Thriving

Why Y’all Black Women Should Go To Therapy

The title is triggering, I know. I would like to put a disclaimer that this article may be triggering throughout this piece, as  I would like to encourage you to go on this journey with me. For the record, I was in regular weekly therapy between October 2020 and April 2021. I have taken a bit of a pause, as I need to focus more on my independence journey. I will document that a bit later, but back to the article. Our community uses these phrases to trigger us, shut us up, and put us in our place:

 

  • Who hurt you?
  • You are bitter and angry.
  • You need to choose better.
  • Y’all need therapy.

 

While these sentences are justified at times, they fail to recognize the context behind all of these words. As they fail to see what impacts our growth and development, which also influences our current trajectory and behaviour. If any of you have been listening to Kendall St. Charles on Clubhouse, you may have heard of the concept of changing your algorithm. I won’t go too much into detail here, as you can hear things straight from the source, but basically, changing your algorithm will change the trajectory of your life. This includes assessing and changing your mindset, your way of thinking, what you pay attention to, your circle of influence and more. 

 

You are Hurt.

 

Who hurt you? Was it your parents who never affirmed your beauty and intelligence? Was it your family and social circles who took advantage of you? Was it your faith that keeps you in a box? Is it a community that expects your undying loyalty while you are consistently used, abused and tossed aside as refuse? Was it… you? I know that black women are not a monolith, but I believe that there is a reason why the “black women are the most disrespected” quote still lives on in infamy to this day. We have all faced different experiences that have caused us levels of pain and trauma, that manifest in completely different ways. That said, I believe it is fine to acknowledge that you are hurt, but I believe that it is important not to stay there. I believe in finding a way to take that power back. 

 

You are Bitter and Angry.

 

I have been very eager to discuss my thoughts on the divestment movement. Christelyn has a perfect outline of what divestment really means, however, I have noticed that even we divested ladies need some help here. We are constantly getting triggered by those around us. Many of us are still angry. I had someone call me angry not too long ago. Why are we so angry? What is causing the dissatisfaction in your life? Why are we bitter? Are we truly okay? Is there something missing in our lives? 

 

Are some of us truly divested? How (and why) are we allowing others to trigger us? I still see some of us “divested” ladies, for lack of a better word, getting upset or triggered by the words and behaviours of those who share the same skin tone as us. It’s almost like we have forgotten that we are in the middle of a pandemic and that these are precarious times. Are we healing internally? Are we focusing on the things that truly matter?

 

You Need to Choose Better. 

 

It’s always fascinating to me that the same people who tell you to choose better will be ready to crucify you and make your life a living hell if you do so. It is also pretty comical that the same people (namely men) who demand that you choose better, refuse to meet the standard that you should supposedly aspire to. At any rate, you are the first cause and the first chooser. You need to decide whether you would like to scratch the dirt with the turkeys or fly with the eagles. This will require radical and ruthless self-honesty, ruthless choices and strategic plans. Is it truly other people and your environment that are holding you back, or is it some form of self-sabotage? Are you willing to make the changes needed to get the life that you want? It might be worth it to invest in someone who can walk alongside you in this journey. 

 

Y’all Need Therapy.

 

You need to speak with a professional to unpack these issues and get to the root of your problems. This could be a faith leader, a therapist, a counsellor, a social worker, a psychologist, or someone who works in a similar capacity. Identify those toxic feelings and begin to work through them. I know that if your background is anything like mine, therapy is not something that we are encouraged to pursue. We are encouraged to hide our feelings, transmute them into food, social justice or another destructive habit, and suffer for the sake of the community at large, as the designated survivor. It is time for us to get help, and stop letting damaged, emotionally stunted people dictate our worth. We need to start thinking strategically about the world that is upon us, and get ready to take advantage of the chaos and prepare, prepare and prepare! The first thing that we can do is internal work to improve our emotional well-being and overall mental health. 

 

My Journey

 

I did mention that I am going through this process as well. It can be scary and jarring to expose the darker areas of yourself, and it makes you feel vulnerable exposing your thoughts and feelings to someone who doesn’t really know you. However, being uncomfortable is a  big part of the healing process. I’m only a few months in, but I have had family and friends tell me that I am less on edge and that I am more in control of my emotions. I am by no means perfect, and I have a lot more work to do, but it is nice to see that there have been some changes during this journey. It has also been an amazing experience sharing my feelings and thoughts with someone who actually cares about the improvement of my emotional well-being. I’m not where I have started, but I am not where I used to be. That’s good enough for now, and the work is just beginning.

Resources

I know this article was a bit heavy, and I appreciate you reading this piece. I wanted to close the article by sharing some relevant resources: 

 

  • Betterhelp: This website is an online service that matches teens, adults and couples with therapists for mental health services over the web.
  • Black Girls Smile: BGS is a nonprofit organization that empowers the mental well-being of young black girls. They offer workshops and even a scholarship (for therapy costs), exclusively for black women and girls. 
  • Crisis Hotline (Canada): This organization offers mental health crisis support 24 hours a day.
  • Crisis Hotline (America): This article offers numerous crisis hotline numbers across the United States. 
  • Psychology Today: Psychology Today has relevant articles that could help you assess your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, to better work through any issues. They also have a directory of therapists to work with you on any issues. 
  • Therapy for Black Girls:  Therapy for black girls offers connections to therapists, a podcast covering a wide variety of mental health issues, an online (paid) community, and more. 
  • The Trevor Project: This organization supports LGBT youth, and provides them with mental health services. 

 

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