2020 has been one for the books; I definitely did not end 2019 expecting to spend any time in therapy or seeking a psychologist. 2020 was going to be the year my career soared, and although I would rather not go through the trying times I did, I couldn’t be happier I found a psychologist to help me navigate one of the hardest seasons of my life.
I remember in 1999 the uncertainty for Y2K; that the world was going to end at 11:59 pm on 31st December 1999. All the excitement for starting a new millennium had nothing on the excitement for 2020. All countries were going to reach their SDG in this year, and we all thought we would have flying cars.
There wasn’t one person who was not hyped for 2020. It had the makings of a great year till the year actually showed up. Boy, has it been a journey?! For most of us, the year has been exhausting, to say the least. It feels like we have been going through 2020 for a whole decade with no end in sight, seemingly.
My mental health struggled so much this year with high highs chased away by such low lows. I thought I possibly couldn’t bear to go another day like this. I had become a shadow of myself; I lost touch of time. In fact, what is time? Who is she, and where can I find her? Because for the longest time, I haven’t known when the morning started and the evening ended.
I couldn’t tell you which day of the week or what month it was. Everything was a blur; a messy, confusing, dark and cold blur that had no end. I am not suicidal (or so I like to tell myself) but there were definitely days I wondered how it would feel to drive off the rails. Have you ever thought that? Just drive over the edge and see what would happen because it surely couldn’t be THAT BAD. Nothing could be as bad as what I felt; that heaviness was suffocating me with every breath.
A true introvert tethering on the edge of reclusion, I was so stuck in my own universe till I chanced on this article from BetterHelp. I wasn’t even looking for a psychologist or therapist because I knew (thought I knew) nothing was wrong with me necessarily nor could anyone help me. What would they do? Take me back to 2019 or shift me to 2021? Do I even know what that year holds to bother myself with venturing into it?
The article was really the turning point in my dark storm. Coming from West Africa, where mental health is overlooked and rarely talked about, I wanted to hide my struggle from my family. I couldn’t possibly go to a hospital in our community without someone seeing me and informing my family. Luckily, there were solutions like chat service, where I got connected with a psychologist online.
It has been four months since I started the online therapy sessions. I am in such high spirits now, I have realized how childish it was to hide my need for support from my family that now I openly share what therapy has done for me. I have improved so much my conservative African dad is interested in talking to a psychologist. He claims he is fine and is just going to find a person to give his stress to, but it makes me happy that he sees the change in my life and he is curious about how it might play in his own.
I wish I had gotten help earlier, but better late than never. Please don’t make a mistake I made when you don’t have to. Speak to your primary care doctor or find a therapist online today; there are free sessions if you’re hard on cash like all of us.  Also, find credible mental health bloggers or self-help books to guide you through this season. No matter what happens, know someone from the internet is cheering you on and believing in you!
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