Earlier this year I went through a traumatic experience which took me three months to recover from. In fact, I sometimes still get anxious when thinking about it (which probably means I’m still recovering). I am glad that I immediately asked for help when the particular incident happened.
I hit up my trusted doctor on social media, Dr Sindi and she suggested a few places where I could get help. I recognised from the onset that I was traumatised and that there was no way that I could just go on with my life without addressing what happened. We need to talk things out, no matter how hard it is.
Friends can be a great form of support, but I have found that I hardly ever bear my entire soul to my friends. I always either withhold certain things from them completely, or I share very selectively, leaving out details that I feel are too sensitive – I absolutely love and trust my friends, but I don’t need everyone knowing all my business.
Attending therapy sessions with a psychologist, who was so far removed from my life, allowed me to be completely vulnerable without feeling like I will get judged later on. I think the fact that she was a black woman made it even better. Black women have always been protectors to us black men, but that is a topic for another day.
I don’t go into detail about what happened, but I make no secret of the fact that I do see a psychologist when I need one and I don’t think any of us should be ashamed of that. Kerry Washington summed it up so well for me in the April 2015 issue of Glamour when she said;
On seeing a therapist
“I say that publicly because I think it’s really important to take the stigma away from mental health. My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. I go to the dentist. So why wouldn’t I go to a shrink?”
These final weeks of 2016 are all about self-care for me. I realise that I spend a lot of time pouring into others, but if I don’t take care of my own cup, there will be nothing left in it to pour, so I need to make sure my own cup is full. That way others can benefit from the overflow.
If you need to talk to someone, but feel like you need more than just the empathy that your friends can offer, reach out to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (011 234 4837). They not only give you support and perspective, but can also facilitate the process of helping you deal with your problems practically.