April 7, 2017 – After more than a year of sessions with a psychologist, I “graduated” from psychotherapy.
Yes, before my little girl turned one, I finally admitted to needing help and sought it. I never thought I would need it. I was too proud. And it didn’t help that there’s this stigma on mental health concerns.
I don’t talk about it, but I am very glad I took that first step of admitting I needed professional help. It was the best decision I made for myself.
During my sessions, my therapist helped me navigate my inner thoughts/voice using the method called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Basically, it’s a mental tool that helps me sort through all the thoughts that go through my mind in the speed of light. It helps me slow down and pinpoint what triggers the thoughts/ideas that I am not good enough to be my daughter’s mother and/or husband’s wife, which, in turn, helps me rationalize in my own mind that I AM good enough.
The therapy sessions, and also the constant practice I did on my own, helped me figure out where this idea of not being good enough and where this need to be the perfect mother and wife came from. It was primarily cultural – that as wife and mother I NEED to make dinner no matter what; I NEED to be the one taking care of my kids; I NEED to serve the family; I NEED to keep the house clean and organized, because the appearance of the house (and everything else) reflects on the mother/wife.
Yeah, in an ideal world – or at least in a house where parents are able to afford to pay for househelp – that’s doable.
But those standards I set for myself based on what my culture dictates are not attainable in our current set up. It’s just not. And if these standards are so high, I’m setting myself up for failure.
Every. Single. Day.
And so my therapy revolved around changing my mindset on being a mother and wife. Even though I graduated from the therapy sessions in April 2017, I’m still dealing with the constant nagging in the back of my mind. As what my therapist reminded me – self-care and mindfulness exercise is something I need to do on a daily basis. No matter what. It’s something I learned in Oct 2016, when I thought I was fully cured and found myself spiralling out of control again.
This is the first time I ever put my mental health struggles out in the open. Why am I doing it now? I want women, especially new mothers, to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Help is available when you need it. You can get help. And it is OKAY to need help.
I wish you all the best as you navigate your way through those murky thoughts. I pray that you will find the best help for you.
Two Write Love On Her Arms has great resources – https://twloha.com/
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available on the web https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or on the phone 1-800-273-8255.
If you live in NYC, the city has a mental health hotline 1-888-NYC-WELL (692-9355), and a text line – Send WELL to 65173. They are also available on the web https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/
And, like physical emergencies/danger, you may call 911 for immediate assistance on mental health concerns/issues.