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.

  • Mary Burrell

    If you get a therapist especially if you are suffering from some type of trauma and stress bought on by the system of white supremacy it would be good to have a black therapist, I am speaking from hindsight because this was my experience. A white therapists will not have empathy or understand what a black person is going through.

    • I go out of my way to find Black healthcare providers. There is something inherently comforting to know the person who is taking care of my health (mental or physical) can relate and connect. I drive far for my PCP, OB/GYN, dentist are all 20+ miles away (which says a lot about my neighborhood).

    • grownandsexy2

      I haven’t felt the need for therapy as yet, but all my healthcare providers are black.

      • Mary Burrell

        The stuff I was experiencing was very stressful for me and I had nobody to talk to. At the time and this was long ago when I found this counseling center through an advertisement and it was on a sliding scale how you paid. I guess since I was very young and didn’t have a lot of money I got what I paid for so it was only for a few hours and I got crappy service so that’s that. Now that I have insurance from my employer I would definitely seek out a black therapist. I am hoping I would have a better outcome than previously at that stage of my life.

    • Val

      I totally agree, Mary.

      • Mary Burrell

        In this age of Trump and a system of white supremacy we need to preserve our physical and mental and spiritual health.

    • Michelle

      I agree. My therapist is a black woman. I made sure to choose one who could relate to my issues so that I could receive the best service. We need people who just get it.

      • Mary Burrell

        I concur

    • everythingpink

      Yes I didn’t understand the importance of having a black therapist until I got a black therapist. I mentioned this in my comment below, but my first therapist who I had for 3 years was a jewish woman. She was great and helped me navigate through a lot of phases of my life. I didn’t feel she was dismissive of my feelings regarding race and other issues, but I felt like I she was gaining more from our sessions regarding race than I was. Really she should have paid ME lol. I was opening her eyes to things I experience on a daily basis. With my black therapist who I have seen for the past 2 years, I just don’t have to explain myself. She knows. I can just say “white people” and thats all that needs to be said.

      • Mary Burrell

        That’s great as I look back in hindsight I know what to look for now as opposed to back then.

      • Mary Burrell

        It’s funny white people have no clue what black people go through on a daily basis just trying to live our lives and wanting justice when we are wronged by a system that denies us those things and just the simple pursuit of happiness.

    • That’s what I’m most adamant about in my search- someone who can relate without minimizing the impact of what I share.

      • Mary Burrell

        Exactly when we as black people are telling our experiences to a white counselor or therapist they have a look on their face that registers “Oh I had no idea/clue because this system in society allows them privilege and entitlement. That’s why I say I choose a black therapist or physician.

    • Siante?

      I want to upvote this a million times. This is soooooooo true. I personally needed my therapist to be a black, that’s when the breakthrough occurred for me. None of the white women I saw previously could relate to me at all or maybe I couldn’t relate to them? I dunno, I’m just grateful to have found the therapist I did.

      • Mary Burrell

        I am glad you found someone to help you.

    • Janelly

      Upvoting this. I used my EAP to see a therapist and ended up with a 60 y/o whyte woman. Rather than addressing my issues she lectured me on why I should be collecting child support from my child’s father. Mind you this had nothing to do with the reason I was there which was related to the stress I was dealing with at work. My goal now is to find someone more relatable.

      • Mary Burrell

        It’s very important to have someone who understands and can empathize.

  • BmoreLikeLA

    I was in therapy a few years ago, and it was the best thing I could have ever done. I learned so much about myself and gained such valuable tools. Tools that I’m still using. For example, last night I broke tf down in front of my boyfriend, crying about like…everything lol. It was a needed cry. But at the end, I apologized and blamed it on hormones. This morning, I thanked him for helping me and listening, but I also had to set the record straight that no, I wasn’t crying bc of my cycle… I was crying bc life is hard and skressful and crying helps. Therapy taught me that I don’t allow myself enough room to be vulnerable and weak, even when I’m in a safe place, with safe people who love me. That I need to own my emotions and fears, and that I’m not a burden to people when I ask for help. Even though I didn’t NEED to clarify my crying, I felt so much better by owning up to it and that’s something I would never have done before therapy. I’m looking for my financial situation to change, bc I’d like to get back in therapy before the end of the year. I never realize how tired I am until I catalog the changes.

    Congrats to you, I’m glad you’re giving yourself the attention and self-care that you need.

    • MsCee

      “I wasn’t crying bc of my cycle… I was crying bc life is hard and skressful and crying helps.” Omg sis this was so me last night. Minus having a great bf to comfort me. I’m always blaming my emotions of my cycle but fuckthat…I be sad and ish. Cycle or not.

      • BmoreLikeLA

        “I be sad and ish” is the truest thing ever. We gotta acknowledge that our emotions are legitimate and okay. And a good cry is always helpful. It gives me a headache after, but the nap that follows is always amazing lol

  • Thriller

    Excellent article. I hope you can make progress without meds.

    • PhlyyPhree

      May I ask why?
      I’m just curious as to why the aversion we still show to medication that can help with mental/pyschological issues?
      I know personally that I have some hormonal and chemical imbalances that talking alone wont help me work through. If I can get a prescription again, I will run, not walk to fill it.

      • miss t-lee

        I was curious too. Hey…if you need the meds–take the meds.

        • PhlyyPhree

          Exactly. I think there’s still some stigma around taking medication because it confirms “crazy”. Im not one for taking gratuitous meds (I rarely take anything unless there is a definite need or sickness) but as medical technology has advanced, why suffer if there is something that can ease your journey?

          • miss t-lee

            Exactly. It’s like telling someone with a heart condition not to take their medicine. It’s bad advice.

            • JBusy

              While I believe physical illness is just as serious as mental health illness, the process of prescribing and managing mental health medication is far more complicated. Scientists know a lot more about the heart than they do the brain.

              • Kylroy

                The most damning example I can think of the state of modern mental health is that “depression” is a diagnosis. That’s like an M.D. diagnosing you with “sneezing”. (Not that I think we currently have a much better option available, mind.)

              • miss t-lee

                We can agree to disagree.
                However, I think it’s dangerous to tell anyone with any condition, mental or physical not to take medications when the good outweighs the risks with both.

                • JBusy

                  I wasn’t intending to send the message that medication should be done away with. I rail against psychiatric drugs so hard because they have increasingly been used as a replacement for talk therapy, instead of a complement.

                  • miss t-lee

                    I got you. I also agree, they definitely need to be a compliment, and not a replacement.

          • JBusy

            I wouldn’t say there’s a stigma – there are real and significant problems with medication used for mental health issues.

            • PhlyyPhree

              I can understand that, but there are real and significant problems to be found with a LOT of medication period. Birth control has some of theeeee worst side effects for users, but we don’t tell them to stop taking it wholesale. We advise them to try and find something different to help. I’m just curious why that wouldn’t apply to mental health?

              • JBusy

                As an industry, mental health is f*cked up. It’s really difficult to provide a brief summary for all the reasons that come mind. I have a lengthy post brewing, but I’ll refrain from posting it, because I don’t have the time to do it justice and avoid obsessive rambling. Instead, I’ll just list some issues below:

                1. The issue of over and misdiagnoses. Do a high percentage of Black and Latino kids really have ADHD or do most of the clinicians, who just so happen to be white, possess little cultural competence? Overall, there is an issue of clinicians who misdiagnose due to misunderstanding the cultural experience of others and clinicians who over or misdiagnose because they inappropriately lean on medication as a primary source of healing for mental health issues. Consider reading up “The Body Keeps Score”. It’s a good book that reveals a snippet of the history on how psychiatrists transitioning from champions for talk therapy to medication managers
                .
                2. The issue of who prescribes medication and their level of mental health training. I have a graduate degree in mental health counseling (2-3 years for most). I have friends who have PhDs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology (5-8 years for most). Neither can legally prescribe medication and spend more time with their clients than the psychiatrist who prescribe medication. Medical doctors (i.e. primary care) provide medication for mental health issues despite having much less training in mental health than the professionals I mentioned above. And this occurs after having spent very little time with the client. It’s ridiculous and harmful – a pill doesn’t solve trauma.

                3. Cherry picking research for profits. Psychological research has revealed the value of therapy for various mental health issues. Insurance companies don’t give a sh*t about the research. They want to bill for as few treatments as possible. Clinicians face a constant struggle with how they know they should serve their clients and what insurance companies require them to do to get paid.

                4. Overpathologizing. Just because you need therapy, doesn’t mean you have some mental health label. The DSM V is a useful tool. But it is the same tool that once declared that homosexuality was a mental illness. There are organizations that serve clients who intentionally don’t use the DSM and don’t diagnose, due to the issue of overpathologizing and the damage is can cause the client.

                There’s SO much I can say. But I’ll stop here. Please, fight the stigma placed on mental health. PLEASE, be extremely critical of the mental health field. Do some research on the history of psychology and Black folks, mental health and insurance companies, and the DSM. In all of this, I’m passionate about therapy, have one advanced degree in it and intend on getting another.

                • PhlyyPhree

                  I don’t consider this rambling.
                  Thank you for sharing your informed perspective as you raised some things I hadn’t thought about.
                  I still disagree with you, but that’s from a personal standpoint that I know wont apply to everyone and I’m willing to do more research on it and figure out if there IS a way to safely and effectively give people who feel they need medication what they ask for.
                  Good luck on your research!

                  • JBusy

                    I do want to be clear that I’m not against medication. Medication can be good and useful, but it’s complicated and many who provide it aren’t informed. I’m also going to play the “you’re not disagreeing with me, you’re disagreeing with research” card.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      Oh definitely.
                      Not you personally, because I appreciate you presenting the research and perspective to me. It was just a general “I know this worked for me, so I’m respecting what you’re saying and going to look into it more”
                      Can’t just trust anyone off the interwebs, ya know ;-)

                • Wild Cougar

                  THIS

                • LMNOP

                  I have been on all different kinds of psychiatric medication, and I think it’s important to talk openly about the often significant physical and mental health problems they can lead to.

                • “M”

                  “PLEASE, be extremely critical of the mental health field.”

                  So … how do you suggest we handle it when we are properly critical and they get defensive?

                  I’ve presented this to at least six therapists, some of color:

                  http://world-trust.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/7-Racial-Microagressions-in-Everyday-Life.pdf

                  The guidelines/conference are ten years old. You all – the mental health profession – have had a DECADE to work this stuff out. And still?

                  As clueless as ever. I had a Columbia PhD who was teaching at the university tell me I’d “never get a job with that hair”. And I don’t have a fro and HER hair was grey enough to more than know better.

                  Like some upthread, I find myself explaining issues of misogynoir to the point where I’m paying them when they should be paying me for the continuing ed.

                  And I’m not getting the help to move forward that I need, and it gets later and later in the meantime.

                  What are we supposed to do with that …?

          • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

            My uninformed opinion based on how long I put off taking medication for high blood pressure. You have to admit you really have a problem once you start taking medication.

      • Thriller

        Several reasons but if it’s the only viable option then cool.

        I have several family members that suffer from mental illness. I’ve seen medication drastically alter their personalities. As in a bomb has come in and wiped out 70% of them and left nothing in its wake. Now these are people suffering from psychosis episodes, schizophrenia etc. so I understand the medication is strong.

        I’ve also seen family members use therapy, meditation and wellbeing techniques, change in diet and lifestyle, exercise to battle depression without drugs.

        And finally every single person I’ve known with mental illness has been offered/advised to take medication in their first couple consultations. Every single one of them – over a dozen people. I understand these are medical professionals but they’re too quick to suggest meds and ignore alternative treatments.

        I also believe Doctors are too quick in general to offer medication. However our community needs to be able and more willing to visit them in the first place so Im reticent to go in on the issue.

        • MsCee

          My friend lost her father and went into a really deep depression. She eventually started to take the meds. When she was finally able to go off of them she would cry often so I asked her about it. She said “When I was on meds, I couldn’t feel anything, I never cried or smiled or felt any emotion. I’m happy to be able to cry when I am sad again.” That was eye opening for me. We need to feel feelings, that is why they are there.

        • PhlyyPhree

          These are very valid reasons.
          I don’t want to make it seem as if I’m advocating for medication wholesale, when in fact I’m not. It took me a LONG time to take my medication however I know how it helped me.

          I think medication is a very serious step and I’d advise anyone to do their research before taking something that will chemically alter their brain and personality, but I’d also advise anyone taking a serious form of medication/treatment to do the same type of research.

  • Good post.

    Therapy helps and i the best $35 I would pay for an hour of talking I can think of. You get to the point where rapid weight gain and loss, sleeping three hours a night isn’t the move, and $1.29 tall boys aren’t either so you decide you’ve got to do something.

    Hope you keep moving towards finding some peace.

    • miss t-lee

      Seriously. Next to paying where I lay my head, it’s the best money I spend every month.

  • Valerie

    Here we go:
    Therapy and my faith has truly helped me become the person I am now.

    As some of you may know from previous posts, I was in an abusive relationship. He was my first boyfriend so I did not know the signs. I did not open up to anyone about what I was going through because I felt weak and because of this I found myself being angry and resentful. I was angry at how people I thought that knew me could not see what was I going through. It wasn’t until my classmate (who is now one of my best friends) saw the bruises on my arm from him grabbing me told me, it’s not ok. I eventually left. Even when I left, I was still dealing with my anger. Battled with an addiction to ecstasy (because it makes you feel good) and I found a domestic shelter (that I still volunteer at) for help. I met my therapist there.

    The best lesson I learned was that I am enough, I need to stop blaming myself for what happened, and most importantly to forgive myself. She also helped me work on my anger (too well because now nothing really angers me) lol. I went back to church and eventually opened up to my family about him. My dad helped me get a protective order against him. I learned to trust myself and see the red flags.

    I hope you find your peace. Peace is priceless.

    • I’m curious as to what took so long to tell family… only because there’s a young lady at work, who recently got out of a bad one, has a brother, uncle, a dad – male figures in general that she refuses to tell. He’s still stalking her by the way. His last antic?…called the gig, pretended he was a detective.

      • Valerie

        I tend to try to solve my problems on my own, I don’t like asking for help. I do wish I would have told them sooner because my dad blamed himself for not protecting me.

        My ex was well liked by my family because he looked perfect on paper that went to prestigious Rice University so I thought they would not believe me. He didn’t have the typical “abuser” profile but I had to learn anyone can be an abuser they don’t necessarily have a certain look..

        Also he also made me feel like they would not believe me, that only he loved me.

        • “I tend to try to solve my problems on my own, I don’t like asking for help…”
          Two of the MAIN reasons Black people don’t seek therapy.

          • Lea Thrace

            LISSEN!!!

            Its all rooted in this pathological need we have to not be seen as weak. Even on sh*t that isnt actually weak, like getting help or going to a dang doctor. UGH.

            • Valerie

              EXACTLY!!!! Self care is important.

              • AND AND AND, I’ll add that self-care isn’t always as cute as going to see a movie by yourself or buying the ice cream you want and eating the whole pint just because you feel like it. Sometimes self-care means asking others to help care for you, and that’s something a lot of us struggle with.

                • Valerie

                  I agree. Thanks Pinks.

            • …almost forgot.
              “Therapy?!
              “Black people don’t go to therapy!”

        • grownandsexy2

          This is a lesson that should be impressed upon all young women. Abusers, like murderers, don’t look a certain way. I remember a case we had once where a white, Harvard degreed 60ish, well-respected doctor was stalking his 60ish ex-wife because she was awarded alimony, creeping around on all fours, after dark on the lawn of the mansion he once lived in, threatening to do her bodily harm.

          • Valerie

            I agree. That’s really scary that she had to go through that.

            • grownandsexy2

              It’s something I impressed on my daughter, nieces, and now my granddaughter. Dysfunctional people don’t look a certain way.

        • Mary Burrell

          Typical abusers behavior

      • MsCee

        Mainly shame and embarrassment. Victim blaming is sooooo real and it hurts so deeply to finally tell those you love only to be met with judgement. It happened to me…my mother and father, who were themselves in an abusive relationship for 20+ years, said the most hurtful things when they found out what was going on with me.

        • “M”

          Happens WAY too much in families of color.

          WAY too much.

          I always wonder why — as much static as each of us receives being outchere in the world as a POC — we judge one another SO. HARD.

      • Valerie

        Tell her to get a protective order, he might disobey it but it’s leaving a paper trail. I got one where he wasn’t supposed to be in within so many feet of me.

        • I mentioned this dude the other day to y’all…
          This maniac stole her phone, took it to her provider, and they ended up putting her on the phone with him. BTW, he disguises his voice to sound like a woman, he always gets through. Shes changed her number 5 times.

          • Mary Burrell

            The stalking boyfriend is very scary reminds me of that old Julia Roberts movie Sleeping With The Enemy. I hope the sister is safe.

          • Valerie

            I went through something similar. Yes there is a risk that he might be angry but I learned it’s not about him. It’s about my safety. She needs to do everything in her power to avoid any contact with him. I deactivated all my social media when I was avoiding him so he could not know my whereabouts. You have to be very proactive when it comes to abusers. I know she is scared so was I but it reflects badly on him if he disobeys the protective order.

            • Unfortunately, shes 23, and social media is her life. I suggested she disconnect (fat chance) or change her online persona and limit usage.

              • Valerie

                She should limit her whereabouts (I love typing this word) at the very least.

                • Sounds like police buzzwords, lol
                  Whereabouts, and referring to your whip as a “vehicle”

        • Kylroy

          Was on a jury regarding a restraining order violation. I was the only one who thought that a stipulated RO, given to an educated man with counsel present, should be enforced as written.

        • Not trying to reason it away, but some folks feel it will make the guy even angrier. I’m pretty sure that’s why she hasn’t told any male figures except for me. I mean, i DO know of a sister that got jacked up in the hallway of the RO office.

          • Siante?

            I had to testify in an abuse trial for a family mbr last yr. I can’t even express how important it is to get a RO against these kinds of ppl. It holds a lot of weight in court & it’s such a crucial part of keeping a paper trail

            • I agree 110%. As of 1pm today, she has done just that!
              So, good for her.

              • Siante?

                Yes!!!!?

      • grownandsexy2

        Sometimes women are afraid to tell their fathers, brothers, uncles, because they don’t want them to become permanent guests of the state. I don’t have any advice for your co-worker except to get a pistol for his azz. I’d say a protective order, but if he doesn’t respect the law, then he won’t respect a piece of paper.

        • Ms.Moon

          It’s important to go to the police and keep a paper trail and document everything because it just might save your life and keep you out of prison if you do have to use that pistol. If a person is stalking you having that evidence will really help you out if stuff goes south.

      • KNeale

        All this advice in the thread is great but the only real advice you should give her is to talk to a domestic violence advocate/professional. There is a lot of stuff to balance and stuff that she is figuring out how to do and talking to someone that knows the laws and what resources are available and has been trained to deal with people experiencing trauma/abuse/stalking would be helpful. i.e. she probably would like to know the process of getting a restraining order and what she’ll have to do before deciding to pursue that.

        Also my advice to you is that there is likely even more serious abuse that may have happened that she not telling anyone about and just be mindful that when you are talking to her that #1- she is probably really scared no matter how chill or naive she seems and no mater what choices you think of hers are good or bad #2- there is no shortage of judgment in her life so she probably is not revealing how serious it may be/or how scared she is and REALLY don’t need any more judgment even if its the well meaning ‘well why dont u just get off social media since he’s bothering you’.

      • miss em

        because those are the same people who will betray you. People talk a lot of supportive stuff, but sometimes when you’re in such an alone place, it’s easier to be alone than to also be alone and feel betrayed by people who are supposed to love you and support you.

    • MsCee

      I went through the same thing. I’ve talked about it here. My daughters father (first “real” relationship) was extremely abusive. I stayed with him for four years…all my good college years, smh. I thought I would never heal, especially since I left home at 14 due to being tired of seeing my mother endure the same types of abuse I would go on to endure. I graduated college on May 5, 2012, packed up all my ish and moved on May 6. It’s been 5 years and I’m finally starting to feel like a survivor. Peace is indeed priceless.

      • Valerie

        Yes you are a survivor. I stayed with my ex off and on for 3 years because I was scared to be judged. I also thought I could not heal and forgive which lead me a dark path. I’m glad you left and are able to tell you story. I just let out some few tears reading your story, tears of joy. Always happy to hear about survival.

        • MsCee

          Same here! We out here living! A little bruised and scarred but still outchea! It’s funny because I always end up randomly connecting with women going through similar situations and I’m like “Ok, I see you Gawd.” Blessed to be a vessel.

    • I Came I Saw

      <3 Thank you for sharing your story, Valerie. I'm very happy for you and your current place in your journey.

      • Valerie

        Thank you. *hugs*

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      Wow…thank you for sharing. That is powerful. You are a survivor and a overcomer. I look up to you. That’s tough and you made it through better than before. You can now share your testimony to other women who have (or currently are) going through the same thing.

      • Valerie

        Thank you, I do share my story with other women. It did take me a while to get to this point, to share my story but I’m glad I can help others.

  • Val

    I think every Black American should have a mental health therapy session at least once a year. A mental health tune up? Not only would that help folks cope in this crazy world but the fact that everyone was doing it would make it easier for those who have serious mental health issues to go. Even now in the new millennium mental illness needs to be destigmatized in our culture/ communities.

  • everythingpink

    Thank you for sharing your journey! I have been regulary seeing a therapist every two weeks for the past 5 years. I always try to encourage my friends to go but the stigma of seeing a therapist keeps a lot of them away. Although I have not been diagnosed with any disorder, therapy helped me through my worst breakups, passing the CPA exam, and other issues that occured in my life. When I moved to a new city the first thing I did was find a new therapist. That’s how essential it has been in my life. My first therapist was a jewish woman in her 40s. She was great but it took a while for me to REALLY open up to her about my experience as a POC. My new therpaist is a black woman in her 30s (I am also in my 30s) and it made a HUGE difference. I didn’t have to waste my 50 min sessions “explaining” things to her. She already knows lol.

  • Diego Duarte

    Congrats. Admitting you need help takes a lot of courage and humility. ACTUALLY going and getting help much more so. Growing up in dysfunctional homes really does a number on your mental health, and carrying all that extra-baggage makes even the smallest, most menial of tasks an unnecessary challenge. That’s depression. That’s anxiety.

    My siblings and I grew up in a dysfunctional home, with two narcissist parents. My father is somewhat of a malignant narcissist (maybe even a sociopath) and my mother is almost assuredly a victimized narcissist. Only after becoming estranged from both did my sister and I realized the extent to which this wrecked our emotional and mental well-being. We’ve discussed getting therapy (my sister is incredibly stubborn about this still), but we’ll get there too.

  • cyanic

    Started seeing a new therapist. He happens to be younger than me. Which is awful because I’m 34. He’s attractive, black, sophisticated, and were he not my therapist and actually gay–reality is he would not be into me. I think all of my stuff is about a lack of a man. Seriously, everything else feels easily correctable except this. Writing is hard because it always reverts to man thirst. Because any man won’t do–brothers need only apply–I feel mentally trapped. I refuse medications too. But in my case I have kidney issues and high blood pressure. I can’t be popping more pills because they will have side effects with each other. And I don’t want the wear on my heart.

    • MsCee

      So basically being single is causing you pain? This is a real question, I’m not being funny.

      • cyanic

        Outside of some close family members I don’t have friends. And would prefer a man above all else.

        • MsCee

          I feel you on that. I have a lot of friends but I still am at the point where I need and want a man.

          • grownandsexy2

            You have to go where single men go, put yourself out there. The mistake that a lot of women make is ending up with guys who choose them, instead of putting yourself out there and doing the choosing.

            • MsCee

              Girl, I’ve tried it all. This year alone I’ve dated 4 guys, all of whom eventually asked me to be official. I guess I’m trigger shy. I always freeze up or push people away and it makes me really sad.

              • Maybe you don’t feel officially ready Cee.

                • MsCee

                  I am so far beyond officially ready. Scared but ready.

                  • You kind of mirror me. Insanely willing to share, but noooot quite ready to put it in motion. I mean, I know all the moves….but, le sigh.

            • LeeLee

              You replied to MsCee but you is talking directly to me!

            • PhlyyPhree

              It’s hard to do the choosing sometimes. I’ve heard that before, but putting it into practice is….rough.
              Also, with life and adulting, I don’t know where the single men are or when I’d have the time to get there. I also feel like I just put out a “cool friend type” vibe and that’s why I always end up as the ‘Like-a-sister’ buddy.

              • grownandsexy2

                There are some so called “single” spots here, but a lot of them are full of married men pretending to be single. I have a girlfriend who used to frequent them, and if nothing else, she gained some good sleuthing skills.

                • PhlyyPhree

                  LOL. My google/network sleuthing skills are exceptionally spectacular. I just kind of abhor the idea of singles spots because I feel like your friend who found the spots are full of men pretending to be single. Also, I feel thirsty going into those spots and I don’t want to SEEM thirsty even if I am.

            • Valerie

              I agree. I learned to choose them. I know my interest and I know what I like so I tend to meet men in those places. Also networking conferences in your field are good places to meet men. One of my friends got married to a man she met at a marketing conference lol

              • grownandsexy2

                Yep, networking conferences and conventions are excellent places to meet men. I can think of quite a few women who met their husbands at conferences/conventions.

                • Valerie

                  I’m trying to meet mines there, along with finding a new job lol.

    • grownandsexy2

      Why do you think that is – your lack of a man? Are good black men difficult to find/connect with?

      • cyanic

        The gay component makes finding a mate improbable.

        • MsCee

          You don’t think there is an abundance of gay black men?

          • cyanic

            Just because they are there does not mean they want you nor would they be an ideal fit for you.

            • grownandsexy2

              Do you have an ideal fit?

              • cyanic

                Someone who accepts or embraces my atypical personality and nature.

                • SoonToBeMrs

                  And by atypicall you mean?!?!!

                  • cyanic

                    Off consensus. Not your norm. Different. Eccentric.

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      Interesting.

                    • Kylroy

                      You’ve outlined what your personality isn’t…could you define what it is?

                    • cyanic

                      Verbal. Preoccupied with personal passions others my have only passing interest in. Aroused by visual and physical texture that is secondary to most.

                • grownandsexy2

                  I believe there is a cup for every saucer. Sometimes advertising (and vet, vet, vet) helps

                  • cyanic

                    Very poor with signals sometimes. For example on two separate occasions two different guys were feeling me and very low key about it, While my initial attraction was to one of their home boys who was not thinking of me in the same manner their friend was. I would later find out and feel miserable because despite my physical preference for the others they weren’t bad looking in the least and they were interested.

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      How long have you been ‘rejected’? Is it like an every time occurrence?

                    • cyanic

                      Been socially awkward since day one.

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      Awwww. Ever tried meetup?

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      Have you? I ask because I recently signed up, but I feel overwhelmed (maybe I joined to many groups, idk) and nervous (I really don’t want to show up to the meetup alone,even though I guess that’s the point? lol)

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      For knitting.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      Really? I should see if they have one of those here too. I have been crocheting a baby blanket for my childs arrival for FUHEVA.
                      She’s 6 now….. Smh.

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      Lmao. Yes. There’s meetups for anything.

                    • LMNOP

                      For your grandbaby, you have plenty of time.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      Lmaooooooo.
                      Funny. I didn’t expect it to burn in the shade. Must have had a little shether in it.

                    • You made me chuckle just now.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      Lol. I was serious tho!!!

                    • I know, lol. It was just the was it read. I snickered, like “duh.”

                    • Lea Thrace

                      girrrrrrrrrrrl. this is me too. meetup sounds like a good idea on paper. but the paralyzing fear of going somewhere to meet people and having ZERO familiarity with anyone keeps me from pulling the trigger.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      Look, get a drank, take a deep breath and walk your fine self in there like you own the joint.

                    • Lea Thrace

                      ah see. great advice. except for one itty bitty problem.

                      I dont drink. lol. Times like this I wish I did so I could you that lowered inhibition thing to my benefit.

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      You drink water, no? It’s a legitimate drink.

                    • Valerie

                      If you to a meetup with an intention to meet people with similar interests as you, you won’t go wrong. Meet someone build a friendship first.
                      Pro tip: STAY AWAY from the meetups that require you to be single, lot of thirsty people will be there.

                    • Cheech

                      Sweet tea? Arnold Palmer?

                    • Lea Thrace

                      I no longer drink sweet tea. And Arnold Palmers are disgusting abominations.

                      The hardest thing I drink is a club soda with lime. lol

                    • BrothasKeeper
                    • Lea Thrace

                      I only speak facts sir!

                    • BrothasKeeper

                      That is an alternative fact. I’m calling Rachel Maddow.

                    • miss t-lee

                      This was my fave a few seconds ago reading that.

                    • Cheech

                      *sneaks some purple in Lea’s club soda*

                    • kingpinenut

                      Ginger brew

                    • Lea Thrace

                      disgusting!

                    • kingpinenut

                      *downvote*

                      smgDH

                    • Amber

                      I’m an introvert and find it hard to to go up and meet folks. But I like meetup cause most of the people in the group have the same motivation to join. Try smaller group meetups. Also when you rsvp for an event send a note to the group that you are new. You’ll find that people are more welcoming.

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      Everybody on the same boat as you hence why they sign up.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      RIGHT?
                      Which is crazy because I have friends and I had to meet them somewhere! I like meeting new people and stuff. It’s just that initial fear that has been keeping me back more and more lately.

                    • KCG

                      Sounds like me. I don’t know how I even have friends! One of my newest and dearest friends sent me the attached meme: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8fd9ae109762a515eb0cfac44f487591ef2a1e1f570dbd5c8524ecc9eaed6558.jpg

                    • Just pick one event (give yourself like three weeks to mentally prepare) that is an activity that you like do it. It’s totally worth it ^___^

                    • Valerie

                      The main guy I’m dating now, I met at web development meetup. The trick is to find one in your interests and a small group. If you meet someone with the same passion it’s easier to BS your way through the small talk. We literally worked on building an app together, now we are building in life. Sounds cheesy but you can meet some cool people.

                    • Lex

                      The main guy. Valerie I like your style boo ;)

                    • Valerie

                      I just realized how playa that sounded. Thank you :-) LOL

                    • grownandsexy2

                      I see nothing wrong with a “main” guy.

                    • KCG

                      #lifegoals

                    • Amber

                      I’m in the dmv area and in several meetups. I usually attend the outings with smaller groups then work my way up to the big group outings. Most people show up alone and are pretty open.
                      I say this as an introvert.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      I have done MeetUp and really enjoyed the outings. Its hard making new adult friends.

                    • Valerie

                      I love them :-)

                    • RaeNBow

                      you shouldn’t feel miserable about that. i mean, if they didn’t make their interest known, you can’t get down on yourself about that. Its a 2 way street.

                      and while you may have been attracted to someone else at the time, that is OK. don’t beat yourself up about it or feel miserable. you shouldnt feel bad for being attracted to someone or NOT being attracted to someone who likes you. also: attraction can build.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      I guess I can see how it would be difficult to decipher if one is being low key. You are not alone.

            • This is also true as a hetero woman, so I get it.

              • “M”

                sing it

        • grownandsexy2

          Do you go where gay men congregate? I ask because I hear a lot of women say they can’t find a man. But then they don’t actively go where men go/seek men out.

    • Lara

      Some men can be good company for a period of time. I’ve never met one who was able to make me happy when I wasn’t. That’s putting too much pressure on one person.

      • Cheech

        Morning, Dmitry. MSNBC is reporting you’ve been indicted for the yahoo hack. Watch out for that interpol red notice.

        • Lea Thrace

          i do so love your aint sh*t ways Cheechers. bwahahahahaha

        • BrothasKeeper

          Damn…..and she made such a good point upthread. I guess the broken clock theory is true.

          • Kylroy

            Still not enough for me to forgive using an unblockable guest account.

          • Cheech

            An unhappy, alienated troll. Who’da thunk?

            • BrothasKeeper

              This must be how a Trump supporter feels.

              • Lara

                Supporting Trump, when I am surrounded by liberals, has not been good for my mental health. It has actually been quite terrible. I am taking a break from politics for that reason.

              • Lara

                It has been super hard for me, a person not even involved in politics. I cannot imagine the mental toll the election has taken on Trump. He seems like a tough person, but he is still human. I hope he is getting daily therapy from someone who really knows their stuff.

                • BrothasKeeper

                  You poor thing. It must be truly exhaustive for you and other enablers, I mean supporters to continue to soil the name of legitimate mental therapy. Feel free to rest yourself in another blog.

                  • Lara

                    I wasn’t expecting any sympathy, just pointing something out. He does seem like the type who would think he doesn’t need therapy when he really does. A lot of masculine men are like that. It’s hard for them to let down their guard and be vulnerable.
                    There has been some speculation Obama received cognitive behavior therapy. He was much angrier when he was younger. He is very chill now.

            • LMNOP

              Right, I wanted to say “yeah all that hate and racism takes it’s toll on your soul.” But I don’t talk to it.

    • *hugs*

  • Dustin John Seibert

    You’re at the late end of Millennial. At ’81, I’m at that place where I’m a Millennial depending on what study/metric you’re looking at.

    • Kylroy

      I was born in ’80, and bristle at the label mostly because I feel a major defining aspect of being a Millennial is growing up with the Internet – which I never encountered until I was an adult. I realize that Internet access is hardly a constant thing, but it’s a cultural watershed – same way that a I’d hesitate to call someone a Baby Boomer if they never watched TV until they were 18, even if they were born in 1950.

      • Lea Thrace

        see and i think millenial is growing up with the modern internet. The readily available access of today is not the same as the dial up days of yore. They have had ready access to texting and email. I remember the days of ICQ…

        Im too old to be a millenial even though I technically am.

        • Kylroy

          Thing is, at least in the U.S., widely-available high-speed (i.e. non-dialup) Internet is only a bit over a decade old. People who had that around in grade school are only now reaching voting age.

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