Hey girl, hey!
I first want to start by saying that I 100% believe that mental health is important. I think that everyone should see a therapist, whether you feel like something is wrong with you or not! These professionals are here to help you process life, emotions, or whatever you are down to openly discuss with him/her!
Back in the Day…
To give some context, I went to counseling my senior year of college. Fortunately for me, my college (the University of Tennessee [GO VOLS!]) had a Mental Health Counseling department free to students and it was life-changing! I enjoyed having an unbiased person to talk to about things going on in my life (e.g. stress about post-grad, or issues with my long-distance relationship). It felt good to just pour out my feelings and not be judged, whether my problems were minuscule or not.
When I was 14 years old and I visited my dad’s during the summer. I, reluctantly, went down to Shelby, MS for a family reunion. I met new family members and seeing old ones. I hung with the guys because I didn’t have any female cousins my age. I remember my older cousin introducing himself and looking out for me while I was there. I remember him taking me to his friend’s house and taking me to his bedroom. I remember him making me lie down in bed while he kissed on my neck. If it weren’t for my younger brother walking in, there is no telling what he would have done to me. To this day, my brother still thinks I allowed our cousin to molest me, but I did not. I always tried to explain myself and how I was taken advantage of but it seemed as if my side was never heard out. All he knew is that his older sister almost had sex with our cousin. To this day, I try to explain myself but I have learned that I know my truth and don’t owe anyone an explanation of my pain. I know that I was the victim to an adult who knew what he was doing was wrong. However, out of fear, I never admitted this to my parents. Even when my dad straight up asked me if he had tried to do things to me, I denied it. It almost makes me wonder if he had tried this with other younger girls? If so, why even let him come near me? Anyway, when my dad asked me I instantly denied the question in fear of the results. I did not want a trial, I did not want to relive the shame…so I kept quiet.
Unfortunately, this would not be the last time I would be sexually abused or taken advantage of in my life. Another encounter would be my freshman year of highschool.
Freshman year of high school, I thought I was the cutest girl when a senior noticed me and gave me attention. Little did I realize, he only used me for sex. At the time, I thought sex equated love. Throughout the first few months of school, we had, what I believed, a casual relationship. To him, I was just an available girl for casual sex. I recall one night he came to my house. I didn’t let him inside so we stayed outside. I thought he just wanted to hang out and talk, but he had a different agenda. He tried to persuade me to have sex, but I was against it. My no did not register in his head. I remember he pressed me against my mom’s car and would not let me go. I was stuck, unable to move as he penetrated me despite my no’s and trying to get away from him. Once he was finished, he said to me “You know this makes you a hoe right?”Nearly eight years later, and it still bothers me. It still bothers me that no one believed me when I confided in a friend. Today, I would say that my high school friends did not understand that even in a relationship you could still be raped. Even if you have had consensual sex with someone in the past, nonconsensual sex with that person is still rape!
As I reflect on my past, I always think that I should have seen the signs! I should have been more vigilant of men taking advantage of me. My therapist assured me that I could be forgiving of myself. I shouldn’t be hard on myself about my past. I learned that it’s okay to forgive my past self for what I did not know then.
Fast forward to today, April 2020, and I am preparing for my third meeting with my new therapist. She is a Black woman, and I am so happy that I found her! (Check out therapyforblackgirls.com if you’d like to find a Black licensed therapist in your area!) We are alike in many ways and I believe that is what truly made me feel comfortable with her. I appreciated the fact that she shared her journey with me and how she began counseling. What stood out the most was that she wanted there to be more representation of Black women in the field. It’s also important for me to see women who look like me in this field. I believe you’re more comfortable when speaking with people who look like you. They understand and can relate to your struggles.
After our initial conversation, she gave me my diagnosis. My diagnosis was anxiety disorder. This is accurate because I worry and stress about EVERYTHING! My treatment plan includes uncovering past sexual and childhood traumas and healing my inner child. Though these past experiences have had a negative impact on my adult life, I know it’s time for a change. I know I need to heal. I am ready and I know it will allow me to be open and intentional with people in my life. Healing will allow me to be more vulnerable with my loved ones. It will help me be a better me overall.
I am both excited and nervous about my journey, but it’s a trek that needs to be made. I’m looking forward to deepening the connection with my therapist and sharing my journey with you!
Thank you for reading and I look forward to updating you on my journey. I hope that my story will inspire someone else to speak with a mental health professional or even a trusted friend.
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