I Started Therapy - Why I'm Going and My First Impressions
Honest Moment: So when I became single, after a three-year long relationship…I wasn’t really focusing on doing the self work I now had the time to do. Instead, I was more focused on filling voids that only God was meant to fill. Then, I got tired of experiencing less than God’s best for me. I was like alright Lord, it’s you and me. I prayed about the characteristics I wanted the man I was to marry to have, and just left the rest up to Him. Soon after, this awesome young man came along, who is now my fiance’, and I panicked. I panicked because I didn’t feel like I was good enough yet, or worthy enough. Not because of anything he’d done or said, but because of how irresponsible I felt I was when I had the time do the self-work, etc. And despite what I was telling myself, he reassured me that he didn’t need me to be perfect. So the relationship began. Not too long after, I realized there were some things I probably hadn’t healed from or just various things related to insecurity, anxiety, etc. that were surfacing. And if not handled, those things could prove to be detrimental to the relationships important to me.
I was also dealing with some discontentment and unhappiness, related to my job. I was just feeling really unfulfilled and felt like I was made to do so much more than what I was doing. Also, moving back in with my relatives was rough. I was use to coming and going as I pleased, and being in my own space. So, that was an adjustment. Also, my previous living space was conducive to me maintaining a creative outlet, which at the time, was doing hair and makeup tutorials for YouTube. But their house isn’t my type of aesthetic and coupled with everything else I was feeling, the desire to do those things just dwindled away. So needless to say, I was just feeling real bleh.
Thus began my search for the perfect therapist.
Honestly, the cost is what held me back for the longest. Your girl is just simply not balling like that, to drop several stacks a year on it. Luckily though, the person I was looking into for therapy, was able to recommend a MUCH more affordable option. I’m going to a student ran counseling clinic, at a local university, and sessions are $5 each. All the students are in the clinical phase of their major and are overseen/supervised by their professors. I’m assuming that’s the case for other student ran counseling clinics, but I’m not sure. Through my swift research of affordable therapy/counseling services though, I’ve found that going to counseling centers on college campuses and group therapy are common suggestions.
Once I found an affordable place, my next concern was the quality of service I’d receive, and the type of counselor I wanted. I still wanted quality therapy, even though I wasn’t going to be paying tons for it. I also wanted someone who looked like me, and someone who believed in God. I felt like someone who looked like me could understand my struggle a little more, as we might have shared experiences with being black women in this society. Also, for me, therapy is a supplement to my faith. So, of course I want them to utilize what they learned in classes, but know I’m not going for just anything.
I know y’all are like OK girl, just tell us how it went!
So, when I first got there, I just had to complete a bit of paperwork since it was my first time. A lot of it was just telling me how they’d use my records, and then just some emotional/mental health assessments. I actually ended up seeing a familiar face, while I was waiting to be called back, so that made me feel a bit better. She raved about the services at the clinic, and said she’d been going there for years. She also mentioned how happy she was to see another black woman investing in their mental health…so I just felt affirmed that I was doing the right thing for me. You know?
Anywho, so the woman who’s my counselor called me back, and we went into this little room with two chairs, and two camera monitors set up. The cameras did throw me off a little bit, not even gonna lie, HA! But, she explained that it was for review purposes, in case the professor overseeing them decides to use it to tell her how she’s doing, etc.
She proceeded to introduce herself and explained to me what we’d be doing that day. Which was basically just more intake paperwork. So she asked me questions about what brought me there, things I perceive to be a struggle for me, the people who are currently most important in my life, etc. Disclaimer: I’m a bit of a cry baby. So, about two to three pages into her little packet I was shedding tears, lol. But she reassured me tears were welcomed. Regardless, my tear ducts were going to burst at some point. But she opened the floodgates when she gave me the green light, lol.
The session lasted for about an hour, and I felt like that was pretty sufficient. I’m not sure whether they offer longer sessions, but I think 50-60 minutes is pretty standard.
Y’all, I felt so much lighter afterwards. I don’t know if the crying helped release some stuff, too. But I think me knowing that I’m doing something to better myself, aided in that lighter feeling as well. I’m looking forward to accessing the tools needed to gain the freedom and healing I desire.
My main goals with therapy are to get to the root of my anxious thoughts, and learn practical ways to combat them. I want to get to the root of my insecurities and learn how to combat the lies that those produce, as well. And then lastly, but just as important as the rest, get to know more about who Jasmine is and just become a more mentally healthy, me.
I think therapy and mental health have been on the backburner in the black community, for a while. It’s just had this negative connotation attached to it. However, I’m appreciative of those who are shedding light on the importance of it and offering services to support the cause. I can’t tell you how many times the podcasts I listen to or the accounts I follow on social media, stress the importance of mental health and the benefits of therapy. That was another reason why I felt so empowered to take next steps.
If you’re looking for a place to start your therapy search, be sure to check out therapyforblackgirls.com. It’s a movement that was started by Atlanta-based Psychologist, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford. There, you will find helpful blog posts, tips, a therapist directory for your city and podcast episodes! Of course, google can also help you in your search as well.
I hope this post encouraged you to take next steps towards your mental health, like I did. It’s normal to be nervous but just remember that this is for you and how important it is that you be in the healthiest mental state possible. And sometimes, that involves you talking it out with a licensed professional. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. That doesn’t make you crazy or weird. It makes you strong and courageous!
I’m sure those who love you would much rather you take care of yourself, than drive yourself crazy trying to manage it all on your own.
I’ll keep you guys posted on my progress! In the meantime, if you have any questions or anything just leave me a comment below.