Um, yes. I should should end this post with that response, but I will add to write about why Black folks should get therapy and why they possibly haven’t.
Starting with why we don’t:
1. Because our Mama didn’t need therapy,
2. Because we are told Black folks don’t need therapy,
3. Because we are told therapy is for rich White folk who don’t have anything better to do,
4. Because we don’t tell people our business,
5. Because we think we can handle our own problems, and
6. Because we don’t have the money to waste on therapy.
Ending with why we should:
1. Coming from hard times with harsh childhoods and limited resources does not make us “extra Black”. We tend to believe these hard times have made us stronger. I challenge you to define strong. If strong means you have accepted what has happened and have not allowed previous hard times to impede on the optimism of your future, then perhaps you can manage all of life’s stress with a full heart. If you define strong as forging through life feeling you’ve got to “step to” anybody who thinks for a minute of “getting over,” then I would say that’s a life filled with anxiety.
2. The secret is out: Black folks hurt just like White or any other folk. We have needed and still need to create determination and perseverance and that is emotionally draining. There is no prize for masking hurt. Knowing that you are hurt is not weakness. Pretending you are not hurt makes you feel weaker.
3. “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” -African proverb (Note: you now Africa is a really big continent with a lot of countries; did everybody in Africa say this?) My cynicism aside, we use this proverb to stand proudly on the history that we used to help each other within our own community, BUT nowadays, we don’t go to Anyone to ask for help.
4. For those of us who are receiving some kind of health insurance, do we carefully read our benefit plans to see the range of services that we pay for or that government programs offer? Reading is a gift! You may find mental health care is more affordable than you think. For those of us without health care, how about considering calling somebody and explaining what you need? They may be able to help or refer you to someone who can. Knowledge is a power!
5. Suffering in silence is not sexy. You think you are hiding your pain with great outfits, a fake smile, money in the bank, fancy car, lots of people around you, a dream job and you are that person your family and friends seek when they need help. That makes you think you are not suffering. But, when that voice inside says, “You’re not good enough. You’re a faker. You’re not happy,” it’s time to get it all out so you can be as confident on the inside as you look on the outside.
6. There is absolutely no payoff to not taking care of yourself and not getting help. Ignoring mental health and physical health issues does not make you a better person. You may be the “strong” one that everyone turns to, but what happens to you? When people come to you in need, you become their emotional sponge and absorb their energy. Look carefully at used sponges – lint collects on them, bacteria grows in them and the edges fray. After the sponge can longer absorb (meaning, you as the sponge emotionally falls apart), the sponge gets discarded. If you are the helper in your family and really enjoy that role, know that it can be overwhelming. Let someone help you figure out how to be useful, not used.