AfricanAmericans - Depression -
Guest Post,  Inspiration

Why Therapists are the new Black and the 5 Reasons You Need One

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome guest blogger Jill Badu.

You ever see someone with a visible physical ailment and they are always talking or complaining about it? And inevitably you think to yourself: ‘They should really go see someone about that’. Well as a mental health professional myself, I often think that about other people. But every now and then I turn that clinical eye inward and think to myself, ‘girl you need to go see someone, you are all messed up in the head’. 

At the top of this year I decided this would be a year where I work on becoming my best self. Going to therapy was at the top of my list of how I would accomplish that. Being no stranger to the therapy couch, I found me a therapist and crossed my fingers and prayed that we would hit it off.
Some people will judge you and assume you are crazy or tell you that you are fine and that you don’t need that. Others will think, well aren’t you a therapist? Why would you go see a therapist? For the same reasons a surgeon would go see a surgeon if they needed surgery, DUH!
Being in the field doesn’t exclude me from the stresses of life or deep-seeded issues.

Below you will find the top 5 reasons to see a therapist.

1. You pay for that shyt

Most people who have a company sponsored health insurance plan have mental health coverage. So it doesn’t hurt to call and get a list of in-network providers in your area. There could be a co-pay involved though. One loophole that a lot of companies offer is an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) and one of the standard benefits is “X” amount of free therapy sessions. No co-pay, you just go in, talk, walk out, and repeat that for however many sessions you are allotted. So if for no other reason, make good use of something that is already being paid for.

2. Check your self talk

African-americans-in-therapy-session2 - OpinionatedMale.comWTF did I just say to me? We are our own toughest critics. (Like right now as I’m writing this I’m saying to myself, ‘don’t sound stupid, Stupid!’) Negative self-talk leads to negative/unreal beliefs about one’s self. But because these are the things that we say to ourselves, there’s no one to check us on it. Until…. (insert therapist’s name here). A typical exchange with my therapist Kim will go like this:

Me: Hey Kim. 
Kim: How was your week?
Me: (runs through my mental log of all the times I went low when I should have gone high) I’m doing good… ok maybe not good but I’m here. 
Kim: Ok, so tell me about it. You’re making a face, what’s going on?
Me: I’m Single AF Kim and my fear is that I will be that way forever. 
Kim: Ok, let’s go with that. So you are single as fuck, your words not mine.  Define to me this perpetual state of single as fuckdom. 
Me: Well Kim, it’s like going through life old and alone and no one loves you because you are ultimately unlovable. 
Kim: *clutches pearls* Oh my! That’s a lot going on there. 

And for the remaining 52 minutes that we have together, I am forced to look at the things that I say to me about me. Sifting through the self-sabotaging bullshit versus the things that are actually based on reality.

3. You can keep it 100

I can talk to Kim about anything and there are no repercussions in my personal life. You know how it is when keeping it real goes wrong. Most, if not all the people in our lives have a proverbial horse in the race. I can tell you about yourself, but if you don’t receive it well, it can impact our future interactions. So not only do I use Kim as a personal sounding board, but I can talk all the shit I want about who I want and it stays there. Plus she helps me find a better approach than just telling everyone to go fcuk themselves.

4. You get comfortable using the “F” word

African-americans-in-therapy-session3 - OpinionatedMale.comContrary to popular portrayal, we all have… dare I say the word… feelings! Ugh, that was hard. In an age where the #goal is to be #unbothered, we all are out here frontin’ about our feelings; especially if you are single and dating, it has become about survival of the fittest.

Being vulnerable and telling someone how we feel is the equivalent of being a baby antelope with a broken leg in the wild. You are easy prey. If I tell you how I feel, you will use those same feelings to feeling-shame me. Thus leaving me to feel bad about myself and wondering what is wrong with me. So we all pretend to be non-feeling savages, when the reality is that every text that stays on READ with no reply is a serious blow to our egos.

But there is honestly nothing wrong with feeling something and sharing with someone what those actual feelings are. For example, when you get that “hey stranger” text from the guy who you stopped texting weeks ago because he would either under-respond or not respond at all, you can say to him: Not hearing from you consistently makes me feel like you are not truly interested in getting to know me and that doesn’t feel good.

*Holds breath for response to sharing feelings*

9 times out of 10 a sad excuse wrapped with a half-apology will follow, along with a turning of the table, “Well you never hit me up either“, and from there you can decide where you want to go (If he’s cute, he will most likely be given another chance to disappoint you, or you will make pseudo plans for him to make it up to you because after all he is “interested” and “life just got crazy busy”).

5. We all have issues

African-americans-in-therapy-session - OpinionatedMale.comI’m finding more and more that most of those issues are unresolved. And we walk through life carrying these issues like our carry-on baggage during our travels through life. We walk into every interaction with this luggage. Sometimes we get comfortable enough with someone where we might unzip it, open it up, move some stuff around, but never really getting rid of anything in there. Over time, we [continue to] add more and more issues to our suitcase until it can’t take anymore stuff, and then we begin doing all sorts of things to make everything fit inside it while expecting to store our baggage into the small overhead bin. But, eventually what happens is that it gets to be too big and we have to check it as a full-sized suitcase and pay for it.

[The] same thing happens when we don’t deal with our issues. They become so big that we end up having to pay a hefty fee. How many good people have we lost in our lives because of unresolved issues? How many opportunities do we miss because we don’t believe in ourselves? How many toxic people do we keep in our lives because we don’t value ourselves? There are so many opportunities for growth and evolution of self that can be had as a result of just taking the time to go see someone.

So fellas and ladies do you feel it’s actually beneficial to see someone? Do you tackle your issues yourself? What are your thoughts on my thoughts?

– Jill

Jill Badu is a licensed clinical social worker who has been working in the mental health field for over a decade. When she is not working, you can find her cooking up a delicious meal for friends and family or hear her x-rated commentary on the Henny and Hotwings Podcast.
[Post title updated on 01/15/19. Originally entitled, “Top 5 Reasons it’s Important for You to see a Therapist”]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *