There have been so many negative things in the media in the last few months. Racial tensions are at an all time high, heated discussions about the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage, police brutality, and homicide rates on the rise in some cities just to name a few. If you watch the news or are an avid reader of social media, you may think people are unstable and the world has gone crazy. I have often said that if one is not grounded or has faith, all the world’s craziness could make someone lose his or her mind. We know that for some people it may not take much to push them to their breaking point. Many are depressed and fighting internal battles that are not outwardly visible or can be picked up through a casual conversation.
I have read many social media posts that remind me the struggle is real for so many people. I know there is not a single solution for many issues that people are facing. When I was a young adult and started experiencing real life issues or noticed friends and family struggling with challenges, the advice given to many especially from elders was, “You better pray about it.” But what I realized is that at times when we are going through internal struggles, we may not even feel connected to God. And let me be the first to tell you, that is not a good feeling!
I recall in the 90’s after one on my relationships ended, I felt a little stuck. I talked to my closest friends but I was still not feeling better. During one of our conversations my friend suggested I go talk to a therapist. I really thought he had lost his mind. I instantly said to him, “Black people don’t go see therapists to discuss their problems. “ He quickly responded, “I’ve seen one before.” I was shocked by his confession and realized that I did not know everything about one of my closest friends.
Based on his advice I contacted my health insurance and I was able to get five free sessions. Based on my experience, I would recommend seeing a therapist. Here are some reasons why:
- Anonymity– I felt very safe and free discussing my issues with someone that I had no history with and in most cases would never see again. It was freeing.
- No judgments– my walls were down because I knew that I was not being judged based on my past behavior. Most of us don’t seek support or guidance from others due to the fear of being judged. It was my stuff and I had to own it.
- Secrecy– no one had to know unless I shared my story. What I realized along time ago is that some people cannot handle your truth or your journey and that’s okay.
- A process of self discovery– a lot of times the therapist would just sit there and let me ramble. At the conclusion of a session, I realized I knew that answer all along but I needed to go through the process. This is also why I often suggest to people that journaling is a good idea.
- Dissect a problem– sometimes I did not know how to dissect or breakdown the problem to get to the root cause. Once I learned how to dissect the problem, I was able to formulate a plan to bring about change.
- Solutions focused– once I was able to dissect the problem, it was much easier to come up with a solution. I started holding myself accountable for my actions and goals.
- Peace of mind– once I had peace of mind, I had confidence, renewed strength, focus towards my goals and the ability to start enjoying life again.
There are misconceptions surrounding professional help: it is a sign of weakness, a person is crazy, it is costly, it’s about placing blame or it could even make things worst. I read recently that not discussing a traumatic event or confiding it to another person could be more harmful than the actual event. I believe that once you deal with traumatic events, you are no longer giving them power over your life and therefore can start the healing process. Whether you pray, meditate, talk to friends or pastor, going to a therapist is just another solution for dealing with life’s challenges and getting support.
Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder. Let the challenges make you strong! ~Author Unknown