Why are you scared of therapy? Why is the thought of confronting your demons and healing your traumas with the intentions of making you a better person so scary?
Let me tell you what we are going to do in this new year: We are going to stop making excuses for ourselves and others! There should be no reason why you are the same person you were last year, as you are today. In this new year, we are no longer accepting daddy issues, mommy issues, abandonment issues, trust issues, childhood trauma, or any other type of issues as an excuse for poor behavior! We are not accepting these excuse from ourself or anybody else. As an adult, there has to come a point when you get sick of your own sh*t and decide to fix it. If you have any type of trauma that may be holding you back in life or is preventing you from cultivating meaningful relationships, then I suggest therapy.
Easier said than done, right?
Deciding to go to therapy isn’t always easy. Growing up in a West Indian family, mental illness was not a thing. You had to show strength at all times. Depression? You better be depressed in the dark on your own time because money has to be made and bills gotta be paid. There was no time to stop and fix yourself because sh*t might fall apart. In our parents eyes, it seemed as the options were “You want a roof over your head and dinner on the table or you want to me to go to therapy”?
As I got older I realized that many other people grew up thinking the same way. Many people are ashamed of having a mental illness and even more ashamed to go to a therapist or psychiatrist for help. Let’s not even get started on the people, especially in the older generation, that think mental illness can be “prayed” away. Well I am here as a believer in God to let you know that prayer alone cannot cure depression or mental illness. You can however pray for the strength, guidance, and patience to deal with your illness, in addition to professional help.
Look for the signs.
I do not suffer from mental illness, I do however, know what it feels like to be out of my mind. I do know what it feels like to be so enraged that I start seeing red. I do know what it feels like to be depressed for days on end and not want to get out of bed or leave my room. I also know that if I had not gone to therapy when I did, I would’ve eventually been diagnosed with major depressive disorder with suicidal ideation.
I know people who have been diagnosed with mental illness and their family members were in such denial about it that it took them a long time to seek professional help. It took suicide attempts and several mental hospital admissions to get their loved ones to realize that their illness was a real problem. Do not be that person. Please do not be the person that does not listen to someone’s cry for help because you think it is a cry for attention.
I’ve been there before.
You do not need to be considered “mentally ill” to receive therapy. It is very helpful to be able to talk to a neutral person and receive an objective point of view about what you are going through. Therapy can be overwhelming at first but everyone’s experience is different. The first time I went to therapy I left in tears. I was crying because the therapist recommended calming tea and holistic sedatives for me to take when I felt my rages coming on or if I felt my anxiety kicking in. Can you believe that? For some reason I thought she was trying to call me “crazy” by saying I needed to take drugs even though she NEVER told me I needed drugs nor is a therapist even allowed to prescribe drugs. But that just goes to show how defensive I was about the whole process. Needless to say, I went back the next week and I thank God I did because therapy did a lot of good for me. I learned what my triggers were. I learned how to calm myself down and prevent rages, as well as ways to deal with my anxiety. I learned how to set boundaries with people. Most importantly, I learned why I was reacting to things so negatively in the first place.
This is where you can start.
I am not going to lie to you, finding a good therapist that you can connect with can sometimes be hard and a bit discouraging but do not give up. Learn from me, give you and your therapist a chance to warm up to each other. Be open to the experience because therapy is the one place you can go to be totally vulnerable in a judgement free zone. You can find therapist using resources such as Psychology Today, Talk Space, and Open Path. Recently, I also found this amazing website for Black Women looking for therapist called Therapy For Black Girls. However, do not think that your therapist has to look a certain way or fit a certain description to help you or understand you. The most important thing about finding a therapist that can make you feel like you have a safe place to be vulnerable in.
The thing about life is that you never know what it is going to throw at you. I learned through therapy, what my triggers are and how to cope with them so that I do not fall into depressive states. Everyone has been through some type of trauma in their lives and everyone could use a person that can help them heal and navigate this journey called life.
Let’s check in on each other soon.