To some extent we all long to be understood. And any self-aware human being who understands the importance of growth, longs to be challenged. We all want someone in our life who can provide both a challenge and a sense of comfort. Someone who will listen without judgement and offer help when it’s requested. We are all searching for The One. Some people spend close to a lifetime searching for “the one”. They search their inner circles looking for guidance and looking to be directed in the right direction with hopes that “the one” will show up through familiar faces. Some search in silence and wander outside of their immediate friend groups, with hopes that they'll discover “the one” on their own. Then there are those who truly thought that they had found “the one” and then when they were sadly mistaken, they gave up and never tried again. When I finally found the one I had been searching for 2 years, but eventually gave up trying to focus on other things. I found her at a time when I was no longer actively trying because in my mind I didn't need her. Not just yet. I was fine without her. But much like all of the other great things in my life she showed up totally unexpected and I knew right away that she was THE ONE. My idea of the perfect therapist.
A couple years ago, I had my first experience with a therapist. I saw her every week for about 6 weeks. At that time I was dealing with the aftermath of leaving a job and having no backup plan, feeling lost in my professional life and my personal life, a toxic relationship that left me broken, and issues with having too much pride to allow the people who were there for me help me during this tough time. I sought counseling to help me with these issues but did never expressed them to the people who were closest to me because I felt as though I was expected to have it all together. And I definitely did not. All of these things held hands with my depression like they were the best of friends and I was losing it internally. I cried every single day for almost two months and lost every once of motivation that I had to do the things I truly loved. I am someone who occasionally feels things on extreme levels. My mental and emotional spaces are hyper-sensitive to certain things. I either feel strongly or nothing at all. So when I was dealing with these things I felt them on a level that triggered every negative emotion in ways I had never experienced before and I knew I needed to seek professional help.
My mother was working for a company that offered mental health benefits for family members and she allowed me to take advantage of that and see a therapist. The very first session was eye-opening and I wasn’t expecting all of the emotions that I had bottled up to spill out so soon. The floodgates were open and I was still crying as I was walking to my car after leaving the office.
Before I headed home, I sat in my car trying to process what I had just experienced. My mind was still cloudy but I knew that despite everything I was feeling, I somehow felt good. Better, even. That first encounter, though it was a whirlwind emotionally, made me eager to go back and continue to do the work that was required of me to get back to being my best self. The sessions after that first one were fine, but that was it. They were just fine. There were no more breakthroughs. No more “ah-ha!” moments. There was a disconnect and at times I felt like the therapist was becoming too much of a coddler. I felt like she felt sorry for me and openly expressed that instead of giving me that honest "tough love" feel that I was looking for. Something was missing and I knew that I wouldn’t be seeing her anymore. When we approached the 6 week mark and started discussing how the sessions would be paid for going forward (the benefits only allowed for a certain amount of free sessions before they require you to pay and they cover a percentage), I decided that I wasn't going to see her anymore, and the search began.
Once those sessions ended I actively sought out black therapist in my area. I had a clear idea of the type of therapist I wanted and the type of healing I needed. While I searched, I made sure that I did what I could on my own to heal me. I handled my mental and emotional issues on my own with the help of prayer, meditation, reading, and deep self-seeking. I found who I was in midst of my storm and I became more self aware and stronger than ever. But I am a person who believes that learning never stops and although I was in a good space, I knew that the work needed to continue. I knew I wasn’t done and I knew that there were still parts of me that I need to discover and better understand. So I started my quest again and searched for a black therapist who would be able to help me on this journey.
Why a black therapist? With the way the world is today it is so important for me to share my experiences and gain insight from someone who looks like me. Someone who will understand my struggles on a level someone of another race might not be able to. And I felt that that might’ve been where me and with my last therapist were disconnected. Aside from her feeling sorry for me and expressing that in strange ways, I didn’t feel like she quite understood what I was dealing with as a young black woman. So my heart told me to find someone who could relate and someone that I would feel comfortable talking to if we were away from the four walls of their office and somewhere having a conversation over coffee. I had seen two black therapist. One was an older man and the other was a younger woman. Of the two I felt more connected to the woman, but she wasn't the one. There was still something missing so I kept searching.
I had tried talk space but if you know me you know how much I value face-to-face interactions. I love connections and being able to see someone physically and be in their space (respectfully of course). I like being able to hear someone's voice and vocally express myself, especially when it comes to serious matters. With talk space you are matched with a licensed therapist but it is all digital. I'm not a huge texter and committing to talking to a therapist through an app. So again, I put my search on hold. I would still did my googles for black therapist in my area every once in a while, but I wasn't searching the way I had been before. I was back to doing the work by myself with the tools that life had given me and doing my absolute best.
One day, I randomly decided to log onto Therapyforblackgirls.com and see what the site was about. It was easy to navigate which I appreciated considering I was using my work computer at the time and didn’t want no problems with IT lol. I put my information in regarding my location and 3 pages full of black licensed professionals popped up. I was so surprised and excited. I felt like i was shopping for a new girl friend. Each profile was extremely informative and I felt like I was finally getting closer to finding what I needed. But because I had believed that i was good at that given moment, I didn’t follow trough with scheduling an appointment with any of them. It wasn’t until 3 weeks after I had discovered the wonders of Therapy For Black Girls that I decided to take a chance and revisit the site, this time with the intentions of scheduling an appointment and meeting with one of these women. I searched through the site again and picked my top 5, then shortened it to my top two, and eventually made the decision to go with who I felt would be The One. Via Therapyforblackgirls.com I was able to access my now therapist’s direct website and make an appointment. The entire process was a breeze and once my appointment was confirmed I was 100% ready!
The week of our first meeting felt almost like preparing for a first date lol. I was super nervous and excited and ready to pour out all of my thoughts, worries, and feelings. The moment I walked into her office, I felt a warm feeling like I was meant to be there in that moment. I went in with an agenda and there were specific things that I wanted to touch on immediately because they were heavy on my heart. I didn’t feel like i was talking to a stranger at all and that was an important factor for me. She made me feel comfortable right away and she had a strong presence. With everything that I opened up to her about in our first 60 minutes of knowing each other, I didn’t at all feel any of the things that I felt when I met with my previous therapist. I have been seeing my new therapist for about a month now and I am so grateful for Therapyforblackgirls.com for bringing me THE ONE.
Mental health is such a major component when it comes to self-care. Your mental health should be catered to just as much as you cater to your physical health when it comes to self-care practices. I really love how normalized therapy has become because for a while when you would tell someone that you were speaking with a therapist, it was assumed that you were dealing with some extreme deep issues and you were borderline "crazy". My wish is for everyone to take advantage of the resources that are available and seek professional guidance from an unbiased perspective. Therapyforblackgirls.com isn’t only for women and if there are any men out there who are considering going to therapy and want more help with maintaining a healthy mental and emotional space, I would consider you give that website a try and see if you can find someone who would be the best fit for you. As always I’m here to answer any questions or concerns. Please don’t hesitate to comment or email me. I’m always here. Feel good on purpose. xoxo