

Fast forward several months where I’m 31, and miraculously still had not managed to 30 Day Challenge myself into a better me. I had hit a wall. Well, a couple of walls and I hadn’t the faintest idea why. I couldn’t concentrate on this “great” new job I just got, I was more reclusive than usual and couldn’t even find enjoyment in the little pleasures I’d typically turn to during my more gloomy spells. Sure I’ve always struggled with self-discipline but that’s always a part of myself that I attributed to being ‘artsy’ kind of. However, the list of goals I wished to accomplish but never followed through on grew exponentially. My personal life was about as uneventful as a Chris Christie’s political future, my friendships were suffering, I was more irritable than usual and I was even becoming withdrawn with my son at home.

It wasn’t until I had a late night discussion with a close friend where he tearfully revealed he’d seen a therapist and had been diagnosed with depression, that I entertained perhaps seeking professional help for my mental well being. Of course I didn’t think that I was as sick as my friend, when he asked if his diagnosis surprised me I responded in typical “Of course I knew, nigga I’m glad you caught up” Danielle fashion. “Oh yeah, of course not, I had always said you would benefit from therapy, with what you’ve been through? Of course a diagnosis of depression makes sense. I’m proud of you for finally taking care of yourself”.

After hanging up the phone, my own words I used to reassure my panicked best friend echoed in my head. “With what you’ve been through..of course it makes sense. I’m proud of you for finally taking care of yourself.” My friend, like a lot of Black men who grew up in Chicago ,has experienced a lot of trauma, especially in his childhood, but damn so did I. I soon realized that I was guilty of the same mental health neglect I audaciously and frequently lectured him about when we’d discuss his failed relationships and stalled professional life. I had a lot of Black ass nerve, here I had pretty much spent the latter half of my life having gone through the mental trauma equivalent of several car accidents and not once thought to cart my ass to a physician to see if there was any internal bruising. So soon thereafter, I started researching therapists in my local area and booked my appointment.

My therapist is a Black woman in her early 60s. She looks young for her age, she has a short ceasar hair cut, and wears Uggs. She’s short and busty, and her face always looks as if she’s empathizing with you. Her office is very small and quiet. She has one of those faux waterfall things meant to provide calming serenity. It’s kind of annoying and looks really cheesy but I try to ignore it. Our first session, she told me that I was at the age where most women seek therapy. “You’re…31. Yeah this is where most women hit a wall, your jar is full and you can’t keep putting your head down and pushing forward, now you’re having problems functioning and have to compensate for years of self-neglect, this is normal, it’s what women in their 30’s do.” During our one hour session she asked me the questions I suppose all therapists ask, about my current life, my childhood, my love life, my past, and what I want for my future. I was pretty candid, and had no problems going into full detail about everything.

I casually rattled off the instances of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse I’d experienced from childhood into adulthood that I was sure was norm for women my age. My divorce, my son, the death of my father, my close, but dramatic and at times confrontational relationship with my mother, my job hopping (four in one year I think), my chronic insomnia, etc. And even when I casually looked up to her slightly raised brows while she scribbled notes on her notepad, I wasn’t sure how serious I was taking it, but it was cathartic to talk to someone unfamiliar with my story. It wasn’t until the end when she said she needed to tell me something that she usually waits some time to disclose to her patients that I knew what was at stake. “Danielle…you’re sick. I don’t think you realize how sick you are because this is the only way you’ve known how to function for the majority of your life..but honey…now you need meds and you need help, I hope you’ll let me help you.” This was actually unexpected, I was so sure she would have praised me for my perseverance, my resilience in having withstood what I had gone through while somehow still managing to become an arguably productive and functioning adult. It hadn’t dawned on me that maybe all this time, I really wasn’t “functioning” at as high a level I thought I was, that my “normal” was abnormal that my “fine” wasn’t fine. Maybe I had been giving myself entirely too much credit?

I left her office that day with a couple of diagnosis: Clinical depression, anxiety, PTSD, and some other acronym that I always forget. Ultimately she told me that before we could even hope to engage in successful therapy sessions,  I needed to discuss anti-depressant meds with my doctor. “You mean I’m so fucked up I need medication to be eligible for therapy?” I laughed. The laughter was not returned. Shit got real. I promised to contact my PCP right away to discuss my options and gingerly paid for my session. When I got home, I laid on my couch and catatonically stared at the ceiling till sunrise. I don’t even remember blinking. For the first time in my life, I was the one with the diagnosis. This wasn’t about my friend’s depression, my ex-husbands sickle cell, my mom’s heart condition, or my son’s autism. It was me. For the first time I was the patient that I needed to take care of. I was used to being the calm, analytical, reassuring caretaker, who helped my loved ones research therapies, and medication options. But now, I was the one who was sick, and for the first time in a long time; I didn’t have the answers, and I was scared.

Currently I’m still scared but I’m discussing med options with my physician. I’ve since had a few more sessions with my therapist  and I’m getting more and more comfortable with the idea of both needing and accepting help, and my needing therapy and help not being an admission of my own inadequacy. I like my therapist a lot, and my friends and family are supportive. I accidentally sent her a dirty text message meant for some dude once but she laughed it off-she cool as hell. I still do my little challenges, in fact I signed up for some 28 Day fitness jumpstart just the other day. Like a lot of black women in their 30s I’m also starting to find myself entertained by things like numerology and astrology. Especially ironic coming from me of all people a consummate cynic, but I get the appeal. People like being told who they are, it’s less legwork. To think there’s a universe out there as invested in my self actualization as I am is an attractive ideal. I’m scheduling myself a tarot card reading as we speak. I’m even looking into life coaches, because shit, why the hell not?

There’s a Sartre quote where he says: “As far as men go, it’s not who they are that interests me – but what they can become.” It speaks to the notion that the “self” is constant and ever changing and it’s something I think about when I fall into this possibly futile albeit earnest cycle of self improvement. Humans are tasked with the burdensome freedom of deciding who we are, and then embarking on the journey in becoming that actualized person. When I told my mom I had decided to start going to therapy, she cheered. She said it was long overdue, and exclaimed relief that I finally decided it was time. She had been in therapy over the past three years and found it helpful. My mom, like a lot of black women her age unfortunately, has experienced a lot of trauma, but she’s seeking help and scaling her own walls — and damn so am I. Maybe that’s enough.

Danielle Butler

Danielle Butler is a 30-ish yr old LA/Chicago hybrid whose mutant powers include shit talking, procrastinating, and relating any topic to food. Her favorite pastimes include watching Spongebob with her son, yelling at her cat, and lying about working on her book of short stories.

  • MsCee

    Danielle, you are my spirit animal. I’m 26 right now but this is my life is a nutshell. I sought therapy about a year ago when the trauma was seriously throwing me out of my own life. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

  • Hammster

    I sought therapy about a month ago and it has and continues to make me a better man. I’m all for it and I think it should be a requirement for everyone.

    BTW, I apologize in advance but yes, you are a millennial:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennials

    • Amber

      I agree. I think everyone should try a few sessions of therapy at several points in their lives. I’m in therapy and my therapists helps me to get ahold of some very practical things too not just emotions.

      • BmoreLikeLA

        yes! the practical tools that you gain are so invaluable and something I didn’t expect to gain.

      • everythingpink

        My family is always so confused why I need therapy. I have a great group of friends. I have “God”. I always explain to them that my therapist is like a friend who only wants to talk about me. Its amazing what you can learn about yourself just talkin about how you feel without having to worry about the other person

        • PhlyyPhree

          ” I always explain to them that my therapist is like a friend who only wants to talk about me. ”

          I think this is very important. I have GREAT friends who have helped me through so much in my life, but I struggle because I never want to be selfish and make it all about me when they have lives and issues as well.
          Having someone who is ONLY focused on me, even if I have to pay them? Wonderful.

        • Hammster

          That’s exactly how I feel when I go.

        • Leggy

          So well put.

    • Diego Duarte

      Nothing wrong with that last one.

      • Hammster

        As a millennial myself, I think the term is overused and I also think we could have used a little less coddling and a lot more real life applications of how life aint no crystal stair.

        • Diego Duarte

          As a millennial myself, I’ve taken the time to educate myself on all the blatant lies and misinformation is put out there by the media regarding our generation. No, we didn’t have it better than Generation X or Baby Boomers, in fact we’ve had it scores worse and we will continue to do so. No, millennials did not in fact mostly study useless liberal art degrees, that’s a right wing narrative. If you check the stats for the department of education there was an explosion in people going after business degrees. We also went for more STEM degrees than is usually portrayed.

          Finally, we work longer hours, have better education and are paid less than the previous two generations. No, I will not take that gaslighting about our generation sitting down. We weren’t coddled, and it certainly isn’t wrong to demand the same type of conditions our predecessors had. Fuck that right wing noise.

          • Hammster

            I have stem degree, am paid less, life is hard and I still stand by feeling a lot of us were coddled. And no, I’m not a right winger.

            • Diego Duarte

              Certainly not more than previous generations. Not when the vast majority can’t afford basic necessities. “Coddled” shouldn’t be something peddled as an exclusive quality to millennials.

              • Hammster

                I agree but nowhere in my statement did I use either of your assertions. I simply said we could have used a lot less coddling. Maybe I should have just excluded you. No hurt feelings intended because this aint that serious.

                • Diego Duarte

                  Sorry if I’m coming out a bit too aggressive. Millennial bashing, for lack of a better word, “triggers” me. I understand you’re not a right winger or anything of the sort but it feels as if your initial comment implicitly states that we were more coddled than previous generations (why else would you say that we could’ve used a lot less coddling?). It’s not just a “me” thing. Everywhere I look I see people my age working their azz off (yourself included, by your own admission), with impossible hours and no benefits.

                  And it truly is not secret that the Boomer dominated media has been throwing unsupported claim after unsupported claim to bash us. And admittedly nothing angers me more, to the point of homicidal fury, than getting bad rep from the very people that created this mess and pushed it onto us.

                  I understand that’s not what you were trying to say or imply now. I apologize for the tone.

                  • Hammster

                    No problem. Initially, when I informed the young lady who wrote this article that she is a millennial, it was said in jest. We could also take her statement of questioning her millennial status as to mean she’d rather not be associated with the generation (but who knows). Tone doesn’t always come off in the intended manner when it’s in writing.

                    I’m with you and I always come to the defense of my gen when people assert their negative ideologies on all of us. It’s hard for us and I’m definitely in the struggle with you, my man.

          • Madam CJ_Skywalker
          • Janelle Doe

            All of this DD
            (And)if “entitled”is going to be a word tossed around then a few generational mirrors need to be looked at/in

          • La Bandita

            Such great response. Baby Boomers got 1. no money down morgages. 2. Free education 3. Affordable Housing 4. 30yr job security w/liberal arts degress. Such hypocrites they are.

            • Diego Duarte

              Not to mention they could raise a family of 5 on ONE income and had accessible healthcare.

              • La Bandita

                And vacations. They invented the vacation.

                • Diego Duarte

                  No, the Greatest Generation invented vacations. Baby Boomers ENJOYED vacations, and then took them away as it was our turn to benefit from them.

  • PhlyyPhree

    Yay for you!
    I don’t know you but I’m proud of you because this ain’t easy and it’s not easy to share. I’m so glad that the taboo around black mental health is being lifted and we’re talking about it and realizing that it’s not “white people sh it” and we have to take care of our minds as well as our bodies. I think that everyone should be able to go through therapy even if they don’t feel they need it or don’t end up needing it. Having a chance to talk without being judged is cleansing and can’t hurt to experience from time to time.
    I wish I had continued therapy but when I moved, I figured that would solve the majority of my problems.
    It didn’t.
    I struggle now because I’ve moved away from my support network and I’m scared to go back to therapy because I can’t be seen as weak or fragile because someone else depends on me and I’m literally all we have right now.
    I might download one of those app things though.

    • MsCee

      “I think that everyone should be able to go through therapy even if they don’t feel they need it or don’t end up needing it.” Agreed

    • Amber

      I started just by trying my job’s EAP then real therapy sessions. I even tried going to by pastor by I don’t think that’s really a good route.
      I know this may sound cheesy but really sometimes the strongest thing a person can do is to be open and vulnerable to things that may slow your progress. You have to be healthy and well for others to be.

      • PhlyyPhree

        Yea, the first time I went to therapy was because my previous job offered an EAP that covered 12 sessions. As I mentioned up thread, I just need to make time now and find out if my current job has something similar or find a therapist on my own.

    • Lea Thrace

      ” I’m scared to go back to therapy because I can’t be seen as weak or fragile because someone else depends on me and I’m literally all we have right now. ”

      Who is going to have this view of you? Anyone who has this view is going to be someone you dont need around you. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. If anything it is a sign of strength and courage.

      Real talk. Someone mouths off about you going to therapy? Send them my way. I have a mouth for talking and some hands for smacking sense into people.

      • PhlyyPhree

        Well, I’ve recently become more open about my struggles. The issue is of course being a black person and being open with those issues.
        I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder the first time I went through therapy and I mistakenly thought it was “all better” now. The biggest person who has a problem with it is my mother because she’s an old school Southern belle who believes that I can just “pray it all away”. She doesn’t say that maliciously, but it’s all she’s known and it’s very important to me to present a “good image” to her so it’s difficult for me to navigate what I have to do with what she thinks I should be doing.

        • Lea Thrace

          do you have to talk to her about it? like is it absolutely necessary? Cause if it isnt (maybe because of childcare arrangements or whatnot), dont talk to her about it. Leave her in the dark. Give yourself that gift.

          • PhlyyPhree

            Whooooboy. I would LOVE to leave her in the dark.
            Actually, that’s a lie. I would love for her to go with me AND go individually, but small battles.
            The only reason she knows is because I told my dad and he mentioned it to her. ( I didn’t know they even talked to each other, let alone talked about me, but meh)
            She now asks because at one point I was on medication and “she feels it’s her right to know because what if something happened to me and she needed to tell a doctor or come get my child, blah blah blah”. It’s an excuse for nosiness, but because she is literally the only lifeline for my child, I indulge it, to what seems to be my detriment.

            • Lea Thrace

              yeah. i get it. but no. She doesnt need to know. When she asks in the future tell her that she has nothing to worry about with her grandchild and keep it at that. Dont indulge HER nosiness and your expense. And tell your dad that anything you share with him in the future is not meant for public consumption. (unless they are married. in which case, keep him in the dark too).

        • everythingpink

          My family thinks the same thing. They don’t get why I need to talk to a stranger about my problems. Why can’t I just pray and ask god to make me better?

          Its frustrating but the best thing I have done for myself was do whats best for me. They still joke about how I go and call me “crazy”. I know its easier said than done, but please don’t let your family discourage you. Going to therapy has literally been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

          • LilMissSideEye

            “Why can’t I just pray and ask god to make me better?”

            If you need to bring God into it to make folks understand: a) The Lord helps those who help themselves (therapy being you helping yourself) and b) sometimes the answer to a prayer isn’t a miracle, but rather tool. Therapy is that tool — why not use it?

            • Lea Thrace

              This!

              Also tell people that you asked God for healing and God sent you to the therapist. That should shut em up quick and fast. (My “uncle” who is also an ordained minister and regular utilizer of therapy and medication tells his parishioner this all the time and it works.)

            • PhlyyPhree

              ” b) sometimes the answer to a prayer isn’t a miracle, but rather tool. Therapy is that tool — why not use it?”

              I love this. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to articulate it that way, but this is it exactly. I think most people still think that when they pray God will part a sea and burn a bush and heal them and it doesn’t work that way in the 21st century.

              • Kylroy

                Ever hear the story about a man refusing to evacuate for a flood because “God will save me?”

                • PhlyyPhree

                  Yup. Got to the gates and God told him he’d sent 3 whole boats. Wonder if he got refused entry for uncommon stupidity

                  • Kylroy

                    Heard that one straight from the pulpit growing up. Sometimes there are benefits to a Catholic upbringing.

          • PhlyyPhree

            Man.
            I snapped and told someone if I could pray it away, did they really think I would have pulled a Solange and tried to drink or fuck it away?
            Needless to say, that convo didn’t last long. Lol.

        • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

          I hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way, but how do you think you will ever reach a sense of balance if you are more concerned about your mother’s opinion than your own mental well being?

          • PhlyyPhree

            I don’t know.
            I know that I need to focus on my well being and I’m taking the steps to do so. Moving has created physical distance between us that has helped tremendously.
            The thing that stops me a lot of times is, that’s my MOM. That’s the only mom I’ll ever have and now that she’s aging, our roles are switching so that adds a different aspect to how we interact and how concerned I am with her well being also.
            In short, to repeat myself, I just don’t know.

            • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

              I get it. It took me a good 15 years to work through crap with my father.

    • Hammster

      Start with an app and then you’ll probably eventually graduate back into one on one in person sessions.

    • Me

      Before I committed to therapy this year, I had starting journaling in the form of writing e-mail letters to myself. The more I saw my thoughts from day to day and how those thoughts made me feel, the more it became apparent that I needed help. What was especially eye-opening was how many unresolved issues I had floating in my head from various parts of my life. It’s like thinking you have a weight problem and finding out you also have a cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar, and IBS problem. Things/illnesses compound if you don’t address them.

      • PhlyyPhree

        I journal and write all the time and I looked back through one recently.
        Nothing like seeing all of that plain and on paper to make me realize that I wasn’t moving forward or solving any of the problems I thought I had.

    • Diego Duarte

      I would recommend seeking another therapist. Ever seen those horror movies, such as “The Conjuring” where the family finds out it’s not the house that’s haunted but rather the person? That’s what mental trauma is. A change of scenery can improve the situation, but you’re still carrying all that damage and, over the years, it gets more difficult to handle on your own (it accumulates). I would advise you to seek therapy but I’m sure you already know you need it.

      • PhlyyPhree

        Oh definitely. I thought that changing the situation would fix everything, but you’re right, I carried a lot with me. I just have to…make the time. Sigh.

        • Diego Duarte

          That’s the hardest part for our generation. Working longer hours than the previous ones, with hardly any moment to spare. The necessity of making ends meet makes therapy seem like a luxury.

    • Detroit Skater

      I only went to one session and realize I was not ready to be totally open, but this right here was key >> “Having a chance to talk without being judged…”

    • LMNOP

      “someone else depends on me and I’m literally all we have right now.”

      This is all the more reason to be sure you’re taking care of yourself. I can understand and relate though.

  • Brina Payne

    Mental health is wealth.

    Congratulations for moving forward in self-care because our community needs this more than anything. I also feel that the more we take care of our minds, the better we will be in all areas of life, particularly the financial area.

    Wishing you success and good mental health – (c) Dr. Frasier Crane

    • Valerie

      Side note: I’m currently binge watching Frasier.

      • Leggy

        Me too!

      • Brina Payne

        Me.Too!

        Him + Niles

  • DCFem

    Peace to you. Take care of yourself and please don’t think of anti-depressants as “drugs”. They are there to help you start the journey and to make getting through your days easier. You may not need them for the rest of your life but for right now please find one that works for you.

    I am one of those folks who walked around feeling some kind of way and saying I was “too busy” to do anything about it. Until my mother died suddenly. Having your world blown up will put you in a psychiatrists office faster than you can blink. I urge people to not be like me. Get the help you need when you first realize that no, you can’t do it all. Don’t wait untiil you can’t even crawl out of bed before getting help like I did.

    And slightly off topic, please call your congress person about Trumpcare. Mental health care is covered by Medicaid and we cannot abandon our poorest, most vulnerable brothers and sisters who depend on Medicaid.

  • Michelle

    This is so real! I’m currently seeking therapy. It’s funny because I get my therapist to come speak with the girls in my program about her services. I remember telling her for about a year that I would call her but I just kept brushing it off. I went for a physical and filled out one of those wellness forms and the joint told me that I was depressed, stressed out, and whatever else you can think of…which deep down I already knew. It took for me to actually see it on paper and for the doctor to verbalize that to me to finally make that call. My therapist jokes with me about that all the time lol. But I love it and it’s the best decision that I’ve ever made. Kudos to you for your decision to also seek therapy as well. I hope that it continues to help you. Good luck!

  • Thanks for this!

    I haven’t ever considered therapy. I use my friends as my “release” and vice versa. I’m glad your getting the help you need.

    Does insurance cover the bulk of this cost?

    • My insurance through my job copay is $20 and I think a 100 visits are included per year. Awesome and worth it.

    • My copay was like $35. Worth it.

      • Interesting. Ok I’m going to do some research.

        • Worth the money. Most providers will give you a list of who accepts your insurance in your area.

    • PhlyyPhree

      When I took therapy the first time, my employer covered the costs for 12 sessions entirely through their EAP program. After that, I paid a copay, but I would suggest looking to see if your employer/insurance has something similar. I found out about our program on a fluke and it was the best 6 months ever.

    • charisma_supreme

      Also, depending on your profession, your EAP might allow a few free sessions!

    • miss t-lee

      It depends on your insurance really.
      Also if the cost is too high look for someone who does work on a sliding scale.
      There are also centers you can visit where students are working on their certification hours, and you can get reduced rates there as well.

    • everythingpink

      I pay a $35 co-pay per session.

  • Mary Burrell

    I listen quite a couple of podcast especially Another Round and The Read and both of those podcasts are always advertising something called Talk Space it’s an online therapist that they say you can talk to anytime about anything. In these stressful and uncertain times self care is important. Technology is making so many things accessible, never thought you could see the day when you could have your therapist at your fingertip.

    • BmoreLikeLA

      have any VSB or VSS used Talkspace yet? I’d like to hear some real life reviews

      • Mary Burrell

        I remember Heben Negetu and Tracy Clayton on Another Round talk about their mental health issues of depression and anxiety. And Kid Fury on The Read talks about his issues. I don’t know if they use Talk Space I think it’s a sponsor for many of the podcasts.

  • “I casually rattled off the instances of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse I’d experienced from childhood into adulthood that I was sure was norm for women my age…I was so sure she would have praised me for my perseverance, my resilience in having withstood what I had gone through while somehow still managing to become an arguably productive and functioning adult.”

    Man this hit me all over again. First, thank you for sharing and thank you for taking care of you. I went through therapy after my divorce. At first, it was only because it was recommended on a “domestic violence” checklist given to my after the incident with my ex-husband.

    Only through therapy did I learn the way I was “functioning” and “coping” wasn’t something making me stronger. It was allowing me to allow things in my life I never would.

    After a recent episode of Blackish, I decided to get back into therapy as maintenance. If I take care of my body everyday (gym and nutrition) then why not my mental health.

    • charisma_supreme

      If u feel like sharing, what is a DV checklist? Was this something given to you by someone in law enforcement? I’m not on that side of things (im on the intervention side), and my assumption about law enforcement is that they don’t intervene much, just enforce.

      • The day after my incident, a counselor from my counter contact me to let me know she was my “victim advocate.” She came by my home with a bunch of pamphlets and a yellow (not sure it’s the standard color) checklist. I don’t remember all of the things, but it was broken into separate sections including safety (change locks, go to a shelter, etc), financial assistance, and some other things. Connecting with a counselor was on there. I decided to find a professional black therapist rather than go through the few in-office options they shared.

        • charisma_supreme

          What a great comprehensive education and referral program.

  • Me

    I started therapy (again) this year. Last time I saw a therapist was college (nearly 15 years ago), and it used to be on an as needed basis. These past couple years, despite several triumphs on paper, I’ve had less and less satisfaction with the direction and outlook of my life. Couple that with a very tumultuous relationship, unresolved parental issues, and patterns of avoiding my friends creeping back up, and I finally decided to bite the bullet. It’s slow going (to be expected), but what really startled me was how many people in my life who are aware that I’ve been different, yet still gave me the “therapy, though?” look and convo. Also, they refuse to call my doctor “Dr.”, which they don’t realize further delegitimizes my condition — not just his profession. It’s hard to be in a position of needing help, and knowing that the folks around you aren’t able to give it to you, but also be told that seeking professional help is somehow a problem. Luckily, that isn’t one of my deep seated issues, so as much as it stings to know some folks in my life don’t/won’t get it, I know this is better for me than spinning my wheels. I’m also hoping that my journey ends up encouraging some folks in my family to give it a shot one day as well. Right now, they just think “well she’s doing it b/c she must’ve been this close to snapping, but I ain’t crazy like her, so what do I need with therapy…”

    • grownandsexy2

      If the friends you are speaking of are black, their responses aren’t a surprise. There is still this stigma attached to seeking professional mental health among far too many POC. We may go to the doctor to seek physical help, but mental help is frowned upon. We buy into the “strong black woman” mantra while quietly dying inside.

      • Me

        Yea. These are my black friends. I knew the stigma existed, but for some reason, I thought that if they saw someone as close as me in their lives and who looks like them pursuing therapy, they’d be more open to the idea that it’s a good thing. Some of them do at least go as far as asking me how it’s going with genuine care now. Others, we just don’t bring it up, and it does make me feel a little weird about our relationship because of that. I try not to condemn them for it, but it’s hard to stay chummy when it feels like someone’s personal views have the potential to sabotage your well-being.

      • Diego Duarte

        This. The illusion of mental health is worth absolutely nothing in comparison to real mental health. Doing away with the stigma attached to the mentally un-well and overcoming that need to be perceived as tough is the biggest hurdle for some.

      • Wild Cougar

        It’s not a “Black” stigma. It’s a certain type of person stigma. I grew up in a Black community where there was no stigma. Stop the anti Black rhetoric. If the people YOU know are against therapy, that doesn’t make it a “Black” thing.

      • cdj

        Agreed. My friend is going through some stuff now, and is finally open to seeing someone, but she’s scared to open up. I am the same way, so I get it, but I gently encourage her to find a therapist. Also, I think part of the problem is that some of us are conditioned not to “tell your business” to strangers.

    • miss t-lee

      What I’ve learned about sharing sensitive things such as these, are only tell people you know who truly have your back. They’ll understand and be happy for your taking care of yourself. I can count on one hand how many folks in my own family even know. If you ain’t gonna be in my corner, there’s no reason for you to know. You don’t need that negativity when you’re going through sh*t. You need folks who will encourage and uplift.

      • Valerie

        “Tell people you know who truly have your back”
        Agreed, this was a lesson I had to learn as well.

      • Me

        That’s what was surprising to me. I mainly only told two girl friends who I thought would be in my corner from jump. One was lukewarm (she’s the one I don’t bring it up with anymore), and the other was against it (she’s the one who’s trying to be supportive now).

        • miss t-lee

          I’m sorry. *hugs*

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