Maybe you ghost people
Maybe you don’t communicate properly
Maybe you have to always be in control of everyone and everything
Maybe you constantly need reassurance from others
Maybe you hop, skip, and jump to conclusions
Maybe you constantly compare yourself to others
Maybe you constantly doubt yourself
Maybe you let people take advantage of you
We all have things that we want to fix about ourselves. Toxic traits that we want to put behind us. Self-defeating behaviors that we want to quit. Unhealthy thought patterns that we want to let go of. I’m all for self-improvement, but maybe we need to re-think fixing ourselves. After all, the term “fixing” implies that we are broken. Maybe, real healing starts when we take a moment to discover the “why” behind it all.
“Healing is not fixing yourself, it’s discovering yourself”@theholisticpsyhologist
I’ll use my own example of recent self-discovery…
Unfortunately, I can be a passive person, especially when it comes to expressing my wants or needs to others. I also have a bad habit of assuming that people know what I want or need, instead of communicating like an adult. Obviously being passive has been problematic for me in many different aspects of my life, and I’ve been saying that I need to fix it for a while now. Until recently I had never really thought about why I have such an issue with expressing my wants and needs. The ugly truth is that sometimes I fear being told no or being rejected. Sometimes I’m just being hella prideful. Sometimes I think that my wants and needs don’t matter. Sometimes I may even sub-consciously believe that I’m underserving of the things that I want and need.
So how do we begin to change our toxic traits, self-defeating behaviors, and unhealthy thinking patterns? While I don’t have a complete answer, I do have a tip..
Examine your core beliefs.
Simply put, core beliefs are the central ideas that we have about ourselves. Some common negative core beliefs people have are:
I am unlovable
I can’t trust others
My needs are unimportant
People will end up leaving me
I am weak
I can’t do anything right
I have to be perfect
I’m not good enough
People will leave if I set boundaries
I am bad
I am worthless
You might resonate with one or even a few of these. You might wonder how on earth someone could ever believe that about themselves. Either way, negative core beliefs are real and they have a huge influence on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Our core beliefs are not something that we are born with, but rather effects of our childhood experiences or even difficult experiences in adulthood. Negative core beliefs affect our relationships with ourselves and others. Negative core beliefs affect our decision-making and reactions to the world around us. They shape who we are. Lucky for us, even the most deeply-rooted core beliefs can be changed, thus changing the way we think, act, and feel.
Stay tuned for my next post where I give even more tips for changing your toxic and self-defeating behaviors. Until then, take time to discover what your core beliefs are and how they have affected you.
Throughout this entire week, I’ve been saying “my nerves are bed” which for me means, I’m anxious. I’ve been unable to sit still. I’ve felt very uneasy. I’ve felt like screaming.
I haven’t been able to pin point exactly where all of this anxiety is stemming from. I think it’s just… everything. Everything that I’m dealing with personally. Everything my friends and family are dealing with. Everything that my people, black people, are dealing with. Everything my patients are dealing with. Just everything.
It’s a lot and I know I can’t be the only one feeling this way or some type of way. I’ve compiled a list of various mental health resources that could be helpful. In this list I have chosen to highlight resources that were created/founded by Black people with the intention of assisting Black people.
Want to find a mental health professional? check out these directories…
Black Mental Health Alliance – This mission of the Black Mental Health Alliance is ” to develop, promote and sponsor trusted culturally-relevant educational forums, training’s, and referral services that support the health and well-being of Black people and other vulnerable communities”. After completing a brief questionnaire on the site, someone will follow up with you within 24 hours providing referrals for licensed mental health professionals.
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective(BEAM) -This non-profit organization is comprised of yoga teachers, artists, therapists, lawyers, religious leaders, teachers, psychologists and activists. Their mission is to “remove the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing. We do this through education, training, advocacy and the creative arts”. The site offers a directory of black virtual therapists as well as tool kits, worksheets, videos, and articles.
Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation – This non-profit organization was founded by Taraji P. Henson, in honor of her father who suffered with mental health challenges. This mission of the foundation is “to provide support and bring awareness to mental health issues that plague our community”. On the website you are able to search through a directory of mental health providers and programs that serve the African American community.
Therapy for Black Men – Founded by both Vladimire Calixte and Benjamin Calixte, this site offers a safe space for boys and men of color to seek the help of a professional, and become educated on all things mental health.
Want to listen and learn? Check out these podcasts…
Therapy for Black girls – The host of this podcast is Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed psychologist. She focuses on mental health topics with the intent of making them more accessible to black women.
Minding My Black Business – The host of this podcast is Dr. JaNae Taylor, a therapist, who talks about all things business, self-care, and mental health.
Fireflies Unite With Kea – Created by suicide survivor, T-Kea Blackman, this mission of her podcast is to “bring light into darkness, encourage people of color to seek treatment, end stigma and raise awareness”.
Is reading more of your thing? Check out these books…
Dear Suicide – Written by Devaunier’ Cannon, a licensed clinical social worker. Her book not only provides information about suicide, but allows for the reader to engage in writing activities that encourage reflection and essentially safety planning to aid in suicide prevention.
Soothe Your Nerves: The Black Woman’s Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic, and Fear – Written by Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett, a psychologist. Her book focuses on what can contribute to anxiety, panic, and fear in Black women and offers various healing methods to use in order to combat them.
AN IMPORTANT NUMBER…
If you are in distress or in a crisis, 1-800-273-8255 is the national suicide prevention hotline. Please call this number 24/7 in order to recieve free support.
Trying to process everything that is going on right now is like being on a rollercoaster. In a single day I am liable to experience anger, fear, faith, happiness, sadness, hope, confusion and so many other emotions. It’s exhausting. If you are feeling the same way(s) then let me tell you…
First off, it’s okay. Whatever it is that you’re feeling, it’s valid . This is a lot and it’s affecting us and the world in ways we probably didn’t really or seriously anticipate.
Second, I encourage you to use this time to self-reflect, educate yourself, meditate, pray, tap into your creative side, discover. By no means am I saying that this pandemic is good, but it is forcing us to slow down and you are able to choose what you do with this time.
Third, appreciate and be grateful for any moments big or small that bring laughter and happiness.
Here’s some small tips that I have for maintaining wellness during this time:
TAKE A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE NEWS. I feel most of the emotional rollercoaster I’ve been on comes from me scrolling through twitter/instagram. There’s so much breaking news, information, thoughts, and opinions that can be hard to keep up with, let alone process. Give your mind a break.
STIMULATE YOUR MIND. Not just with Netflix shows either. It’s important to find other stimulating things to do like read, color, draw, do puzzles, write, learn about something new.
TALK TO SOMEONE. My fellow introverts, this may come as a surprise, but we do need connection. It’s a core part of being human. Social distancing is needed right now but that doesn’t mean you can’t call, text, face-time your family, friends, and loved ones.
GO OUTSIDE. Even if it’s just on your balcony/patio or you take a walk to your mailbox and back. We need fresh air and sun.
BUILD UP THAT IMMUNE SYSTEM. Vitamins, fruits, vegetables, supplements… you name it.
Of course these small tips won’t solve all of our problems, but they can help.
Wishing you all peace, happiness, and health.
I really wish I could sit here and say that I enjoy going to the gym…. but I don’t lol. I don’t know when I’ll reach that point of excitement about working out, but until then I guess I’ll continue spending 30 minutes moaning, groaning, and debating about going.. until finally forcing myself to put on gym clothes and getting in the car. There are even times when I have to call my sister so she can motivate me to go because I know if I don’t call , I’ll stay on the couch re-watching The Office. I wish that I liked to work out because that would make things so much easier, but there’s also this sense of pride that I feel when I finish a work-out knowing that I fought against being tired, unmotivated, or just plain lazy. The point of this post is that sometimes the things we want require a lot from us. Hard work, discipline, consistency, and sacrifice are what separates people who reach their goals and accomplish their dreams from the people who don’t. I also think that the people who reach their goals and accomplish their dreams accepted that they would at some point have to be uncomfortable. For the longest time I struggled with not wanting to do something if it made me feel even the slightest bit inconvenienced or uneasy. The issue with that is… we don’t grow when we are comfortable or when things are easy. The challenges we experience in life are what force us to evolve and uncover strengths and gifts we didn’t know we had.
“Growth is uncomfortable because you have never been here before, You’ve never been this version of you”Kristin Lohr
Whatever it is that you want to achieve; whether it is losing weight, gaining weight, starting a business, obtaining a degree, buying a house….
What are you willing to do to get it? If you had to go through a period of discomfort to get it, would you?
Imposter Syndrome. It might sound silly but it’s SO real and has been a reality for me for the past couple of months. I’m still working on dealing with it, so this is not a “how to get over imposter syndrome” post , but instead I’ll describe what it has been like for me and how I’ve come to deal with it so far.
According to Wikipedia, “Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one’s accomplishments and has a persistent interanlized fear of being exposed as a fraud”. On a daily basis at work, I deal with feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, and general anxiety about my work performance. These feelings are pretty new for me and that’s because I recently got my first “big girl job”. I got a therapist position right out of grad school and prior to that, I had never had a job in my field of interest or with real benefits lol. What I noticed really quickly after getting the position is that I felt like a fraud. I felt like I wasn’t a REAL therapist and only got the position because of my mentor, not because I deserved it. I wake up worried about how my therapy groups will go. During groups, I worry about if what I’m saying even makes sense. I wonder if my patients think I’m an idiot or a bad therapist. In meetings I worry if other staff think I’m an idiot. I beat myself up over mistakes both big and small. I get annoyed if I don’t know something.
Sounds miserable and exhausting huh? IT IS.
I’ve realized that if I want to be of the best assistance to my patients AND maintain my well-being, then I need to get a handle on imposter syndrome.
One thing that I do to combat my negative thoughts is actually something I have told my patients to do (WOW, look at that, a therapist taking her own advice). Basically, if I think to myself “I’m a horrible therapist”, then I force myself to challenge that thought…
So what evidence is there that I am a horrible therapist?
So what evidence is there that I am a good therapist?
Well…. actually my patients often tell me that I’m very helpful and a good therapist.
What would my manager/mentor say about this thought?
Well… she literally sent me an email telling me how often patients rave about me, so she would probably tell me I’m trippin.
Is this thought based on facts or feelings?
Well… I noticed that I tend to have this thought more so when I’m feeling stressed or when I feel like my group didn’t go the way that I wanted.
After I have gone through these questions or similar questions, I tend to realize how silly that thought actually is.
Do you suffer from imposter syndrome? Share your experience with me! Tell me what you’ve tried or done to get over it. I’d love to hear from you!
First off…. it’s been awhile, but for good reason. Here are some major things that happened for me in the year 2019…
- I graduated from grad school
- I spent 3 months post graduation studying for a licensing exam and passed it….like really passed it
- I got my first “big girl job”as a therapist
- I got a new car
I share these things for two reasons. One, I want y’all to know that I didn’t just forget about my blog, I’ve just been busy. Two, I want y’all to know that all of the things I mentioned above, I put on a vision board back in 2017. For two years I kept that vision board on my bedroom wall and slowly witnessed as most of what I put on there, became reality. So here we are in January of 2020, and I decided it was time to make a new one.
I’m really not an artsy or creative person, but give me a glue stick, posterboard, magazines, and scissors…. and IT’S ON. My method for creating a vision board is pretty simple. After I have gathered my materials, I take some time to really think about what I want for myself. I think about each aspect of my life and decide what it is that I really want to achieve or what changes I want to see. I then spend some time going through magazines, and cutting out pictures or words that can put together a visual representation. After I’ve cut and made a complete mess on the floor, I arrange and re-arrange the cut-outs on the posterboard until it looks cute. When I’m satisfied I glue eveything down and hang it on a wall. Boom, vision board.
I believe in vision boards simply because I believe in the law of attraction. Whatever you focus on and put energy into will manifest.
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
― Lao Tzu
So here is my vision board and I’ll briefly explain a few things that I put on there and why..
“Consistency Queen” So I’ve decided that the theme for my 2020 is consistency. In the past I have had trouble with remaining consistent with things like; going to the gym, eating healthy, and even this blog. If I can remain consistent, 2020 will be very successful for me.
“Yes, New Friends” and spending more time with the friends I have now Despite my introverted tendecncies, I want to be more proactive in meeting up with and talking to my friends. I don’t have many friends (yikes) so I also want to be more open to meeting new people. Making new friends as an adult is kind of scary to me, but I think there’s also so much to gain from more amazing women in my life.
“Feel Sexy” In 2020 I want to serve looks. It’s that simple.
What do you want to achieve in 2020? What changes are you trying to make? Let me know!
On March 30th, this picture was taken of me. When my boyfriend handed me the phone so that I could look at it my first words were “Wow, I’m beautiful”, and then I immediately started tearing up. Of course he didn’t understand so I explained that I hadn’t felt beautiful in awhile. Seeing this picture was like having a major epiphany about myself. My epiphany didn’t stop there though.. in this picture I saw so much more. I saw the woman that I had always known myself to be deep inside. I saw a woman that was confident in who she is and what she has to offer the world.
Confidence is an attribute that I’ve always strongly admired in other people. I’ve always admired it because for some reason It has not always come naturally to me. I distinctly remember in Jr. high and high-school hating myself and how I looked. From the shape of my nose to my frizzy curls to my teeth…I was deeply unsatisfied. In college I distinctly remember not having confidence in my ability to lead or speak up. Throughout my college years I slowly began to develop confidence, but I still wasn’t quite where I wanted to be. Post-graduation, I had gained some weight, struggled in a couple different areas of my life, and slipped back into that Jr. high/high-school mindset.
So what recently brought me to my great epiphany? I think a major part of it is doing what I’m passionate about…
Throughout my MSW program, I’ve had the opportunity to work with women in recovery from substance abuse, as well as with children with different mental health diagnoses. I currently work with adults dealing with various mental health diagnoses in a psychiatric unit. Never in a million years did I think I would have the confidence to get up in front of such vulnerable populations and not only educate them but HELP them. I seriously get up in front of people older than me and offer guidance. I can’t explain the feeling I get when a patient or client tells me “You’re going to do great things” or “That was such a great group” or “This really helped me”. Through pursing my passion, I’ve been able to see who I am and what I’m capable of. I’m a bad-ass.
On my birthday one of my sorority sisters said “You got you a voice!” and that is the truth. I’m no longer afraid to lead or speak-up. Realizing that I’m beautiful in my looks is one thing, but slowly becoming the woman that I’ve always dreamed of being is another. What’s crazy is, I’m only going to get better…
Wow, It’s been awhile since my last blog post. I don’t feel too too bad about it only because life has been very busy, and I’m trying my best to adjust. I do feel that writing is and can be a great coping strategy for me, so I will work on setting aside time for this blog.
I feel like I’m constantly on the go. Going to work (I just got a new job, yayyy) going to class… going to a meeting… going to a training… going to my internship. I’ve never really experienced this before but believe I’m handling it very well.
One thing about me is I’ve never liked feeling uncomfortable. When I say uncomfortable I mean, I’ve never liked not getting enough sleep. I’ve never liked having to drive too far for anything (example: work). I’ve never liked feeling overwhelmed. I’m sure a lot of people don’t like these things but I would go out of my way to avoid all of that. I should have known that there would eventually come a time when I would really have to “grind”. There would eventually come a time when I would be uncomfortable. I guess I’ve matured because even though I don’t get enough sleep, drive all over Tarrant County, and do a million things….I know this season won’t last forever. I know that when we are uncomfortable that’s when we learn the most and really grow.
So you’ve decided you’re ready to see a therapist, good for you! No seriously, that’s great. Maybe you’re still on the fence about seeing one, that’s ok too! Now comes the task of finding that perfect stranger to share your most personal thoughts and feelings to. I realize this task may sound scary and even impossible, but it can be done. I recently saw a therapist for the first time and had an amazing experience. I’ve listed exactly what I took into consideration before making my final decision, it is my hope that by sharing I can make the task a bit easier for you.
How Can I Afford Services?
This is the very first thing I considered in my search for a therapist. It’s the very first thing because I assumed therapy to be crazy expensive. I also didn’t think that therapists took insurance -honestly, I don’t know why. Well lucky for us, therapy can be affordable and you can use insurance. If you do have insurance, either call your insurance provider or look on your insurance website to see who is in your network. Just as a visit to your doctor, you may be required to pay a copay. I would also recommend looking to see if your workplace offers an “Employee Assistance Program” and if you’re able to utilize it. These programs usually offer short-term counseling, but it’s definitely a start. So maybe you don’t have insurance, there is always the option to pay out of pocket. Even then, I would recommend looking for therapist who offers a sliding scale fee. A sliding scale fee simply means that you will be charged based on your income. For my college/grad students, many universities offer counseling services that are funded by your tuition.
What Am I Looking to Work On?
Depression, Anxiety, PTSD? It’s important to have some idea about what you’re seeking therapy for. Not all therapists specialize in the same mental health disorders/issues. As you go through your list of potential therapists, either call or look to see if they have a website. They will provide information as to what they specialize in and what areas they have the most expertise in. Many therapists are experienced in many different areas of mental health, a jack of all trades! This is great because you may have more than one thing to work on, at different points of your life.
Is This Therapist Licensed?
Many people can call themselves a counselor, therapist, or life-coach. These terms can be used loosely sometimes. Being licensed means the individual has earned hours in a clinical setting as well as passed a licensing exam. You’ll usually find their credentials and licensing information on their website. There are many different professionals that offer therapy and have gone through schooling to be able to provide services. Just to name a few; Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). Students, be mindful that in a university counseling center, there may be interns offering services as a way to gain clinical hours. You have to decide if you are ok with working with someone who is not yet licensed.
What is This Therapist’s Approach to Therapy?
This was a very important one for me. It’s helpful to know a therapists philosophy on therapy, as well as what therapies they use. You can find this information on their website or by calling. Believe it or not, no therapist is the same. They are all unique human beings with their own ways of thinking and doing things. As I was going through the website of the therapist I chose, I came across a “Common Questions” section. One question was “Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems”. Her answer was, “Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.” As soon as I read that, I was hooked. Knowing that she felt that way about therapy made me feel a lot better about wanting to talk to someone.
Who Am I Comfortable Talking To?
Again, every therapist is different. Do you need someone to show you tough love or do you need someone to gently nudge you towards change? Do you want to talk to someone that looks like you or are you open to diversity? I personally was very interested in seeing a black therapist. My reason for that was because in my graduate program, I haven’t had the opportunity of learning from and working under many therapists of color. Everyone has their own preferences and that’s perfectly fine. I say be open minded. If something or someone isn’t working, be willing to change and adapt.
I hope that this list has or will help you in your search for a therapist. If you’re still on the fence, I hope I’ve pushed you over a little bit, lol. One very important thing I would like to point out is that you may go through a few different therapists. THAT IS PERFECTLY OK. You may not vibe or connect with the very first one, but please please please don’t be discouraged.
If you have any questions about therapy or therapists, please leave a comment or contact me. Also, feel free to share your experiences in therapy. I’d love to hear from you!
Check out my previous post about my personal experience seeing a therapist!
A special shout-out to shikaardeta for suggesting I make this kind of post. Check out her amazing blog here!