My Journey w. Therapy P1

Have you ever had things you wanted to work on? Goals to reach? Real moving on to do? If the answer is yes, like I’m sure it is, therapy could be a great tool to help you get closer to where you’d like to be! This blog post is the first half of my personal experience with my therapist. In a future post I’ll go into general therapy stuff like where to find one and what therapy is designed to do but for now, let’s talk about how I found myself walking down a long hallway, into the office of a Black women that I’d never met and trusting that I’d come out different. Now, I know that there is a stigma in the Black community around therapy. We’ve been led to think that we have to work through all our problems on our own.

In my family, the stigma looked like nobody talking about it. It literally never came up. Now that I look back, a lot of us probably would benefit from some time in the chair but to my knowledge, people didn’t go. It wasn’t until high school when I started having some..problems..and my auntie suggested I go talk to someone about them. “I hear you,” I thought. The concept had been foreign and I’m sure that I figured if I got on without it for all this time and so did everyone else around me, I was gon’ figure it out. (Spoiler Alert) I didn’t. Fast forward to July 2018. I was ready. I had healthily processed a lot of my story and recognized that it wouldn't hurt to get some additional guidance (because that’s what therapy is…think about someone simply guiding you to how you’ve decided that you’d like to move in the world).

Here comes the search. I knew that I wasn’t about to be in a white person’s office picking through my problems (that’s a personal preference. I’m sure there are some dynamic white therapists..just not for me.) I decided that I needed to find a Black woman because HELLO! At the time I was working through some..problems..and couldn’t wrap my head around talking to anyone other than a Black women about them. Black women aren’t a monolith (duh) but there are some things that we all seem to have the propensity to understand. I looked through my insurance company’s Behavioral Therapy directory (which doesn’t have photos) to find names that sounded like Black women. (I’m thorough, baby. With a capital “T” mkay.) Then I called the appointments line, with my list of pre-screened, probably Black women therapists to ask the question, “Is she Black?” I went with the first one that was a confirmed Sistagirl. Plus, she was close to my house at the time. Win-WIn.

My first day, I didn't know what to expect. What was I supposed to wear? Was I supposed to dress cute? Why was I trying to look cute for my therapist? I checked in to my appointment and filled out the questionnaire. It asks things like “Are you having trouble eating/sleeping/focusing/living/etc? It gave me something to do so that I didn’t worry myself to death in the waiting room. Then my FairyGodTherapist, who will from now on be referred to as “FGT”, opened the door and said “Aja?” looking around to see where I was…AND SHE PRONOUNCED MY NAME RIGHT. We walked the long hallway to her office. There were sound cancelling machines in the halls so that the sessions would be private private. Dang. How long is this hallway?!? When we finally got to her office, she shut the door, we both sat down and went through the niceties of who we were, where we’re from, etc. Then the question came: “So Aja, why are you here? Why now?”

Stay Tuned for Part 2.

Aja Imani