I started going to therapy two months ago.
As you know, I have my fair share of issues and my therapist has been so helpful in teaching me how to face, heal from and eventually overcome the obstacles I face due to my homeless upbringing.
As I've announced, I started 2020 off homeless and alone. 2019 was a rough year for me mentally and I found myself broken. I spent most days in bed with the covers over my head. I was never suicidal, I just wanted to feel better. The only time I felt peace was when I was asleep. So, that's what I did.
In June of 2019, I applied to be a seat filler for the BET Awards rehearsals and was accepted. I drug myself out of bed and went to watch the performances. I got to see the entire show from start to finish. It was on this day, that I met the likes of DaBaby, Cardi B and Offset. I saw John Legend perform for the third time and I shook Mary J Blige's hand. I screamed at Billy Ray Cyrus something disrespectful about Miley while he and Lil Nas X performed Old Time Road. But the most important performer that I watched that day was Lizzo. There was something about how carefree and fierce she was. I mean here was this plus sized Goddess standing in her truth and living her best life regardless of what ANYBODY had to say. Plus she was talented. Like super talented. The Queen was playing the flute while she was bent over and twerking.
If I had to describe what it feels like to be depressed, I would say that it feels like drowning except, you don't know that you're drowning. When I arrived at the Staples Center that morning, I was laying at the bottom of a depression pool...unconcious. I didn't even know that I was so severly depressed. Self awareness isn't really the focus when you're so far gone. Lizzo pulled me up off the floor and brought me up for air with her performance that day. But I still had a long way to go.
I would compare the rest of 2019 to me flaling around in the pool trying desperately to find something to grip with my hands or feet so I could climb out of the pool. I began #MyFitnessJourney a few months after the BET Awards. Getting my body moving and having something to focus on like eating every four hours and counting my macros helped me stay above water. However, it was too late.
When you're laying in bed all day with the covers over your head you're not making money. When you're not making money your savings begins to run dry. When my savings came up empty, I was evicted from my apartment. Granted, I fought with tooth and nail to prevent my eviction. I was actually able to prolong the process for an entire three months. But in the end, I lost my case.
Here's the thing. When I was evicted from my apartment, I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. I hadn't realized, until then, that I had been holding my breath for ten years.
On August 24, 2010 I may have walked into my college dorm room officially ending my seventeen year battle with homelessness physically, but there was still so much work to do to heal from that trauma. I felt numb, lost, and guilty that I had left my mother and brother to continue being homeless without me.
I never did that work. Instead, I drowned myself in classes, majors, jobs, and extra curriculars to mask the pain that I was still very much in. This is where my journey with depression began.
What goes up must come down and vice versa. Eventually, overtime, those feelings and trauma begin to claw their way out of me and manifested in many different ways in my life. When 2019 hit, it was like I could no longer hide from them. They were just there with me every day, looming over my head.
One of those feelings was fear; fear of being homeless again and back on the streets. I didn't know that I was carrying it, all I knew was that I couldn't allow myself a moment to rest. I needed to work two, three, and four jobs in order to make sure that the rent was always paid. So, for ten years, I worked myself into the ground until my body broke down and couldn't take it anymore. The depression I felt in 2019 was exhausting. That is why I was in bed all the time, because no matter how much sleep I got, I couldn't shake the feeling of being completely drained.
I had did that to myself, worked myself into despair and when it all came to a hilt, it was devastating. So, my eviction was a relief because it meant I didn't have to be afraid anymore.
On the flip side of that, I was embarrassed. Here I was, after ten years of telling my story and hopes to help people yet, I wasn't even fully healed myself. I had ended up right back where I started. What would people think? What would people say?
I knew there were so many people out there, who would be willing to help me, but I was too ashamed to ask for help. So, I suffered alone while I worked to claw my way out of the mess I was in. Knowing I was alone, facing a fear that had been building inside of me for ten years, sent me into another state of depression that I had never felt before.
Whereas before, I never knew I was depressed until weeks/months in, this time, I knew without a doubt. Imagine stepping outside of yourself and looking at you sad, alone, and terrified beyond belief. I was panicked because I saw me and wanted to help myself but I didn't know how. You feel hopeless. You feel disappointment. You feel like you're being attacked on all sides by your mind with no where to run. Plot twist, I was holding myself down, under the water in the pool.
At this point in my life there was only one thing keeping me from going under completely. That would be my younger siblings. At that time, I had grown so close to one of my sisters that I was seeing her twice a week. We'd get together to do homework and I'd lose myself in her tales from school and the boys she liked. I knew I needed to get better so that I could be a better sister for her. For that reason, I began looking for in patient facilities that may take me. This bout of depression was so different for me that I feared that I wouldn't be able to help myself out of it.
Unfortunately, I was a rideshare driver. The only insurance I had was for my car. So, I developed a plan to get insurance. I left ridesharing and started looking for a job.
I found a job one month later. This little bit of success helped me feel better enough to create a plan to find a home. While I worked that plan, I was able to set my depression aside, as I had done before.
Five months after that, I found a new home. However, finding my new home didn't mean I could relax. Because now, I was left with a whole new set of traumatic events that I needed to face and heal on top of the original set.
Knowing myself, I knew I couldn't just bury my trauma anymore. So, the search for therapy began.
My job offers great health insurance. I went through the process of finding a doctor that would see me for non-medical reasons in the midst of #Covid, obtained my referral, searched for weeks and finally found a therapist that I liked who would accept my insurance. I waited a few more weeks for her to have an opening in her schedule and finally, on January 14, 2021, I had my first session.
My therapist, let's call her Oprah, is damn good at what she does. From day one, she has been on her A game opening my eyes to things that I do and say that stem from a place of trauma. Therapy with the right person can change your life for the better Queens. I'm telling you. It's only been two months and I am far happier now than I was before. I am beginning to understand who I am on a deeper level and why I do the things I do. It's allowing me the opportunity to really deal with the pain that I have been burying.
Think of it as having a sidekick. You are the main character, the hero in your life and your therapist is there to help you beat the bad guys or, in this case, the trauma that plagues you.
Even if you don't have trauma to overcome, nothing bad can come out of talking to someone about how you're feeling week to week or any issues that you may be facing.
In the future, I hope to break down all the many valuable lessons I have learned from my therapist. But for now, I want to leave you with this. You are not alone. If you feel lost, emotionally numb, or hopeless, please know that there are people all over the world who are feeling those feelings with you and there are even more people out there who are trained to take your hand and help you face those feelings. Please, if you are depressed, reach out for help.
You can receive help at any moment by texting "Brave" to 741741. Doing this will connect you with a crisis counselor who will talk to you and guide you towards help in your community. You can also reach out to me and I will do my best to help you in any way that I can. I am only but a direct message away.
Step into the Queen You're Meant to be Today & SLAY!
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MARCH 10,2021