I’ve battled alternating waves of depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. Some years were harder to manage than others.
When I’m not careful, I fall into patterns of sadness and isolation. But I didn’t understand this about myself until I was in college and realized how the demands of family and the world left me afraid to trust anyone – not even myself. Seeing a counselor helped me with that.
As a Black woman, there have been many moments that the world lied and told me that who I was – instead of how the world was treating me – was the reason I was struggling. Without the space to process the pressures that come with Black womanhood, I’d still think that I was the problem.
Seeing a mental health professional has benefits for everyone. But for some of us, it can be a helpful tool in unlearning the lies we’ve been told about who we are.
I believe everyone – especially Black women and other marginalized folks – should build a relationship with a therapist.
You’ll Discover That There’s More to Heal from Than You Knew
Life is a mess, and people hurt us, whether they meant to or not.
There will be times that the hurt you feel is obvious and you will address it and move on. There will be other times, however, that the pain you feel around a situation will be gradual and make a million tiny little cuts at your heart. The obvious cuts might be easy, but those little cuts impact how we interact with loved ones and our ability to love yourself.
This is where triggers are born.
The negative experiences that we have during those first 18 years can hit us in ways that we’ll never understand. Things like mean comments from relatives, inappropriate contact from family friends, the friend who kissed your first boyfriend behind your back – all of these play a role in how we process relationships.
And sometimes, the people who “opt-out” of our lives can cut just as hard.
Your Friends Can’t Handle All Your Baggage
Despite what we’re told, our friends shouldn’t handle everything. Now that I’m older, I can’t help but look back on some of the emotional baggage that I expected for my friends to hold; I feel guilty about that now.
Our friends aren’t trained in conflict management and they aren’t necessarily equipped to give us the solutions that contribute to healthy decision making. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying our homegirls don’t have our best intentions in mind. But we have to remember that they are doing what they can to survive their issues, too.
Expecting them to hold our issues can overwhelm them.
It’s ok to call your bestie when things hurt. But your relationship will last longer if you also call a counselor.
You’ll (Most Likely) Finally Be Able to Break The Patterns That Hold You Back
Have you ever been extremely upset about something that someone said or did but had no idea why? Yes, me too. Our triggers can show up at the most random times. It happens to the best of us.
But if you find yourself getting feedback that you’re regularly flipping out about minor things, it’s probably time to see a counselor. Chances are you flipping out is just a mixture of stress and your triggers playing out. Sometimes it’s deeper. Sometimes you need new tools to tackle old patterns.
Continually picking bad friends and partners – or always pushing away good ones – can be a sign you have some work to do. Breaking these patterns is a step that means you’re tired of merely surviving, and you’re ready to thrive.
It won’t be easy, and only you can make it happen.
You Deserve To Be Free
This might be the hardest lesson.
I’m tired of being anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed. I know I’m not the only one. Let’s take back the sense of peace that we deserve.
If you’re looking for a sign that you should finally seek help, this is it.