Treating therapy as some sort of “taboo” is so 1990’s. Listen — If there wasn’t a need for it, there wouldn’t be so many therapists, duh. On top of that, employers wouldn’t offer these types of services through EAP (which is free by the way) to get people to use it! Honestly…who isn’t going to therapy these days? I’ll wait.
Over time, things have changed. Some have changed for the better and others for the worst. The fact of the matter is this — everyone needs someone to talk to. Someone who can listen without judgment and let what you say there stay exactly where you left it. Society can be so overwhelming with its demands. We should look a certain way, act a certain way, make a certain salary, have a certain type of house, have a certain type of car, have a certain type of spouse — oops, let me stop right there.
Let me give you a little background on me to bring this into perspective. I am a first-generation US Citizen. That means my parents are immigrants — yes, they’re legal for whoever cares. I’m not just any ordinary first-generation US Citizen though. I’m a Caribbean-American US Citizen. People flock to the Caribbean regularly for the food, good vibes, ambiance, Carnival, etc. However, for me, it has always just been an extension of home.
Now, being a child born to Caribbean (West Indian) parents, there are many habits I’ve picked up along the way. Let’s take tea for example. Tea fixes literally everything and you cannot tell me or any other West Indian person otherwise. Don’t even try it because it won’t work.
Tired? Drink tea. Bellyache? Drink tea. Migraine? Drink tea. Evil coworker? Drink tea. Ebola? Drink tea LOL
The point is, we like to keep it simple because that’s how we like things — S I M P L E. The drawback to that is every fix isn’t always as simple as we would like. Growing up, I don’t remember hearing of anyone going to therapy. As far as I knew, therapy for people that had serious problems. Ohhhh the ignorance. Going back to our roots as West Indian people and Black people as a whole, religion has always been everything. When you have a problem, you pray about it. You go see your pastor, go up for prayer during alter call, call the prayer line and a whole host of other things in the hopes that your problems would cease.
As someone that attends church regularly, I’m not knocking any of those things at all. Here’s the problem with stopping there though — Faith without works is dead. We have to do our part to help ourselves as well. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. You have to look beyond the ordinary to begin changing your circumstances. With that being said, that may very well mean you need to explore the big bad T-word…THERAPY.
Taking care of yourself in that way will be one of the best things you can do for yourself. We go to the dentist for teeth, the endocrinologist for hormonal imbalance, the gynecologist for…I won’t go there. My point is — Why is it such a big deal to go to a specialist for your mind? Is it not part of your body??? Once you get over the apprehension about what people may think, you can truly benefit. Who gives a flip if people will judge you or even worse tAlK aBoUt YoU fOr GoInG???! That’s on them! That says more about the fact that they may need to find a therapist themselves to help them sort out their issues so they can stop concerning themselves with yours.
Over the years I’ve shared this voluntary self-care with those in my circle and even some outside of it. Why? For more than a few reasons. However, the most important reason is simply this — Uncovering my “vulnerabilities” seems to have encouraged others to work on theirs. There have been so many people that told me they were either “shocked” or had no idea that I go. Again, nobody is shocked when you make that annual appointment for your well-person exam like clockwork. Why be shocked when people make regular well-mind exams? Yes, I go to therapy…and you probably should too.