Lately, I’ve been very tired. Could be because I have been not eating food with protein. It could be also because I have been learning so much about my speciality (in special education) through my student teaching experiences these past few months. So lately, I’ve been trying to go to bed on time. Nope still tired. How about shortening my hours with Uber? Hmm…while that has been nice not having to start Uber from 5 in the morning, so I can be back at my student teaching site before 10am, that hasn’t helped either. Okay…maybe because I have not been consistent with my antidepressants. It helps, but still no… Ugh!
So yesterday after two weeks, I went back to church. I haven’t been because I’ve been trying to catch up on my homework and student teacher assignments. But I gotta say after going to church my I felt recharged again! Man! Without my spiritually would continued to feel the deep chasm that I call, depression. Holy crap! I could have continued to be a mess this week without that!
I feel with God in my life, He has given me strength that I couldn’t do on my own. He has given me blessings (especially this year), I couldn’t believe I could have ever received..or even asked for! While yes there is, of course, Christianity the religion I follow, my relationship God is what really matters to me. I have been to the Mormon church and to the Catholic Church. I met people who call themselves, “Christians” but it seems that it’s just a label to to some “Christians”…but God has been my constant through. After all, human beings can disappoint you, even those nearest and dearest to you. And having Him in my life has helped me humble myself (I’m trying to at least) when those relationships fail and/or disappoint me.
Having God in my life has helped me to rely on Him than rely on myself (again, I’m trying to). When living with both anxiety AND depression, they leave me in such a disarray. Anxiety makes me feel like I have the “whole world is on my shoulders” or that “nobody” likes me or that I can’t trust other people or to expect nothing but bad and/or hard times in life. On the other hand, depression makes me that I’m not good enough or life sucks in general or I’m “behind in my life”. But with God, He reminds me that I’m His child and that He will be my strength in the hard times. He will be a friend to the friendless or that:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36 NIV
“Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire.” Psalm 37:4 (Can be used when hoping for a spouse)
“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 (Good when hoping for a spouse)
Yeah, these a but a few scriptures I used when I feel down or hopeless and that I’m more than my problems that I am a child of the most High God. It’s not to say that I never experience depression or anxiety, but having my spirituality in tact, keeps me in check…especially in the times we live in. It was because of my faith in God, He has gotten me and family through some pretty tough scrapes. It was because of God, my depression and anxiety hadn’t completely over taken me. It was because of God that He has given me the grace to overcome my previous experience with sexual assault everyday.
Now you’re probably wondering “If God is SO great why does He let bad things happen? Why are you living with mental illness and why did He allow that hideous situation to happen to you?” To be honest, I don’t know and I’m not going to “pretend” I do. Heck… aren’t there are somethings we do and then after the situation has taken place, you ask yourself, “Why did I do that?” Even our own actions will be a mystery to ourselves, much less knowing why bad or good things happen. I do know as according to the Bible, as long as we live in the world of the flesh, we live in a world that is unfortunately, covered by sin. Look in the book of Genesis. In this life, again unfortunately, bad things can still happen to good people, even if they are Christian. As much as I wish that label would be a guarantee that I wouldn’t face any hardship or that I wouldn’t undergo pain or disappointment or that I wouldn’t experience health problems, that is not how Christianity works. Christianity is a way of life which gets harder with each passing age of time. But I have faith that God will give me the strength in this sinful world to overcome its hardships. This world, this life, while it can be beautiful and wonderful, can still be difficult and painful. Trust me…my anxiety and depression remind me that everyday. But all I know is as long as my spirituality is in tact and my relationship with God is constant, I’ll be fine.
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
Lately, I’ve been listening to inspirational podcasts on spirituality and mental health and it definitely helps when stuck in the traffic jams of L.A. I will let you know about some of those podcasts in the near future.
“Therapy For Black Girls” has been one of those mental health podcasts I’ve been listening to, because well…it’s nice to hear another take on mental health in the Black community and not to mention…there’s very few Black women as therapists and psychologists, because trust me if there were I’d be at their site. But for now, listening to mental health podcasts such as “Therapy For Black Girls” serves as an additional source to therapy, self-help books and the Bible. Can’t forget my Bible.
The host for “Therapy For Black Girls”, “Dr. Joy, for the week of March 6th, had a podcast session on “The Psychology of the Black Panther”, with guest, Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Parent Coach, Mercedes Samudio. The podcast I found interesting because it talked about how the “Black Panther” film, finally gave African Americans like myself a sense of pride seeing people that look like us on the silver screen taking on amazing roles and feats. And especially if you’re already a Black Nerd/Geek, like myself, it is awe-inspiring! The podcast also talked a lot about the issues I have always felt that Hollywood has failed to show with people of color…. Like seeing Black folks in a fantasy world, even if it’s in a dystopian one. I mean is Hollywood trying to say that we won’t exist in the 50 or so years??? I hope Black Panther will not be the last sci-fi/fantasy movie in the years to come, in addition to a sequel.
So I’m going to stop right here, before I ruin the rest of the podcast (because I’m very good at ruining things. I don’t mean to, I just get excited and forget myself.), so here is the site to the podcast and the one you can listen to from the “Therapy for Black Girls” website.
As as of right now, I am attending three therapy sessions: Celebrate Recovery at my church, therapy at my school, and therapy outside of school. The one I am seeing is outside of school is mainly for me to deal with relationship issues and overcome my sexual assault experience and therapy in my school is mostly to deal with my anxiety and depression. Then there’s is my sessions with my psychologist at school, where I can also get more prescription on my meds, but that’s like one a month.
Yeah I have my hands full with all three of those sessions in addition to student-teaching, going to school and work. Whew! But I’m happy, because I’m able to have the help I need to get through the week. And I feel like I’m getting what I need emotionally and spirituality too, because my spirituality has helped me keep me going in spite of my mental illnesses. I’m learning about relationships through the relationships I’m developing in all those sessions, which then is helping me have a better relationship with myself as well.
So how did I happen to get such wonderful people? Well…to be honest…luck and trial and error. I’ve gone through 5 therapists and I’ve been to a previous Celebrate Recovery event at a church I use to attend, so I’ve learned what I’ve wanted and not wanted in my trials of recovery. My…how I shall I put this…last to third therapist (???) was a good at CBT and helped out a lot on that, but what I didn’t like was how he didn’t seem to take in mind how much God meant a lot to me just because he didn’t believe so much in God (even though he came from a Jewish background. Go figure.) Then if I were to bring up my relationships with guys in how they treat me, he’d kinda get offended, like I was offending him, which was weird. Sometimes, I think back on it, I wished I had switched to another therapist or at least got a female therapist instead.
If you’ve been in an awkward situation with a therapist that doesn’t mean you have to stop going to therapy, but rather change your therapist. I know the change is inconvenient because perhaps your current therapist was better than your previous therapist or it took you forever ever to find the most “decent” therapist. So how do you know if a therapist is right for you? How do you know if they are crossing the line (although that’s what you do in therapy basically)? These are the things I did not like from my previous therapists:
- Not Being Sensitive to my beliefs or Background
- Checking the clock too much
- Imposing religious, spiritual, political or social beliefs—In this case it was more of social beliefs; not believing in monogamous relationships, recommending me to a dating website (that ended up leading me to my assaulter) when perhaps, as much as I wanted, wasn’t ready to be in a relationship yet.
- Not understanding what I want—When I was an undergrad, I told my therapist I felt something was wrong with me, but he didn’t seem think anything was wrong. Yeah he looked as the DSM 4 (yeah, that was a while ago), but he didn’t give me any tests that suggested I may have had a major depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder. I didn’t get diagnosed with those by another mental health professional–this time a psychiatrist—several years later. This would have saved me a lot of time.
My two new therapists have really helped me out a lot, perhaps in more ways than my previous therapists have. They are pretty much the opposite of the previous therapists… well maybe my third to last therapist did challenge me and did help me learn as well, but what I did appreciate from my latest therapists is that they showed acceptance and compassion. It helps that they don’t just see me as a patient or a patient that they’re using for their counseling degree (most of the therapists I’ve seen are at schools), but as a person too and it helps me (indirectly) learn how good relationships form. So if you don’t have a good relationship with a therapist, then like any other person in your life, you can always leave.
Below are some links that can give you advice on the good traits and bad traits of a therapist whether you meet them in person, online, over the phone or through text. I hope these articles will prove most helpful for you! At least it will save you more time. I had to learn the hard and long way!
Self Love. A poem by Charlie Chaplin
As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.
As I began to love myself, I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, even though this person was me.
Today I call it RESPECT.
As I began to love myself, I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
Today, I call it MATURITY.
As I began to love myself, I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at exactly the right moment, so I could be calm.
Today I call it CONFIDENCE.
As I began to love myself, I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm.
Today I call it SIMPLICITY.
As I began to love myself, I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health…food, people, things, situations and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.
As I began to love myself, I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening.
Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.
As I began to love myself, I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide and out of their crashing new worlds are born.
Today I know that is LIFE.
I almost didn’t want to buy my dinner today after student-teaching. Not because I DON’T want to cook, but I don’t want to encounter people. I didn’t want to interact with people. The thought of doing it, exhausts me.
Whenever I have to start my day, I have to prep myself for encountering people: what they do and what they say. It helps me develop the energy and mindset to do so. I have a set amount of people I either want to see a period at a time or for the whole day. Or if I’m going to event, then I know that I have to prepare myself to meet a whole ton of people. It may seem rude, but it’s part of living with a chronic mental disability.
I know this is a bit of an oxymoron, but I’m a pretty chill anxious person and there is nothing I can do about separating those parts of me. I’ve tried. It’s more exhausting trying to separate those parts of me, than the actual cathartic symptoms of anxiety and depression. So I’ve learned to choose my battles wisely and chose being kind to myself instead. I chose giving myself healing when I feel stressed. I chose accepting where I’m at with myself.