Many of the discussions surrounding health typically focus on the physical aspects. Whether we’re talking about our diets, exercise routines, or different ailments that afflict us, each of these fall under the realm of physical health. But, there’s more to your overall health and wellness than just physical aspects. Both emotional and mental health play a key role in your overall state of well being and when not monitored properly can even cause some physical effects as well. And while wellness has been great at helping bridge those gaps, it doesn’t always take your mental health into consideration.
In the black community, there has long been a stigma regarding therapy and mental health. It’s not uncommon for black women and men to feel there is no room for these kinds of concerns or worse, that they aren’t valid, for us. But the general atmosphere surrounding black women and mental health has been changing for the better. With platforms like Therapy for Black Girls and social media allowing each of us to have a voice to share our struggles, what we have done, and what’s working for us, there’s less of a taboo when it comes to discussing the topic of mental health.
If you’re in a place where you are considering therapy and haven’t found that community to turn t0, here’s a few things to keep in mind as you get started:
- It might take time to find your perfect match – Like any new relationship, finding a therapist that meets your needs might take a little time. You want to find one that you genuinely like and trust and this means there might be a little trial and error to achieve that. Patience is key and so is honesty…with yourself. Stay true to your preferences. It’s perfectly okay to prefer a therapist who looks like you as well as it is to prefer someone whose experience is through a completely different lens.
- Try to have an idea of what you want to achieve in mind – Whether that’s something as simple as you want to feel better on a daily basis or something deeper like learning to forgive and heal from an experience so you can move forward, you want to go in with an idea of where you’d like this experience to take you. However, don’t forget to be open and flexible too as these things may change.
- Be ready to work – A lot of times, people decide on therapy thinking a therapist is going to be able to “fix” whatever problem they’re having. Understand that in order for it to work, you have to be willing to work for it. That can mean getting real with yourself, showing up when you really don’t want to, or pushing through those really tough sessions.
- Embrace the journey – Therapy is very much a journey and oftentimes it won’t look anything like you’d imagine or what you saw on TV. There’ll be twists and turns, ups and downs, discoveries and doubts. The best thing to do is to embrace the ebbs and flows of this journey and trust that you’ve made the best and brave decision for yourself.