written by Jada Walton
In 2018, I started seeing a therapist and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. First, just know that therapy never gave me any miracle breakthrough moment like in the movies, that’s not real. It did provide numerous moments of clarity, good advice, and self-reflection. It also helped me better understand myself and why I do certain things (trauma that comes from years of being a giver and having too much pride to ask for help). Most importantly, it provided me with validation, reassuring me that I wasn't "crazy" when things got too intense for me to comprehend.
Being in therapy was like walking through life with a friend who I knew wouldn't run and tell my business or ever judge me. I am private and prideful and it can be hard for me to share certain parts of my life with people. Having someone I knew I could share every part of my soul to, even the ugliest parts was one of most refreshing experiences I’ve ever had.
I’ve often been labeled as "the strong friend" and knew I needed therapy. The pressures that come with being a Black Woman alone meant I should seek therapy. I learned there's not a certain level of "messed up" you must be to see a therapist. I realized that therapy was one of the highest levels of self-care. It was a way for me to keep my mental health in check and at the same time have someone hold me accountable on being a better person for myself.
Due to systemic racism many black americans are faced with mental health concerns. Being a black American and growing up in Philly was traumatizing. Sometimes the people we love die, people around us are “toxic”, and terrible life experiences happen to us. We start to pick up “toxic” behaviors to help us cope with the awful things people and society have done to us. All those circumstances were true for me and shaped me into a woman I am today, good, and bad.
We weren't ever taught how to process our emotions and internalized bad experiences. We don't recognize how certain things impacted us and as a result we can’t cope or respond to things in a better way.
Therapy can help you cope with everyday life and it helps you slowly deal with deep rooted issues that could have affected you throughout life. While collecting your thoughts in therapy you learn about your stressors in life and dealing with diverse ways of coping mechanisms.
2018 was one of the hardest years of my life and honestly, I don't know how I would've gotten through it without therapy. I still question how and why we are taught to memorize dates of old historic battles, but not useful things such as taxes or communicating our emotions. I am proud of myself for investing and prioritizing my mental health and asking for help - I wish the same for you.