Over the next 5 days we will share stories from the Brown Mamas’ community purposed with fueling your coronacation. Use the #SheQuarantines and #BrownMamas to follow us on social media.

Affirmation: I am allowed to ask for help.

Story 3: Therapy for Brown Mamas

My introduction to therapy was not like the yellow couch sessions that most people envision when they think of Therapy for Black Girls.

At 13-years-old I attempted suicide with the intention to teaching my parents a lesson about how unbearable I thought our living situation was.  It was like a scene from a movie as I was rushed to the ER to have my stomach pumped.  I was, subsequently, committed to an adolescent psych unit and was forced to participate in group and individual therapy.  I had no idea how this experience would impact my life as a child, or my parents.  I had no idea how it would hurt them.

The group and individual therapy that I participated in was, however, a God send.  For the first time I felt heard.  Not criticized or judged, but heard.  The entire experience was strange, but for some reason, in a room full of people I didn’t know I felt safe.  While this experience didn’t end my bad decision making, it did help me realize that therapy could be a beacon in my life.

Fast forward to age 25, and I was raising a 5-year-old daughter at my parents’ home.  I felt miserable, depressed and angry at my child’s father, my father and my friends, who all left my side either figuratively or literally the minute they found out I was pregnant.  My friends all moved on and got through college while I was stuck at home with a baby and a headache.  For the second time in my life, I needed help.  My anger toward everyone was robbing me of enjoying the positive things that had happened in my life and seeing the possibilities.  This time I sought out therapy.  These were some of the most valuable sessions I’ve ever had.

My therapist was caring, patient and, just like me, an African-American woman, which helped me feel comfortable. This dynamic session helped me realize that I wasn’t angry with my baby’s dad or my dad, but I was angry with and hadn’t forgiven myself. My poor choices had led me to this place of anger and frustration.  I wrote a letter of healing and forgiveness to myself and read it outloud to my therapist. This experience was powerful and healing to my mind and soul. 

After that, my relationship with therapeutic services changed.  I now understand that therapy is a powerful tool in self-care and an ultimate expression of love for self and family. Therapy has been a part of my marriage journey, professional development, and parenting. Here I am today pulling out my self care toolbox and getting my therapy tool out. This time around I am entered in a new kind of support. I along with my husband decided to connect with a family therapist since we have a house full of people, six people to be exact, living in our home. 

Six people whose daily existence is being impacted by this pandemic.   Pre -Covid our days were typically so busy and schedules so full with work, business, and school that we didn’t have energy to practice self care together.  Today as we are adjusting to a new normal  my family and I are learning together how to improve our communication skills and lower anxiety  not because of a tragic incident, but because I want to model good mental health for my kids and with my partner.  We are utilizing our time home together during this pandemic to improve our communication skills with one another with family therapy. This time together in our telehealth sessions is very helpful in reminding each of us the contributions we each bring to our family and addressing the anxiety that each person didn’t realize they were feeling during this time.

I’ve learned that self-care is not just about taking care of the physical body, but is also about taking care of all of you by getting emotional support.

If you are in the middle of a mental breakdown, it’s okay to ask for help. 

With Love, Dionna

Resources for mamas during COVID-19 and beyond

Therapy for Black Girls listing of black therapist https://providers.therapyforblackgirls.com/

Surviving the #Rona Summit https://www.survivingtherona.com/summit

SheQuarantines

Muffy MendozaAuthor posts

Muffy Mendoza is an author, speaker and founder of Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a support group for nearly 4,000 African-American moms in the Pittsburgh region. To further fill the void Muffy has created a line of educational products focused on helping Black moms be the best moms, too. Her first book, The Brown Mama Mindset: A Blueprint for Black Moms on Life, Love & Home, was featured at the 2018 Essence Festival and is currently sold in various cities across the U.S. Muffy champions the beauty of Black motherhood everywhere she goes, even on the TEDx stage. Find out more about Muffy on muffymendoza.com.

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