We lost another hero; Chadwick Boseman’s tenacity to fight such a difficult and courageous battle, all while changing the world, makes him one of the true greats.
2020 has been a deafening year. Our lives have all been disrupted in one shape or another. Sometimes speaking to an independent person may be beneficial when we’re struggling with our emotions, facing challenging times and/or think that that our mental health is in the balance.
A family member told me once that she was considering buying therapy for her children as a gift and I seriously thought ‘you’re on to something here’. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself many-a-times in the toilets of a bar or club either counselling or seeking counsel from a fellow female (shout out to all my past listeners!). I personally find it easier to talk about my personal problems to people who don’t know me. Note I said, people who don’t know me, rather than people I don’t know.
I have struggled, and still do, to let my guard down to those who see me as strong. I’m working on this. Lockdown tested my mental wellbeing and I have been finding different ways of coping. I have also been exploring what therapy could do for me.
Therapy doesn’t come cheap and when you can afford this and wish to access a black therapist, you can be met with long waiting lists (this is the position I find myself in). The NHS is bursting at the seams, so finding free therapy is mythical. What can you do if you need to talk to someone but can’t access psychotherapy?
I’ve suggested just a few approaches I’ve been taking recently:
- Consider reaching out to someone you believe you can trust outside of your close circle. There may be a person you feel a connection with. It may be as simple as you spotting shared experiences. Message them and ask if they have 15 minutes to spare to talk about what is connecting you. You will find that others want to talk too – especially when they have shared their experience publically.
- Look for free support groups. Due to Coronavirus, lots of free online services are springing up. Search around and find the right one for you.
- Check out podcasts and videos such as TED talks – although this isn’t the same as talking to someone, being inspired by persons who’ve walked your journey can benefit your personal growth.
- I follow some brilliant Instagram accounts such as House of Self therapy, Black Minds Matter and Therapy for Black Girls. They post regular daily tips and guidance which has helped me to get through some tough days.
- If you have triggers, set boundaries. New triggers will appear all the time, but for the ones that we know, it’s important to protect ourselves from these. If it’s distressing images, avoid these. If it’s particular people, mute, block or take the brave step to walk away from them.
- Don’t be afraid to share your story. You’ll be surprised as just how many of us have the same experiences and want to offer support in one form or another – even if it’s just a few kind words! Whether you do this on your social media platform, or share with the person you’ve decided to open up to, releasing your stress, anxiety or trauma is a big step to moving forward from where you find yourself standing.
Black people are more likely to develop mental health conditions compared to others. Let’s reverse this trend. It’s not a taboo to seek help for your mental wellbeing and more than anything, you deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life. Taking steps of look after you should be a priority. We can’t ignore the profound inequalities that exist for black patients accessing mental health services but we can change the narrative and take control of our own destinies.
Take today to focus on you.
Sending light and love always.