I kicked off Minority Mental Health Awareness Month with an appointment with my new therapist. I don’t need any pity because of it — this is just part of my total self-care journey.
Let me tell you a little about myself. I became a mom of three overnight. I inherited three amazing children but it didn’t come without challenges. If PID (post inheritance depression — NOT pelvic inflammatory disease) was a thing, I’m sure I developed it. I went through waves of not feeling “good enough” for the job. Now that I think of it, I used to feel that way about a lot of things so I’m not really sure why I’m shocked.
Anyhow, I went through waves of these feelings and they were compounded by the opinions of folks who didn’t feel like I was “good enough” either. What do I mean by that? I’ve been told that my opinion doesn’t matter because I’m not a real mother. I’ve gotten backhanded Mother’s Day greetings (ex. Happy Mother’s Day even though you’re not a true mother yet). I’ve even been overlooked all together — yes, completely “forgotten” about on days that it matters most.
Even now, I still struggle a little bit with it. I find myself feeling like I have to give disclaimers where none are truly needed. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, yet I still find myself doing it. It’s frustrating! I’m just as good of a mother as the other good moms out there. I just feel like there’s this unrealistic expectation of motherhood that I’ve allowed people to make me feel is the only way — and it’s not.-
This series of unfortunate events along with some other battles I’ve fought (that I’ll share on my blog later this year) sent me into a rolling depression. After careful consideration and support from my husband, I decided to find a therapist. That worked out well until she went on maternity leave — and then I was essentially “on my own”.
Fast forward to present day —
It’s been over six months since I had a therapy appointment and I didn’t realize how much I missed going. My old therapist had a baby and her new schedule didn’t work for me. So, I supplemented with some pharmacotherapy until I could find a new spot to frequent.
I always said I never wanted a male therapist because I felt like they wouldn’t be as empathetic — I was wrong! Leading up to the appointment, I built up so much anxiety about seeing a male therapist. By the time the appointment actually came, it was at least needed for that.
However, I was welcomed into the office with a cup of coffee (made my way) and a smile. I won’t go into detail about the appointment but I will say this — I feel good! My therapist made me realize how many things I actually do right. I’m so hard on myself about everything that I hardly ever give myself enough credit.
As Black women, we carry the world on our shoulders. We have to be strong for ourselves and those who depend on us….and that is exhausting. We leave little time for ourselves — literally. In this first appointment, I was reminded of the importance of taking care of ME.
Because I’m task oriented, we came up with a plan to keep me on track with my self-care. I’ve learned that I’m better at following up on tasks I give other people but I slack on myself. So, my the plan we’re working on is actually quite simple — task my therapist with tasking me with keeping up with my self-care.
As easy as it sounds, I’m up for the challenge!
How will I do it? I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve that might end up working for you too!
Scheduling — If it isn’t on my calendar, it doesn’t exist. I literally make calendar events for everything. My self-care is no different! I make appointments to remind me to do the things they are self-care. This includes reminder to make more hair and nail appointments. That way, I don’t find myself in a fit of frustration “wishing” I had an appointment because it’s already on the books long before I need it.
Boundaries — No is my favorite word and sentence. Yes, no is a complete sentence folks. If I don’t want to do it or it’s not going to add value to my life, I’m not doing it. I’ve made it a point to honor my feelings first because I’m not good to others if I’m not good to myself. This means having to say “no”.
Honesty — This one goes along with boundaries. In honoring my feelings, I have to be honest with myself and those around me. Whenever something happens that I don’t like, I say it. I’m no longer going to allow people to have power over me they don’t care about how it makes me feel. You have feelings and I do too. I can honor both of those while still making myself a priority.
Flexibility — Flexibility has been my biggest task in self-care. I like things a certain way and I don’t like to deviate from it. However, flexibility is important in making sure you’re not so rigid that you create more problems. This past weekend, I found myself rushing from appointment to appointment. These appointments were part of my self-care routine. However, the stress of all of the rushing ruined it because I didn’t give myself enough flexibility.
Accountability — Hold yourself accountable! If you say you’re going to treat yourself or that you’re going to turn down that request for help — do it. We are our biggest cheerleaders but we can also be our biggest enemies. Stop letting yourself down for the sake of others. Ride for you the same way you want to ride for them and make sure you get it done!
Brittany Chatman is the owner and curator of Chat With Bee, a chic blog that captures her thoughts on topics her followers can learn from. She started Chat With Bee to have an outlet where she could encourage others and share her advice and thoughts on various topics. As a wife and mother of three, you can only imagine how much she has to share. In a little over a year, Brittany has captivated her audience with posts on motherhood, self-discovery, lifestyle, and even health. Coming to you from the Sunshine State, it is Brittany’s hope that Chat With Bee can brighten your life is many ways!