The moment I knew I needed therapy

I was standing in the bathroom in my Wonder Woman pajamas, coincidentally, but I didn’t feel so wonderful. I’d just returned from a book signing featuring two of my favorite bloggers-turned-authors, Luvvie Ajayi and Samantha Irby. Instead of feeling inspired by their success, I felt this deep-seated envy that was unlike any emotion I’d ever experienced before.

I was listening to these incredibly hilarious women read excerpts from their critically-acclaimed books and trade jokes with each other, but on the inside, I was silently seething. I could feel myself going down a dark rabbit hole of despair. Indeed, I’d felt this way about many of my “peers.” And despite knowing better than to compare myself to other people and their accomplishments, I did it anyway, once again falling into the trap of a one-woman pity party.


This wasn’t the first time, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last…unless I got some help.

After yet another late-night conversation wherein my husband attempted to pull me out of my funk by reminding me of my awesomeness, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried real, hard tears. I looked at myself in the mirror, Wonder Woman jammies and all, thinking, What the hell is wrong with me?

On the outside, I appear to have it all together — successful career, wonderful husband, loving family, and amazing friends. And that’s all true. But on the inside, there are definitely times when I feel like a fraud. Hello, impostor syndrome.

Despite warning others about the pitfalls of social media comparison and tweeting about trusting your talent on a regular basis, I often didn’t practice what I preached. And as a result, I was harder on myself than I probably should have been. I needed help.

In recent years, I’d learned of friends going to therapy, but I never thought it was for me. I didn’t have a history of mental health disorders, abuse or addiction, so I assumed my “problems” weren’t serious enough.

I was wrong.

When I mustered the courage to finally call the practice that my friend attends, I let it all out.

young woman in therapy
young woman in therapy

“And what would you like to discuss with the therapist?” the intake person asked.

“I’m an overly ambitious, Type A perfectionist,” I blurted. “Basically, I’m a millennial in 2016. That’s my issue.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But I instantly felt relieved. I’d taken the first step toward self-care and could feel the weight lifting off my shoulders. Then I took it a step further. I specifically requested a Black female therapist because I knew I needed someone who could relate to me and the situations I regularly encounter as a Black woman. And my wish was granted.

I didn’t know what to expect of my first session and I was definitely anxious. What if there really is something “wrong” with me? What if this was a mistake? What if, what if, what if??!

The first session was more of a get-to-know-you. We dove deeper into my background and behavior in the second session, during which I admitted I often thought I wasn’t “good enough.” And what my therapist said next felt like a punch to the gut:

“What I’m hearing is that you’re not very kind to yourself.

Who, me? No. Impossible. She sent me a self-compassion survey to take afterward — and sure enough, I scored a lowly 2.09 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. Well, damn. According to the results, the average score is about 3.0. Thankfully, Dr. Kristin Neff, the therapist who’d created the survey, included some helpful self-compassion guided meditations and exercises.


The next time I found myself sinking into that pity-party pattern, I tried the self-compassion/loving-kindness meditation and I instantly felt better. What I loved most was the mantra…

May I be safe.
May I be peaceful.
May I be kind to myself.
May I accept myself as I am.
May I accept my life as it is.

I mean, talk about on point. I felt as though this meditation was made specifically for me.

In light of therapy, I decided to make “be kind to yourself” my mantra for 2017.

After all, I would never in a million years repeat the mean-spirited things I said to myself to a friend, so why did I say them to myself? It’s time to do better.

I’m not claiming that therapy has all the answers, but what I do know is I wish I’d tried it sooner.

After only a few sessions, I can sense a shift in my mindset. I’ve had a few slip-ups (namely becoming distraught about not making Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list), but even then I have to remind myself that that’s okay. Therapy has helped me become more self-aware, and has given me the tools to empower myself.

It’s impossible and unrealistic to change my habits overnight, but I’m working on it. And that’s all that matters.

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