I feel like when black people think of therapy the first thing that comes to mind is, “That’s white people shit” and “What do I look like telling a stranger my business?”
For me, when it came to therapy, it was something I had thought about here and there but figured there was nothing happening in my life that called for me seeing a therapist. I figured it was more so for people that had gone through a trauma, grew up in a dysfunctional environment or had mental issues; you know things along those line. But, I was wrong. Therapy isn’t just white people shit and it doesn’t always have to be for those with extreme issues.
For the most part I’m always extremely calm and have myself together but with me losing my job I felt nothing but stressed and I started drinking a lot more than usual. I had the free time and since the alcohol was there I was like why not, just drink it girl. So, about a month after being off work I finally made an appointment to set up some aid. Once I found out I was approved they set me up for welfare-to-work, which requires you to do some hours. With that came a program called SMART and I seen my opportunity to finally try out this therapy thing and work through the stress I’d been feeling.
Here’s what I learned about myself from the few sessions I’ve had:
- I care more about other’s feelings than my own.
- I’m always the one making sure everyone else is taken care of/okay but I don’t have anyone taking care of me.
- My coping mechanism for everything is to smile especially when in an uncomfortable situation.
- I don’t know much about my family, as I’m realizing we don’t talk much about our problems. We tend to bury things deep down and ignore situations that we may have had with each other in the past.
- Crying is a sign of weakness to me which is why I try my best to hold in my tears.
Things I’d Change:
Well, really there is only one thing I’d change, I’d go to a black therapist. Culturally, a black therapist would be able to understand me more than this white lady I’m seeing. Sometimes, I talk to her and I can tell she has no clue what I’m talking about. Even her use of language makes me side eye her and I just think she’s probably more confused than I am at this moment. Might I add, I absolutely hate when I walk into the office and she ask, “What do you want to talk about today?” It’s pretty much the equivalent of, “So how does that make you feel?” I don’t fucking know, that’s why I’m here.
I will admit the 1st 2 months did me some justice but now I’m at the point where I’ve realized I can cope with my stress on my own, especially after the last session I had with her. We talked about ways I can deal with my stress and instead of her coming up with solutions I came up with them on my own. So instead of going 4 times a month I’ve decided to go twice a month. Thank goodness the therapy is free because at this point I’d feel like I’d be wasting money. That doesn’t mean I’m counting the whole process out. I believe it can definitely be helpful for people with stress, trauma they didn’t know they had or maybe buried deep down, and even those who just feel like they have no one to talk to.
My advice is shop around, especially if you have the funds to do so. Find someone that you can trust, feel comfortable with and may come from a background similar to yours aka if you’re black get a black therapist. You can turn that, “white people shit” into your shit.