My Therapy Journey
Over a year ago I started seeing Patti. Every other Thursday I sat down on her mini couch and discussed things that I never really talked about before. It was awkward to sit there and talk about myself without giving her a chance to divulge, but I was paying so it seemed like an even exchange. The hour flew by as I opened up about my past, my family and reason that I was there today. I sought Patti’s help because I recently came to realization that I was raped by an old boyfriend. It was something I suppressed for many years. I couldn’t believe that my own mind played this awful trick on me, but it had thrown me for a loop. I have always been a warrior and very strong in everything, but I hated to see myself as a victim. That was the very thing I was running from. Deeper than just feeling as if I was a victim, I wrestled deeply with the idea of vulnerability and how I needed to always have the appearance that I was fine, strong and had it all together. The rape to me was a huge blemish on this identity I had created for myself.
Thankfully, Patti recognized the deeper issue with me. I am sure we could have spent months if not years on the hurt that the rape had caused me and how its remnants lurked into other relationships in my life but I loved how Patti help me to focus on the aspects of my trauma that I could change. Patti is a Christian like me, and she applied God’s word to the stress, invulnerability and hurt that I was experiencing. Scriptures I had read over and over for years came to life from her perspective. And the fact that she is a licensed and trained counselor enabled her to ask the right questions that led to my own self actualization and recovery. I can’t believe how far I have come in a year. I started out in her office juggling too much, incapable of resting or seeing the merciful side of God. I was a performance driven perfectionist that focused too much on results. I saw God like that as well. I thought I had to perform for God to love me and that I had to be perfect in order for him to use me. And those things couldn’t be further from the truth. The funny thing is I knew those truths in my mind, but it took a while for them to download in my heart. One thing that Patti always says to me is “Be okay with not being okay.” At the end of each session Patti would softly yet powerfully lift all the concerns I had to the Lord. Her prayers were life changing; I know for a fact because my life has dramatically changed.
I still see Patti from time to time and I love our sessions together. She helped me through a very difficult season of my life. Many times in my community seeing a therapist definitely garnered a side eye or two, it’s just not something that black folks do. However, it is something that we so often need. Especially, being a Christian some of us try to push through mental trauma alone because we believe that Sunday sermon’s are enough and our pride tells us we can work it out ourselves. And while for some that maybe true. For others, God has placed people like Patti throughout communities to help those who love God find their way through the darkness. She didn’t just give me a cliche scripture and tell me to pray about it; she went through scriptures with me, prayed by my side and showed me a side of God I never saw before and that ultimately healed me.
I pray whoever is reading this and is going through a dark season understands that there is professional help out there and you don’t have to struggle alone. Especially for my Christian brothers and sisters who feel defensive about seeking help, know that God uses his people not just in the pulpit on Sunday mornings but on a small couch in a therapist office in New Jersey.