But making the choice to see a therapist wasn’t easy. Honestly, I was deathly afraid to seek help. Like I said, I was taught that this was something white people did. If you watched tv, you saw white people sitting on a couch, not Black people.
When I found out that two good girlfriends of mine not only saw therapists but were also on medication that their therapist prescribed, I was shocked –– they were professional Black women, like me. Knowing this and then talking to them helped me feel a tad bit more comfortable about going to my first session.
Honestly, I still was scared of what my momma would think. But ultimately, I’m so thankful for all of the reasons that got me to walk through that door because it was transformative.
Today, I look forward to all my appointments –– sometimes I plan when I walk in the door, sometimes I simply cry, all the time I leave better for what I have experienced in that room.
An additional gift therapy has given me is the ability to inspire others to get the help they need. When I finally jumped and blogged about my experience, I was shocked that so many women reached out to me from that one post. So many were suffering in silence like I had. Because of that blog post, other women began to go to therapy. And since that first session, everyone in my family, including my children, have received therapy.
We even took our son at the age of seven for anger management. It completely changed his life for the better. My husband regularly attends therapy sessions. My dad goes for PTSD from the Vietnam War, and my mom started going this summer as a wife of a PTSD spouse. My parents said they went because I went.
My suggestion is to allow therapy to assist you in getting some relief from life’s pressures. Did you know your insurance may even cover it?
Call the number on the back of your Insurance card and ask about your FREE EAP benefits.
According to Psychiatry.org, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) have been around for decades, and many companies provide them for their employees and families at no cost. An estimated 97 percent of companies with more than 5,000 employees have an EAP; 80 percent of companies with 1,001 – 5,000 employees have an EAP; and 75 percent of companies with 251 – 1,000 employees have an EAP.
Yet, no more than five percent of people with access to EAPs use them. Up to 40 percent of workers are unaware of whether their workplace provides EAP and what services are available. In addition to not knowing about EAP services –– reasons people do not use them include the stigma associated with mental health and substance use services and concerns about privacy and confidentiality.
I can tell you, getting over the stigma associated with mental health services is one of the best gifts I have given myself and my family, along with learning how to use my EAP benefits.
Most companies give you eight free sessions.