“I’m a strong Black Woman. I DON’T need therapy!”
“I’m a strong Black man. I DON’T need therapy!”
How many times have we heard these lines? How many times have we agreed with these lines?
How many times have we witnessed the hurt, pain and trauma in individuals whom have stated these lines?
In our Brown community, many of us continue to hold stigmatizing views and beliefs about mental illness. A study by Alvidrez et al., (2008) found that among Blacks who were already mental health consumers, over a third felt that mild depression or anxiety would be considered "crazy" in their social circles. Talking about problems with an outsider, as an example, a therapist, may be viewed as airing one's "dirty laundry," and even more telling is the fact that over a quarter of those consumers felt that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate even among family (www.psychologytoday.net). Dr. Metzger is the founder of a platform, Therapy for Black Girls, which provides resources for women of color, states that taking care of your mental health has historically been perceived as a lack of strength (Dion Metzger, MD). She is a brown girl who is committed to breaking these barriers. As I have traveled along the therapy journey myself, I shall use my story, my platform and my creative outlet to contribute in the ways that I am able to break these barriers as well.
“I STAND for therapy!”
A sun-drenched Tuesday afternoon was the ending to what seemed like ten years, yet was only a week. The weeks were consistency feeling like years and the days, like weeks. The joy of Christmas was in the air and although I do not celebrate holidays, it was the time when families spend the most time together. The time when no individual seems to be unhappy, a time when joy, laughter and white pillows fill the streets of New York. A time when pink felt like hell, when my queen-sized bed was the most soothing place to be and when a heartbroken brown girl couldn’t crack a smile even if Jim Carrey was on the screen. A place of low. The bottom of the cereal box low, when all you wanted was one bowl of cereal and some alien in the house leaves what looks like a fully filled to the brim box of sweet, crunchy, mouth watering yumminess, yet has crumbs that could only be gotten up by a vacuum. (My brother used to do that and it would drive me insane!) Feeling like nothing could be done to get me out of my funk, no mom, friends, family, shopping, or anything changed the way in which the feelings and emotions began to run my life. Something had to be done. Something needed to change.
Big, brown, bushy-haired, 12-year old Nova stepped into thoughts of going to a therapist. “Remember when they tried to make you go to a therapist when you were a little girl?” Surrounding my membrane and ventricles, I doubted even thinking about taking the steps towards therapy. “I did not want to go in the past, so why would on Earth would I want it now?? I am not crazy!” (Another line in which we often hear our Brown community preach.) This self-talk permeated daily, continuing to allow me to stay away from therapy, once again, as I had bouts of attempts and trails since the days of my bushy puffs.
Bellowing between the thoughts of defeating self-talk was a woman named Lacy Phillips, the guru behind Free and Native. She is a manifestation guru that works with individuals on centering filling the biggest gaps of limiting beliefs, lack, and dimmed magnetism stemming from childhood to allow you to manifest whatever it is that you want and are destined for in your life. Her tools and resources are focused on reprogramming your subconscious as a way to increase your magnetism and manifestation process. Each level of the process focuses on a certain realm of healing in your life. The portion titled, Unblocking, focuses on phases in childhood and adolescence that are crucial to self-esteem, self-worth, and magnetism. And although Lucy isn’t a therapist, the ideas, theory and practice behind manifestation aligned with how I have always projected my life and future.
Manifestation is an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, especially a theory or an abstract idea. It is about connecting with your intentions and unblocking your subconscious mind to bring what it is that you desire in your life. I wanted tangible things of course, most of all though, I wanted myself back. If this was going to happen through manifestation, then manifestation was what I was going to do. In manifesting, a huge portion is digging deep within your past, experiences, feelings and people, to basically address what has happened within and between those few things. In this, I knew I wanted an expert to help me unpack and take that roller coaster ride back into time. I looked 12-year old Nova in the eye and said, “I’m doing this for you.”
“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Facing my past and current allowed me get down and dirty with the layers that had been built upon the years of disgust, pain, feelings of unworthiness and low self-love. Thus far, it has allowed me to bounce back and forth between my past and present to address, attack and embrace what has occurred in my life. It has been a whirlwind of discovery, emotions, feelings, and the best part of all, growth. Although I am still on my journey of unpacking and unblocking my past, and will be on it for awhile, I will continue in therapy until my big, bushy brown puffs turn into big, bushy, grey puffs.
According to Mental Health America, talking with a therapist or counselor can help you deal with thoughts, behaviors, symptoms, stresses, goals, past experiences and other areas that can promote your recovery. Of course, talking with a therapist about personal issues can be tough, but it can help you come to grips with problems in your life. It can also offer an emotional release and a sense of really being heard, understood and supported.
Therapy can help you to:
feel stronger in the face of challenges
change behaviors that hold you back
look at ways of thinking that affect how you feel
heal pains from the past
build relationship skills
figure out your goals
strengthen your self-confidence
cope with symptoms
handle strong emotions like fear, grief or anger
enhance your problem solving skills
The following are a few common types of therapy:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has two main aspects. The cognitive part works to develop helpful beliefs about your life. The behavioral side helps you learn to take healthier actions. CBT often works well for depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, but it can also be used for other various conditions.
Interpersonal therapy focuses largely on improving relationships and helping a person express emotions in healthy ways. This approach often works well for depression. A variation of it called "interpersonal and social rhythm therapy" often works well for bipolar disorder because it also helps develop a daily schedule that supports recovery.
Family therapy helps family members communicate, handle conflicts and solve problems better. Forms of family therapy often are used for treating eating disorders and bipolar disorder.
Psychodynamic therapy helps people develop a better understanding about their unconscious emotions and motivations that can affect their thoughts and actions.
Art therapy can include using music, dance, drawing and other art forms to help express emotions and promote healing.
Psychoeducation helps people understand mental health conditions and ways to promote recovery.
For more information on types of therapy visit the National Institute of Mental Health website at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies/index.shtml.
“Therapy has heightened my life in ways I could have never imagined.”
The days of flipping through the thousands of pages and ending up with black fingertips are long gone, and ohhhhh thank goodness. Here today, we have google and various search engines and pages in which we may find things such as a therapist. As I looked for a therapist, many thoughts, questions and concerns came to my mind. Should I have a male or a female? Should they be Brown or otherwise? Young or old? Near or far? Wrecking my brain, I shifted my thinking and decided to think about the qualities in which I wanted in a person that I would chose as my therapist: open-minded, loving, guiding, understanding, non-judgmental, willing and giving. These led me in my find to connect with the most genuine, unique and wise woman that I have now grown to love.
In finding a therapist, my first suggestion would be to get a recommendation from someone who knows the therapist well. This will allow you to gather some insight and feedback about the individual.
You may also find a therapist via your insurance. Insurance pages and contact lines provide you with therapists who are within your plan, therefore would be covered by them.
Lastly, you can find a therapist close to you in one of the searches that I have provided below. On each of these sites, you enter your zip code to find a few therapists that are within a certain mileage from you. If you prefer online interaction, there are even some online therapists! I did not even know this existed when I began my search.
Find a Therapist!!
However you go about finding a therapist, be sure that they are someone in which you feel great vibes with, connect with and trust. Feelings of highly positive vibes and connections should be evoked within the first visit, whereas trust may not as it takes some more time to build. It is essential that you feel comfortable with the individual and the space in order for you to be your most natural and vulnerable self. How can one grow if these aren’t the initials?
Think deeply about what your goals are for yourself and what and how you would like to benefit from therapy. From here, ponder which qualities you would like your therapist to possess. Therapy is for and about you, catering to your being and moving forward in being your most authentic self. Travel on to being that, I encourage you to get your therapy going and continuing on your journey, all of course while being,
Let me know in the comments or on IG if you try any of the ways in which I bring myself back from not feeling my naturally positive, bubbly and chipper self!!
Unapologetically Me. Unapologetically You. Unapologetically Us.
Shop the Look:
Please find the links for my outfit below. My shirt is from The Gap from about 15 years ago! I now consider it vintage GAP. Additonally, I am utterly excited that I can fit it again!! GOOOOO MEEEE!! My shoes are from a few years back. I purchased them from Zara. A great updated version, pictured below, are sold at Asos.
Sorry, yet not sorry Alessandro, the way in which I operate my fashion world seems to have inspired you to use Mickey’s head as purses for Spring ‘19. I’ve been doing this son. Mine is not actually made as a pocket book though, it is a picnic accessories holder that I turned into a pocketbook!! Cheers to living fashionably outside of the lines. (Ya’ll know I still want that Gucci one though, though :D )
Don’t forget to tag me and hashtag #inspiredbynova if you purchase any items from my look! OR are inspired by me in any way!!
Happy Shopping!! :D