3 Reasons to Take Care of Your Mental Health

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Last week Kid Cudi courageously shared his struggle with depression with his fans and the world. I hope that this starts a trend that enables more people to feel comfortable opening up about their mental health struggles and and seeking help. Mental illnesses can develop from traumas that we have experienced, overwhelming stress, genetic factors, or not learning healthy ways to cope with daily stress. No matter how mental illness develops, there is no reason to feel shame about it. Mental illnesses should be thought of as symptoms on a continuum. Many of us experience symptoms of mental illnesses from time to time and sometimes those symptoms meet criteria for a mental health disorder. We all should take steps to promote our own mental health just like we work to maintain our physical health. That is one reason I started posting Daily Mental Health Tips on my Twitter and FB pages.

Today is World Mental Health Day. A day designated to raise awareness of mental health issues. In honor of this day I’m doing a brief post highlighting three reasons to take care of your mental health. Continue reading “3 Reasons to Take Care of Your Mental Health”

You Are Enough

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You are enough. Right now, right in this moment, you are enough. You are worthy of life, of love, of joy. If you never change anything about yourself, you are enough. If you wear your hair natural or straight, if your skin is light or dark, if your clothes are never in style, you are enough. If you are too thin, if you are overweight, if you haven’t lost the baby weight, if you have an unhealthy relationship with food, you are enough. If you didn’t finish school, if you failed in school, if you only got one degree, if you have a few letters behind your name, you are enough. If you lost your job, if you were laid off, if you didn’t make that 30 under 30 or 40 under 40 list, you are enough. If you are living pay check to pay check, if you are struggling to pay your rent, if you moved back home because of debt, you are enough.  If you are single, if your relationship doesn’t work out, if you never get married, if your marriage falls apart, you are enough. If you had children as a teenager, if your kids throw tantrums in public and struggle in school, if you’re struggling to get pregnant, if you can’t have children, if you don’t want children, you are enough. If you’ve never had sex, if you’ve been raped, if you’ve been abused, if you have an STD, you are enough. If you’re questioning your sexual identity, if you’re transitioning, if you’re coming out, you are enough. If you get angry and yell, if you cry, if you shut down, you are enough. If you are estranged from your family, if your family is taking over your life, you are enough. Right now, in this moment, just as you are, you are enough. Continue reading “You Are Enough”

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide

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“And this is for Colored girls who have considered suicide, but are moving to the ends of their own rainbows.”

– Ntozake Shange, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

Imagine what it would be like if every day began to feel grey. You wake up, struggle to get out of bed, maybe you don’t make it some days. Things got worse when someone you had a crush on raped you after you flirted and danced at a wonderful party. You felt ashamed and deeply hurt. You didn’t feel you could tell anyone for fear of people blaming and questioning you. You don’t feel there’s anyone you can call. You get the sense that everyone dislikes you. People are slow to respond to text messages. You know that you used to have the energy to engage in life but you can’t remember what motivated you before. You cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel. You begin closing in on yourself. Ignoring calls and texts from family and friends. Assuming that they don’t really care, that they don’t really want to hear about how you’re doing. You start drinking and smoking more to numb out the difficult feelings. You feel guilty for not enjoying your life. You have a job that pays well, an apartment, a car, nice clothes, a couple of degrees. You should be happy, right? You start having thoughts that there is no way you can be in this place of loneliness, isolation, despair for long. You’re not sure how much you can take.  Continue reading “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide”

3 Common Dating Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

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As the season for summer flings winds down and people start to make choices about whom to date more seriously, I want to share my thoughts on common mistakes people make when dating and my recommendations for how to make wise choices about romantic relationships.

I have had countless conversations with girlfriends about our dating lives. We talk about what the latest person (or people) we are dating are doing. What we hope potential partnerships will be like, what we hope they will look like, the amount of money we hope they will make, etc. Recently, I’ve begun to think that we are not focusing on the most important things during these conversations. My experience as a couples therapist has helped me to understand that many people have good intentions but are unaware of important building blocks for strong, healthy, long-lasting relationships. I think a lot of us date in ways that do not help us to understand whether the people we are dating will be good long term partners for us. Essentially, I think we focus on the wrong things, which leads us to make mistakes when dating. Continue reading “3 Common Dating Mistakes & How to Avoid Them”

Letting go of Superwoman: Asking for Help

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Black women have been socialized to be superwomen. To take on everything ourselves, to fill in gaps and handle responsibilities that other people relinquish. Taking on things by ourselves and pushing through difficult times has allowed Black women to accomplish amazing things and it has also taken a toll. As children, many of us saw the women in our lives taking on the world and rarely asking for help. It may have been implicitly or explicitly communicated to us that asking for help is a sign of weakness. However, not asking for help when you need it can lead to feeling overwhelmed and reaching a breaking point. Not asking for help can contribute to depression, anxiety, general stress, and health issues. Not asking for help can limit our ability to take care of ourselves and build resentment in relationships.  Continue reading “Letting go of Superwoman: Asking for Help”

Discipline: Necessary for Success

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It has been inspiring to watch Black women to do so well at the Olympics and wow the world with their talent, power, and poise. Black women are kept out of many spaces and often overlooked so seeing these Olympians take center stage, shatter records, and represent America is particularly moving. While the performances of these athletes looks easy, they are not. I’m sure these women have spent thousands of hours perfecting their craft, strengthening their bodies, and preparing their minds to execute on the largest athletic stage in the world. I’m sure that all of these women have engaged in high levels of discipline. I doubt any of them would have succeeded without discipline. Continue reading “Discipline: Necessary for Success”

Self-Care: A Form of Activism

Path to Beach“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audrey Lorde

We are in the midst of troubling times and it’s not clear when we will get relief. In my last post I talked about the trauma many of us are experiencing in response to the killing of black and brown people in the US. After I shared my post, many of us witnessed the shooting of 11 people, most of whom were police officers, by a black man who stated that he was angry at police and white people, and seemingly fed up by the frequent and disproportional killings of black people by police. This has heightened already elevated tensions between black people and police. No matter where you fall in the context of this debate, as black people it is essential that we take care of ourselves during these trying times. Continue reading “Self-Care: A Form of Activism”