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  • alishabridges4

How Therapy Helped my Mental Health

Updated: Feb 25

Black woman in Omw to therapy... Brb tee
Me in my OMW to Therapy Tee from

In 2014, a series of setbacks forced me into a transformative journey. Financial struggles, painful separation from my then-husband, job loss, homelessness, and the loss of a beloved pet were the harsh ingredients of that year. It was undoubtedly one of the toughest periods in my life, but it was also the crucible that forged my growth. This tumultuous year pushed me to explore a hidden aspect of myself and introduced me to the resilient woman within, yearning for liberation.

Depression had a firm grip on me during this period, and the separation from my husband brought forth unhealed childhood wounds I had never recognized. Negative energy seemed to suffocate my hope for a brighter future. In an attempt to shed the insecurities stemming from my failed marriage, I found myself in a toxic relationship marked by emotional abuse and manipulation. Unresolved trauma had warped my understanding of love and relationships, and I was blind to the damage this relationship inflicted on my life. However, an inner voice, perhaps intuition, my subconscious, or a higher power, whispered that I needed to change my life's course and relationship patterns.

In the fall of 2014, I took a crucial step and sought therapy. Despite my unemployment and financial strain, I recognized that my mental and emotional well-being deserved top priority. I initially tried counseling at my church, but it didn't align with my needs. Fortunately, I stumbled upon the Samaritan Counseling Center of Atlanta, which offered affordable mental healthcare on a sliding scale. I paid just $25 per session and attended twice a month.

2014 was a pivotal year that set me on a new life trajectory. The experiences I endured were necessary for my personal evolution, and I credit therapy with birthing a new version of myself. Fast forward to 2020, and therapy remains an integral tool in my life, continually reshaping me for the better.

Here are 5 ways therapy helped my mental health:

  1. Healing My Inner Child: Therapy unearthed the wounds of my inner child – that part of me is still affected by childhood experiences. I discovered that feelings of unworthiness and unlovability were echoes of my past. Therapy helped me reconcile with my inner child, acknowledging that her actions were driven by survival, not love. I'm now on a journey to re-parent and bring inner peace to my younger self.

  2. Challenging Negative Thought Patterns: Therapy equipped me to identify and challenge harmful thought patterns that hindered my personal growth. Negative ideas, often rooted in unresolved issues, led to self-sabotage. I've learned to confront and replace these counterproductive thoughts through dialogue with my therapist and self-compassion.

  3. Enhancing Self-Awareness: Therapy has gifted me a heightened sense of self-awareness. It empowers me to recognize my character, feelings, motives, and desires, allowing me to consciously navigate life.

  4. Healthy Conflict Resolution: Before therapy, I struggled with passive-aggressiveness and had difficulty articulating my needs without resorting to emotional manipulation. Therapy introduced me to healthier ways of addressing conflicts. I now strive to communicate openly, assess my contributions to conflicts, and practice restraint before reacting impulsively.

  5. A Safe Outlet for Venting: Friends and family can be supportive listeners, but sometimes we need an unbiased, nonjudgmental ear. My therapist offers exactly that, providing an objective perspective and challenging my beliefs, even when uncomfortable.

Today, I view mental health with the same gravity as physical well-being. Just as I prioritize physical fitness, I'm committed to maintaining my mental health through ongoing therapy. It's a lifelong journey of self-discovery, growth, and healing; I wouldn't have it any other way. Therapy is now a non-negotiable pillar of my life.

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