BEGINNING COUNSELING THERAPY
Almost thirty years ago, my mother casually suggested that my children and I engage in family counseling. I was recently divorced and had two small sons. I responded as I often did back then when she made suggestions. I brushed it off. As a young woman, I did not value my mother’s observation about many things. I might even be rich now had I heeded her advice on saving. I thought I had it all together and knew what was best for me and my family. Well, I did not have it all together and on many levels my family suffered.
Since then, my children and I have had many opportunities to engage in therapy, yet for one reason or another, it did not last. The truth is, I did not want someone else “in my business.” I did not want anyone else to witness our family dysfunction. I had created an image that I did not want anyone to toy with. So, I simply adjusted the weight and carried on. Women, especially Black women, are masters at this.
When I decided to remarry, we went from being a single parent household to a blended family. Blending a family can be an extremely difficult endeavor. My husband and I ignored our inability to deal with the various aspects of our new family. We had college degrees but lack the information and skills for successfully blending our families. Like so many other couples of our generation, we assumed things would simply fall in place. The result was a family blended in a rock tumbler. The experience was tumultuous, to say the least. We survived, but not without scares.
In January 2019, my mother died. She quietly transitioned while sitting in her rocking chair in her bedroom. On December 26, 2019, my beloved husband died in the hospital. These events compiled with the challenges and changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and continued images of racism caused me to experience anxiety and feelings of depressions. I contemplated going to therapy but could not decide who to trust with my innermost thoughts and feelings. I found someone in July and made an appointment. Due to some unforeseen issues, I canceled. This happened more than once. Finally, on October 16, 2020, I completed my first session.
The session was conducted via Telehealth. I was a little nervous just before logging on and even cried a few tears thinking about what I might be discussing. My therapist made it so easy though. The setting was warm and personable. She graciously eased me through the session. Listening intently and questioning effectively, she helped me discover things within myself of which I was unaware. Then she encouraged me to engage in some activities that would make life less anxious and more enjoyable. When it was over, I felt light and happy and pleased with myself for taking this important first step.
After the session, I left home to meet my son for lunch. As I was driving, I began to cry because I could feel joy bubbling up from my soul. I could not really explain it except to say that something was being lifted from me. I thought to myself, “If I had known therapy tasted this good, I would have done it long ago.” I was grateful and made a new determination to live authentic and true to myself.
I realize that there is much work ahead. However, I am determined to engage life intentionally and with purpose. I also realize that to do that I need help to identify the many things that are happening within me that may hamper my progress. In addition, I need assistance in developing strategies for success. My goal is to live in what Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, calls my GENIOUS ZONE with no upper limits. Good change is on the horizon of my life and I am here for it.