If there is a myth that the African American community deals with the most, it is this: “Black people don’t need to go to therapy! We’re strong all by ourselves!” Or my personal favorite: “We got the Lord on our side! We don’t need therapy!” News flash everyone, black people go to therapy as well!
There are too many people in the African American community who believe these myths. It’s not that the African American community isn’t strong, it is that our pride can be so blinding, that we put our mental health on the back burner. I can’t count the many times I’ve heard these quotes. So, allow me to give my culture a reality check.
I came across some research. I found an article by Joseph A. Baldwin, and he creates this theory called, “The African Personality (The Black Personality). According to Baldwin, The African Self-Extension Orientation is the foundation of the Black personality: It is the organizing principle of the entire system. It is innate (biogenetically determined), unconscious, and operationally defined by the concept of spirituality;-a dynamic energy that allows the self to merge (extend) into the totality of phenomenal experience. African Self-Consciousness derives from the African Self Extension Orientation and is essentially an undifferentiated process; from the African Self-Extension Orientation under normal-natural conditions.”
You’re probably asking, what does all of this mean? After reading this, it made sense. We have this attitude that our personal experience is what makes us stronger (which I do believe). But, think about it like this; we can’t do it all on our own.
I’ll give you a back story. Right now, I feel like I have to face trauma that I’ve dealt with for the 21 years I’ve been on Earth. I am proud to say that I believe in God, and I believe that he has created nothing but miracles, signs, and wonders in my life. I could give you a list of how God is good. Yet, you would be reading the list for a very long time. Throughout all of this, I do believe that God will make a way through my healing. However, there is a scripture in the Bible that I will stand by till this day.
“Faith without works is dead.”
I’m not only trying to pray for healing. I’m going to therapy. I love God, but I am not afraid to say that I need therapy. I can’t heal without doing the work. I must be able to depend on God, and live my life on my own terms.
To the African American community, think about what Barack Obama quoted. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something and to learn something new.” Going to therapy can be refreshing, because you are releasing your fears and trauma, and you are claiming your life back!