I have shared many times before that I went to therapy while in undergrad and it was a life altering experience. Honestly I wish I had received some type of therapy right after graduating from undergrad, while in law school, after law school, before we got married, and I wish that I was receiving some right now. Therapy is not a bandaid or a sole solution to any problem, but a process that helps you categorize and properly place experiences in a comfortable place in your mind. Many times we overemphasize a situation in our life that may hold little value or minimize a situation that needs to be held in a different light. Therapy helps you step outside of your silo and see how each experience has played a role in your life without judgment and external pressure.
I am so open about my experience because I truly believe therapy saved my life. My anger sent me on a destructive path and caused me to mistake realness with being hurtful and mean. Much of my anger was displaced and targeted people who had characteristics of the person who hurt me the most. My coping strategies were ineffective and unhealthy. I found myself in a cyclical process that I wanted to escape from, but I did not know how to reach the exit.
During my assessment for clinical services the director interviewed me and asked me one question, “Tell me about your parents.” I immediately began to sob and cry. I could not formulate my thoughts or my words. She looked at me, looked down at the paper and agreed that I needed services. I walked out of the building in disbelief. This woman broke me down in less than 5 seconds. I was fragile and broken. I needed more help than simply believing that everything would get better. My sanity required more than someone to listen to me, but someone to help me.
I have always been very open and honest so I told all of my friends that I was in therapy and they were happy for me. Over time they started to see the changes in me and that encouraged me to continue with the process even when I felt that I no longer needed help. I knew that being in that building held a stigma, but my future could not be derailed because of the fear of being judged. I do not know where I would be if I never took the final step to seek help. I do not even want to think of where I could have ended up.
I want everyone to know that there is someone qualified to listen and help you organize your thoughts and emotions. Life is hard and will never be without bumps. We have to accept that life will come and we need effective coping methods to properly deal with those overwhelming things. Although I had two amazing experiences while at Howard, I had a not so great one when my husband and I went to sort through our issues. Despite her failings, I know that there are some amazing therapist out there who will help us refocus our perspective. Do not let one experience define your future in obtaining the things that you need.
We need more than coaching, we need therapy. Take a moment and find time. Get a referral and follow through with an appointment. Get the help you need. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms. #BeExcellent