My Life Be Like

Normalizing Therapy for Our Culture

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I’m a normal person —at least I thought I was. In my mind, normal people don’t go to therapy. Therapy was for people with deep rooted issues. Until I realized that normal is a circumstantial word. Everyone’s “normal” is different due to life experiences. After much contemplation, I made the decision to meet with my current therapist. I had my reservations walking into therapy. Did therapy mean something was wrong with me?  I didn’t need someone telling me who I was. I didn’t need someone trying to define me with textbook terms. I wasn’t like “those” people. I knew myself, I knew my triggers, and I was working on them. So this session would be a waste of time—until it wasn’t.

My first therapy session was casual and free of judgment. It felt like catching up with a friend you haven’t seen since college. Until she asked questions that I couldn’t quite find the answer for. Usually, I had an answer for EVERYTHING. Yet, here I was and I couldn’t tell her why I was an overthinker. It was just part of my complex character to do it. I couldn’t tell her why I had this wall up when it came to people in my life. However, she knew that my overthinking was undiagnosed anxiety. She also knows that wall is related to trust. I learned more about myself in that hour than I thought. Each session is like peeling the layer of an onion. Therapy has been beneficial in me discovering my purpose and what I require. I realized that even my “normal” could use some help. Therapy is giving me freedom to live unfiltered. People can no longer make me feel guilty about things I’m healing myself from. Therapy isn’t about ego, it’s about your soul. Getting to reason of your why. I’m discovering my new normal and I’m not embarrassed to say it.

We look at therapy like it’s a death sentence. In all honesty, it’s freedom—freedom to be who you are. In the black community going to therapy means something is wrong. It’s become a stigma to talk about our mental health. We like to believe that depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders just don’t happen to us. For decades, we’ve been conditioned to believe that mental health equates to crazy. The minute therapy is mentioned, the first thought is what’s wrong with that person? Our mind starts to paint a negative image of someone else’s why, what, or how. This stems from the mindset that God can fix all and the faithful “what happens here, stays here” line. So many people are walking around just existing because of that mindset. So many people are settling because they don’t know better exist. Its time to break the cycle and the generational curses. Prayer is effective, but so is getting to the root of the issue with a licensed professional. Its perfectly acceptable to not be okay all the time. We only free ourselves when we admit that an issue exists. We have to stop making mental health feel like a taboo. When in actuality, it should be an essential component from the start of our lives.

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