It’s hard getting Black men to go to the doctor. PERIOD. Dr. Michele Reed gave us tips on how to fix that, but now we have another giant we are facing. The fears run deep for many of our brothers, and it’s killing us. The anxiety of being told you have a potentially life-threatening disease is heightened when you also have personal stuff on your chest.
There are some issues that you can’t discuss with your regular doctor, wife, brothers, parents, barber or yourself for that matter. Mental health has been a hot and necessary topic for our community. Black men are starting to wake up and address their mental health as well.
Rappers have spoken candidly about their time in therapy, but what about those brothers who don’t have an album who benefited the same? I got an awesome opportunity to speak with other Black men who tried therapy and here’s what they had to say.
Why did you choose therapy?
McGee: When I was younger my mom took me to therapy after my parents got a divorce. I don’t really remember, but she said I used to act out a little bit afterward. I always remember it as a positive experience. It really encouraged me to write out my feelings and process how I felt about things.
I started again recently because a friend of mine passed away suddenly, and I really had a hard time processing it. My feelings tended to be in flux and sometimes I would get teary and upset for no reason. I also had never experienced grieving before and since I was starting my first job, I really needed to get my emotions in check.
Hardy: As a full-time Black man trying to navigate this world and its many challenges, therapy has saved my life. I’ve been in therapy for a few years, and it has been a revelatory, calming, reassuring journey with lots of growth and insights along the way. I first entered therapy after returning home to Virginia after dealing with then-unnamed depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations while living and working in Panama.
Jolla: I chose therapy because I had been struggling with certain life issues primarily within the confines of my own mind for years on end, with no true resolution, when I finally decided to go.
Marshall: I made the decision to start going to therapy simply because I want to better understand how my life experiences are affecting my present lifestyle, thoughts, and actions. Even further, I don’t want to carry traumatic stress with me every day, the body remembers the stress and passes it on to descendants. I don’t want to impair my future children with such a burden.
What were your misconceptions about therapy prior to attending?
McGee: It’s really funny, I always thought about therapy (of all kinds regardless of why you’re there) to be kind where you sit in a chair and talk about your mother or your past. But it’s not necessarily like that. it kind of depends on