Prayer, meditation, shopping, yoga, running, eating, listening to music, writing in a journal, and aromatherapy. I tried them all. Now that I think about it, I was living my own version of Solange’s song, “Cranes in the Sky”.
I was trying to suppress grief, hurt anger, and rejection that was bottled up for many years and for many reasons. I would feel good for a little while, then all of those feelings would resurface. I would end up right back where I started. Broken! I tried to use all of those things to glue me and my spirit back together, but they wouldn’t work. I remember one time even contemplating suicide. Yep, I was in a dark space but on the surface no one knew. Daily I would go on with life as usual. You know, doing the wife, mommy, daughter, friend and career woman thing. It was my little secret.
Then one day, I was having a conversation with my little family. We were talking about things that we felt we needed to work on as a family. My oldest daughter told me that I was mean to her dad (my husband) and that I could be nicer to him. Her words pierced my soul. When I thought I was hiding all those feelings, I wasn’t. I wasn’t fooling anyone but myself.
At that moment, I knew something had to change. The next day I picked up the phone and made an appointment with a behavioral health specialist. During my first session, I told her everything that was bothering me and how I felt. I even told her about my insomnia and how on an average I would operate on 3-4 hours of sleep or less seven days a week. Once I told her that, she immediately referred me to my primary care doctor, so we could address my sleep issues as well. She also made me keep a sleep journal. The sleep meds, sleeping in my bed and the journal helped. I was finally able to get restful sleep.
We would meet every couple of weeks. As the sessions grew she decided to refer me to a mental health provider because I was diagnosed with mild PTSD due to racial trauma (work related) and depression. My sessions with my mental health provider went well. I cried, I laughed, somedays I sat there and said nothing. It was what I needed. Someone who did not know anything about me or my situation to listen to me and help me think through and in some cases work through it all. The sessions helped me get back on track, as I was off for a longggggg time. I did this for about 6-8 months. It was necessary. Why? Because my mental health is important Sis. With the demands that we and others put on ourselves we have to find a way to deal with it. Since then, I have learned to say no more, I have left relationships that were not healthy for me and I focus on my mental health. I had to, no one else was going to do it for me.
We have to end the stigma that seeking mental health assistance is a bad thing. It is not! Pick up the phone sis. Make the mental health appointment. It is okay. No one is going to judge you. We all have our moments and you are not alone. Some of our moments last longer than others. Some of us need more than just therapy but it is okay. Take the first step. Will it be scary? Yes. You will have to face what you have tried to suppress for so long, but you are strong enough to do it. Do this for you. Do this because you are worth it.
If you are ready to make the first step or know of someone who will benefit from the information, I have provided a few resources below:
*Disclaimer: I have not personally used these resources as they were referred to me nor am I getting paid to promote these companies*
Therapy for Black Girls
If you are in the Augusta Georgia area feel free to contact:
Be Intentional Counseling & Consulting, LLC