By Melyssa W
Seeking professional help doesn't make you weak. Seeking help doesn’t make you pathetic. Seeking help doesn’t make you less than. As a Black Woman, these were thoughts that traveled my mind before I made the decision to attend therapy. I was unsure as to why I felt embarrassment and self doubt about therapy. The idea of me revealing my feelings to a stranger froze me with fear, thinking and feeling the judgement or prosecution that could come from it. That’s the thing. That’s the problem, negativity -once allowed can cloud your decision-making especially in regards to seeking help.
Last year, I started therapy but refused to go back again since I felt I was “cured” or “fixed”. I realized how easy it was for me to fall back into the hectic messiness of my life. Whether it was with family, work, school, or some guy I was trying to make my b-o-o. Suddenly, my bad habits reappeared like a rapid rash. It was time to take care of myself! Therapy promotes self health, self awareness, and self love. It’s a major part of the formula that helps you become a more gracious and loving person to the world but most importantly to yourself. You owe it to yourself to be your best you!
Yet, therapy is still discerned as taboo particularly within black women and the black community. Why is it so hard to say we need help?
Culturally, The black American diaspora has struggled with seeking therapy after centuries of immense trauma, oppression, and struggle. As a people, we carry the weight of our impactful history and propel that into the identity of the our individual life experience. We are covered with the ancestral scars of our past. We won’t ever forget the struggle of black women and the second-class citizen treatment that was disposed on us for centuries. We didn’t live in a society that made us love ourselves. Making us feel as if we were less than other women, less than humans. Our hair texture, skin tone, facial features were tremendously mocked and that made us bluntly insecure.
Despite, the praise white women receive for buying and altering themsleves to look like us, we seemed to have been cursed by beauty standards for centuries. These insecurities were never given the proper love, respect, or permission to be dealt with openly. When we didn’t deal with them, they unfortunately manifested additional conflicts that we didn’t know how to rationalize or express emotionally. We were ignored for being vulnerable. Vulnerability and sensitivity weren't common practices in our community or amongst each other. The trickle-down Post Traumatic Slave Disorders have hindered us from asking for help. As black women, we are always acknowledged as the backbone of our culture, we show little to no fear or shame. As the matriarch of our culture, we weren’t always given the choice or time to express any emotions sincerely, black women had to be the protector and supporter of the family in order for everyone to survive. Til this day, we are still grappling with the imagery of Black women as being seen as powerful protector but still can’t shake the idiotic “Angry Black Woman” narrative. So much riding on our backs, why wouldn’t anyway think we wouldn’t need help?
Black women are HUMANE, treat as such, respect us as such, and love us as such. We all need to know we are appreciated; It’s very easy to lose sight of our place in this world. As millenial black women, we have to change the ways of which we approach mental health. We have to express love, pride, self awareness, and progress more to each other. Let our community embrace our issues and respond with support and enomorous love. Mental health is not some taboo social construct, we must transgress into more popular healthier beliefs.
What signs make you realize that might help with your decision to therapy?
I knew I needed therapy. I realized that I deserve to love myself more than I already did. I had low self esteem, I would self loathe in negativity about myself, and I didn’t feel I had any purpose. These are such natural feelings! Especially as young black women in their 20s, girl it’s hard trying to love yourself daily while trying to live your best life. If you feel you lack purpose or progress just know that those are thoughts that will break you down. Must always know you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t suppose to fulfill something in life. It’s okay just to seek more out of life! To feel and do better in life, therapy can help with you realizing your self worth.Sometimes we need guidance in this life, in order to be someone new gotta be sure of the someone now In order to excel in this life.
Where did I find my therapist?
Below are a few references I found helpful in my search for a therapist. I find it better to go to a therapist that could relate to me and understand my struggles.
Progress with love and health in the new year and many years to come!