Dear Sistafriend,

Last week Sistafriend Timka shared her struggles with facing her feelings. But how exactly do you begin to do this work? One way that I have found extremely useful over the past two years is THERAPY. Yep, I said it, therapy.  

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There is so much stigma in the Black community regarding therapy:

“Our business is our business.”
“What happens in this house stays in this house.”
“Go talk to Pastor.”
“Just pray about it.”

I think that as a survival mechanism our community has learned to keep our issues and concerns to ourselves as a way to protect each other. However, keeping issues, feelings, and emotions bottled up is detrimental to our mental and physical health. Some people believe that you must have a diagnosed mental illness to go talk to a professional – which isn’t true.

Frankly, sometimes pastor just don’t have all the answers. Sometimes the issues you need to deal with are familial, and it may not be productive or healthy for you to discuss them with your family members. Sometimes, you need a neutral third party, to offer insights that can only be observed from a person that is less emotionally involved.  Sometimes, it’s just nice to talk to someone for an hour without feeling guilty that you’re complaining too much or talking too much about yourself. These folks are trained professionals and have worked hard to obtain their degrees and certifications. In other words, they know what they’re doing!! They have various coping mechanisms to offer you. Articles and books for you to read. They work with you as you work through any and everything you’re dealing with in your daily life. *My friends also believe in the power of therapy!

My therapist, let’s call her Amanda, is absolutely amazing! I specifically sought out a Black woman therapist because I mean who else would be able to best understand me and my life? Let me tell y’all. Amanda is EVERYTHING. I was pretty hesitant when I first began because I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting into. Nobody recommended her to me. But I couldn’t have fathomed how much of a great match she was/is for me and who I’m becoming.

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We can talk about religion, parental upbringing, natural hair struggles, racism, books I’m reading for school. You name it, we can discuss it all. She has become such an important force in my life! Like I wish we could go have drinks or that I could invite her to my future wedding or graduation ceremony. But #HIPPA laws be blockin’. Our connection may also be deeper because we are from the same geographic area or maybe I just got real lucky on this one. I’m not sure. (*Disclaimer: Although this is my experience, it may not be true for everyone.)

I have grown SO much since I started sessions with her. She gives homework, pushes me to think deeper about decisions I’m contemplating or feelings I’m going through. She urges me to stop and check in with myself because sometimes I get caught up in the day to day and find myself overwhelmed, overextended and completely exhausted.

I was devastated about leaving her in Dallas when I moved to Illinois. What was I going to do? I was never going to be able to find anyone like her! We had just gotten started! She had become an important person on my journey through life. For months, I didn’t do any type of therapy because I was just not interested in starting over with anyone else. (It really felt like a break up y’all!) I finally reached out to Amanda like girl, we have to work this out, I need you! (Okay so I didn’t say that but you get it.) So now I log on to Vsee (pretty much like skype) once a month for an hour to ensure that I am taking time for myself, dealing with life’s obstacles and emotions, building healthy boundaries with the people in my life and taking time to enjoy the moment.

Take the first step toward a happier, healthier journey by searching for a therapist near you. You can search by insurance, issues, religion, gender, language and more. [Note: That really sounded like an advertisement, but I honestly did use this site to find Amanda and found her on the first try.]

Your Sista Friend,

Devean Owens

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