Taking Care of Self

The first time I went to see a therapist/counselor was three months after Southern Mom passed away.  While dealing with the grief of losing my mom I was also dealing with the loss of relationships with certain members of my mom’s side of the family.  I saw the therapist a few times, an older white woman, who was pleasant enough but not very helpful.  After my third session, she and I mutually decided (I think she guided me to this stance more than anything) that I was dealing with my grief appropriately and I should contact her anytime I felt the need to come in.  Needless to say, I have not seen her since.

About 10 months ago, I decided that I wanted to see a therapist.  Not because anything was wrong, but because everything was going right. But the therapist had to meet certain criteria.  She had to be black. She had to be a woman. And she had to be on my insurance. After doing some research, I found a consortium in the city and made a phone call.  At the time, they did not have anyone available that was accepting new clients.  So I waited a little over 5 weeks for them to call me and tell me they had someone available.  Since then, I’ve seen her a few times and she’s been awesome.  She’s had me open up about my familial relationships, dating, and other things that are going on with life.  She makes me think outside of the box.  She has me think about things a lot differently that I have in the past.  And for that, I appreciate her.

Now some of you may think I’m crazy for stating that I wanted a black woman therapist, but I respectfully disagree.  First, it’s my therapy, and if there is a particular person that I feel comfortable with, that’s going to be my request.  Second, I knew that a black woman would understand certain things that I may encounter in life because we have race AND gender in common.

I haven’t seen her in sometime (we have an appointment tomorrow), and I almost cancelled my appointment.  Not only because I have things to do, but because it’s hard to talk to someone about your most intimate thoughts.  Even if you have a relationship with them. Even if you feel comfortable with them.  It’s hard to honestly, really, and truly take care of yourself.  Yes, we may travel, hang out with our friends and family, go out for cocktails, or read a book.  But making sure that we are mentally fit is an important component of self-care.

This summer, I have pledged to live my best life, inclusive of having fun, taking breaks when needed, and talking to my therapist to work through stuff or just to say “Hey, girl!”

I kindly advise that you all do the same!  Figure out what not only makes you happy but what you need to do in order to stay healthy.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

PS The podcast is going GREAT!  To catch up on all the episodes, you can find us on, The Femme Noir Files, on Google Play, iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!  Be sure to subscribe, rate, and share! 🙂

They Didn’t Have to Die (Part II)

Who knew when I previously wrote about Kasi Perkins and Selina Brown that the next day our nation would experience another tragedy?  I have to admit I have not actively kept up with the details about the killer of those students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I don’t need or want to. All I know is that 26 innocent people are dead and that it probably could have been prevented.  This reminded me of my post from 2 years ago when I had the series “What We Won’t Talk About”.  One subject was mental illness.  Sadly, mental illness is taboo in most ethnic communities in our country, not just with African-Americans.

God’s plan is perfect, although we may not understand.  And it’s not for us to understand.  But, we must be vigilant and faithful.  And while we may cry, be sad, and wonder why this had to happen to these innocent children, we should be happy that they no longer have to experience the ills of this world.  When I still think about it, my heart aches.  There has been so much gun violence in the news recently.  The fact of the matter is that sadly, gun violence occurs everyday; we just don’t always hear about it.

As I did in my original post regarding mental illness two years ago-if you know someone that you believe is suffering from mental illness, don’t sweep their behavior under the rug.  Take them to seek help; don’t just suggest it.  We honestly must take charge and not turn a blind eye when we believe something has changed with a loved one.  Maya Angelou said it best-when people show you who they are, believe them.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

What We Won’t Talk About-Mental Illness

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a mental health specialist or social worker or anything of the like.  I’m just here to state some facts and share my opinion.  If you are a mental health specialist, feel free to comment and share your expertise.

Last Monday, Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead in his home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  He was 23.  The focus then went to Kenny’s mental health.  After his second knee surgery, he was heard saying that he “should just kill himself.  No one thought he was serious.” 

Sadly, in the black community, no one ever REALLY talks about mental health issues, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.  Our way of dealing with a relative or friend who’s dealing with some heavy stuff is, “Oh, you’re alright. Just pray about it”  or “She’s always been crazy; she’s never going to change.”  As a Christian, I am very aware of what God can do, but we can’t let some things go by the wayside.  Just as we need medicine for the common cold or the flu, people also need help dealing with mental illness.  We need to encourage each other to seek professional help.  It never hurts to speak with a healthcare professional and if he or she sees fit, to take the necessary steps to take care of any thing from which we may be suffering.  We may not be able to “cure” what we have, but we can at least take the recommended medicine to deal with our illness.   If these illnesses go untreated, that is when we become a threat to harm others or even ourselves. 

If you ever have a loved one whom you think is suffering from a mental illness or just went through something traumatic, be there for them to make sure they are dealing with things appropriately.  If you believe their behavior has changed, talk to them about it and encourage them to seek help.  If a loved one says something akin to, “I would be better off dead” or “I should just end it all”, don’t ignore them or laugh it off.  Continue to be there for them and encourage them to seek professional help.  We should never ignore those when we feel like they are dealing with mental health issues.  When we turn our backs on each other is when unnecessary tragedies occur.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.