Jesus + Therapy = Healing
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14
In 2016, I had my first panic attack. It had been a rough year. I mean, I lost one of my best friends to the same invasive, evil, malicious cancer that my mom suffered from. I watched him lay dying helpless once again. Prayer and crying were my only means of relief. I slept very few hours each night. I was always nervous. My stomach was always hurting. I felt nauseous. When he died, I had a permanent frown on my face for months. I went to work and tried to be normal, tried to laugh with friends and go out, but his death, the void, the emptiness was always on my mind, in my heart.
I was not okay! But it was not okay, in my opinion, to tell others that I was not okay. I lost my mother at 24 and started the journey of raising my sister. I wore strength like a brand new jacket and believed the mantra that you should “never let them see you sweat”. But guess what? I was dripping wet with sweat and “they” saw it. I wasn’t hiding it from the people who truly knew and loved me.
For months my cousin told me to get help. She insisted that I was not okay and that something was terribly wrong with me, but I deferred each time. I am just tired. I just can’t sleep. I’ve just been busy at work. But deep down, I honestly knew that I was a shell of my former self.
I attended church, dived into the word of God and prayed. Intrinsically, I knew that I would be okay. I knew that weeping would endure for a night, and that joy would come in the morning, however I was struggling to make it to the morning. It was dark, cloudy and raining in my world, even on my best days.
It was in September of 2016, 5 months after my best friend had passed that I experienced a panic attack while on the phone with my cousin. I was in the parking lot of my job and as I walked out, I just lost it; I started screaming and hyperventilating. It was terrible. It was like I knew I was supposed to be able to snap out of this, but I couldn’t.
At lunch a few days later, I shared with a friend that I would often wish for a fender bender – nothing major, on the way to work so that I would not have to go into the office. I was just that miserable at work. With eyes and mouth wide open in awe, she told me that I needed to talk to someone and soon. She said that it was imperative, that I get help and that it was not normal to want to have a wreck to get out of work.
It took a few more conversations with my friends and cousin, before I dialed the number. The stress had continued to build at work, my heart was mending slowly, my nights were sleepless. I decided to call a therapist. IT WAS THE BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE!
In the midst of going to therapy, I had several more anxiety and panic attacks. My therapist recommended that I get more intense therapy and she recommended that I go get tested for depression and anxiety. No ma’am! I am a strong black woman and I am not depressed or anxious! LIES! Against my better judgement, I went to the doctor and sat through a battery of tests that determined that I was suffering from severe depression and high anxiety.
I was taken off of work for six weeks and enrolled in group sessions, one - on - one therapy, and mental health classes. It was WONDERFUL. I learned to integrate spirituality with mental health. I learned about setting boundaries and saying no and putting myself first. I learned that I had been in survival mode for 15 years since my mother had passed away and that I was not only grieving my best friend, but for my mother. I went immediately into survival mode so quickly after my mother’s death, that I never really grieved. I learned that the fight or flight response was supposed to last for an hour, but I had been in fight mode – survival mode, for years.
I discovered a brand new me in therapy which made me more aware and in tune with who I was, whose I was, and who I was striving to become. Therapy, for so long, has been a negative word in our communities. In many homes, therapy is synonymous with the four letter words that you better not say unless you are prepared to get your mouth washed out with soap. BUT our communities are suffering. We hide and cope by using drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, marijuana and popping pills.
The Christian community often feels like all you need to do is pray and I am a firm believer in the power of God and Prayer. It works, but sometimes you need to sit down with an unbiased professional that can help you identify your root cause, the behaviors that have you bound, the people that may have contributed to your brokenness and help you develop a plan for working out the kinks of life. Therapy is not a bad word. Even the Bible says that in a multitude of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 24:5). Seek wise counsel. Find a therapist, and get the help and healing that you need.
Try God and then Try Therapy. Jesus + Therapy = Healing! Be Blessed. Be Healed. Live in the Red. #Loved and #Forgiven.