I’ve talked about in previous posts how I have recently started seeing a therapist again as part of my treatment. I have always found talking to a professional as a beneficial element in not just treatment but in life period. I learn so much not only about my disorder but I also learn how to manage my life. Unfortunately we aren’t always taught how to deal with certain issues effectively or healthy. For instance, when you grow up in a household where people argue and say disrespectful/ belittling things to one another as a form of communication, you grow up to believe that is how you communicate, and it’s not. Sometimes we have to be rewired.
A professional therapist is educated and trained in instructing ways and techniques to help you cope with life. My therapist suggest different methods that I can use to help me avoid depression, set boundaries with others, how to go through the stages of grief to deal with my brothers death, how to live a healthy lifestyle, and we will soon start working on some specific things that has happened in my past that I have never dealt with. More than anything else it just helps to talk to someone that can actually help you. I call all that pint up pain, hurt, and confusion poison. When you eat anything poisonous you have to get it out your system. The same thing goes for those things that are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually poisoning you. Get it out.
Choosing a therapist is a process of trial and error sometimes. It takes some time to find the right one, so you can’t get discouraged and give up. The first time I went to speak to a professional I went to see a counselor at my church. I saw her for a few months but I soon realized she wasn’t what I needed. I learned while working with her that these people are human too and they come with their own set of judgments and beliefs. Especially if they are faith based. Not taking away from her education or training, but like all researchers they have their own theories and I didn’t agree with hers. When choosing a therapist you have to know exactly what it is that you are seeking help in and not lose yourself or your own beliefs just because they have a formal education and training.
The second therapist I found was a God sent. She had her religious beliefs but she kept that separate from her practice. We worked a lot on changing my mind set. Which was essential for me because I was raised in a family that wasn’t healthy mentally or emotionally. The things I saw growing up and the ideas that were told to me all had to be reprogrammed in order for me to start living a healthy life. I saw her for a while but later moved away to another state. I wasn’t seeing an actual therapist when I moved away because I didn’t have any insurance at the time, but I saw another counselor at a local mental health clinic. She was textbook, which means she did everything by the book. Because I wasn’t on medication at the time she primarily focused on things I could do to help manage my diagnosis naturally like diet, exercise, and minimizing stress. She even showed up to my job once to check on me and my work load.
I moved back home and tried to go see my old therapist but she no longer took insurance which I had again because of my new job. I went online to the provider’s website and searched different therapist. I did an advance search for a therapist that had experience with dealing with patients with bipolar disorder, close to my home, and from the same ethnic background. I will be honest and say that I was nervous about the latter because the first counselor I went to was a black woman like me and she came with a whole lot of the typical beliefs that the black community has about mental illness among other things. However, I needed someone who could understand that a lot of what I was going through was also cultural.
I’ve been seeing this therapist for about a month now and it’s going pretty good. I want you to know that it’s ok to seek out help. Not only is it ok but it’s necessary. God wouldn’t have ever created psychologist and therapist if there was no need for them. An aunt of mine just recently told her child that seeing a therapist was a waste of time and money and that God would fix them. That’s that cultural belief that keeps us as black people stuck and ailing instead of getting help to get better. You have to do your part in finding the right person for your treatment, and trust that in the end, it’s only going to make you better.
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