By Samantha McKenzie
I made an appointment to see a therapist today. I thought I should share it with you because women who hope should also be women who take care of their mental health. I needed to ask for professional help.
I have been feeling overwhelmed. The small pieces of my already hectic life have piled up. It isn’t just one thing, it’s becoming everything – parts of my career, my health, my relationships, my children, my finances and my future. I feel like these things are all rolling down the hill at the same time and I am chasing behind them. The problem is, I don’t know which one to save first. I’m used to tackling one problem at a time. I’m used to prioritizing each task and checking things off the list. I’m used to having it all together.
But here lately, I’m frozen. I’m looking at segments of my life in disarray and not feeling the urge to do anything about it. I don’t have any answers and I’m fresh out of solutions. The problem solver is about to tap out. I realized it when I started limiting my social life – lessening interactions with close friends and confidants, secretly waiting for my normal self to pop back into play. It’s easy to keep things on the inside, it can be the safest place to hide. Weeks have gone by and still nothing.
So today I decided to go back to therapy. I’ve been before, once in 2009 and again in 2013. I’m actually a fan of the idea of getting therapy…in theory. My track record says otherwise. Let’s face it, I’m a product of my culture. We are not used to letting others see our frailties. We are always expected to be strong, made to be tough, almost resilient. A blessing and a curse. Our culture has taught us that therapy is for “the others.” Not us. And we bought into it. Our traditions prompted us to pray about it and then live quietly in denial about everything, especially the things that are too embarrassing to speak of.
A culture that has never had the luxury of falling to pieces. That’s us.
The truth is that we should all have a therapist, the same way we have a mechanic, a doctor, a dentist and a fitness trainer.
So for now, I am giving myself permission to be exhausted. I’m opening my mind to the signs of depression and the outcomes of stress. I’m going to practice asking for professional help.