“People need to realize that therapy can benefit anyone. It’s an open space to talk about anything that you’re going through.”
When I was in my sophomore year of college, I was having a really hard time coping with a lot of the things in my life; from work, to school, to the passing of a lot of important people in my family. It came to a point where I was no longer able to function outside of myself and my space.
I’ve never really been one to care that much about my mental health. As long as I was able to do my job and get homework done, I didn’t really care about the things that were going on in my mind.
It wasn’t until it started affecting my grades and my paycheck that I started to take it seriously. That’s when I realized that I had to do something.
I didn’t know what to do, especially in communities of color, mental illness isn’t really talked about. Depression and anxiety are things that you can ‘pray away’ or ‘if you just have a better outlook on life you’ll be fine’ or ‘you have to make the choice to be happy’.
Yet, I was trying to make the choice, but it still wasn’t happening. I was trying to put in the effort, but my body and my mind weren’t connected, so that I could do that.
Thankfully, I had a support system, from home and on-campus, of people who realized that I wasn’t okay, no matter how much I tried to hide it. I had people who were close to me and who were able to put the fire under me to go see a therapist.
After a couple visits in therapy, I felt so guilty about it. I felt that if my parents found out that they’d be sad and feel like they had failed as parents. Or if my friends found out, they would think I was crazy.
I felt terrible for airing my dirty laundry. I wasn’t even thinking about myself and my well-being. Eventually, I started my journey for self-healing and self-discovery by starting my therapy sessions again.
I finally had a therapist who helped me view my mental health as homework, which is really good for me. Treating myself like work makes me know that I can do it. Cognitive brain therapy has been especially helpful for me.
My parents see mental illness as not really a luxury that I can afford as a woman of color. But I saw that I needed to make my mental health a priority or else I wouldn’t be able to be successful.
People need to realize that therapy can benefit anyone. It’s an open space to talk about anything that you’re going through. It’s so important to change the conversation when it comes to mental illness and to make it more accessible for everyone.