I’ve been through more than a few break-ups in my life, but my therapist breaking up with me is nothing I could’ve imagined.
I take my life and my mental health very seriously, so this isn’t a relationship I would play with nor put at risk of losing. This was my first real therapy experience. In the past, I’ve called my insurance company and talked to whoever was available, but I needed something more consistent. I was looking for a relationship where I met with one person, I can build a relationship with (for the sake of healing), and, most importantly, who I trust and had a connection with.
So I got on Therapy For Black Girls and began my search. This is no reflection on the site because I do believe it’s an amazing resource for people who are searching for a therapist. The thing about finding a therapist, or anyone for that matter – doctors, nail techs, you get the gist – is that it can be a process of trial and error. You may have to go through different people to find the one. Based on my search and what I read about this therapist, it seemed to be a perfect fit, so I made my first appointment.
Things seemed to be going great, we talked about building healthy self-care habits to get through the rough days, how to tackle the loneliness (this was during quarantine), and navigating the relationship with my parents. I found all of her talks and recommendations very helpful, and most of them seemed to work. So much so that I discovered the mental and physical space I was living in was starting to get to me.
Mentally, I was lonely, and although I’m someone who loves alone time, this felt different. Every part of my life seemed to be filled with loneliness. I would walk through empty airports, fly on empty planes, and come to an empty home. I started to feel a sense of abandonment. My mom was so afraid of catching COVID that she didn’t want me at the house and vice versa. The apartment management completely abandoned its tenants and slowly but surely neglected their responsibilities which made my home a place I came to hate.
I talked about all of this with my therapist, and we worked on ways to resolve these issues. One resolution was to find a new place.
Yvonne Orji Therapy GIF by Insecure on HBOGiphy
A place that I loved and had the quality/amenities I wanted and wasn’t influenced by financial fears of the pandemic. I set a budget, assessed my savings, and made a list of what was important to me. After that, I let my therapist know that I would be moving and because I still had to travel for work, attending our sessions would be too much, and I would prefer to continue once I was settled. She agreed and had no problems with that.
However, two and a half weeks later, I was unable to book an appointment. I was confused and decided to contact the office. When I couldn’t get through by phone, I sent an email. The reply I received was: “Our policy states that after three months from the last appointment without communication from a client, it is assumed that services are no longer needed and future counseling services are terminated.”
I was very confused because it hadn’t even been a month since my last session, so I reached out, hoping this was a mix-up, and instead received a referral to other therapists. This was a huge slap in the face. I was heartbroken, to be honest. For my therapist to terminate services just didn’t sit right with me.
It had me questioning myself and therapy as a whole. How could you terminate services in the middle of someone's healing? How can you be mistaken about your own policy and not even respond when I’m trying to rectify it? Did she always want to terminate the relationship? How could this be so transactional? All of these things kept going through my head…what did I do?
Suffice it to say, I took all of this very personally because what in the actual f*ck! I wrote off therapy entirely and decided to pursue healing on my own. That only worked for so long. I actually felt like I ended up with more issues than I started with. This added another layer of trust issues and abandonment.
It took me a year and a half, but eventually, I was able to finally start therapy again. A few things that helped me do that include:
I had to find acceptance and forgiveness.
I had to accept the situation for what it was. If I didn’t, I would’ve carried resentment not just for her but for therapy as a whole. I had to remember things happen for a reason and this was just a redirection. I had to forgive not only her but myself for carrying that burden and internalizing all of it. I kept affirming to myself: I did everything I can do.
I learned how to cope.
While the departure was hurtful, I did learn valuable skills from our sessions. I used those habits to help me grieve and move forward. I read books about healing and articles about people who also experienced this, I created the affirmations I needed to hear, look for value in the experience, and noted everything I learned.
I didn't rush back into therapy.
I took my time to think about what I wanted from therapy and what qualities I wanted in a therapist. I understand it’s a business, but it’s also an emotional bond of trust, care, and respect to work toward a goal. I wanted a therapist who was understanding, had policies I could adhere to, and had the integrity I looked for.
This is also a grieving process. I had to heal from this situation and all that came with it before moving on.
I committed to reading and understanding the policies during consultations.
My mistake the first time was not reading or asking questions about the policy. Moving forward, this is a must!
I learned to read the policy agreement through and through and ask questions about things I didn’t understand or needed more clarity on. I try to do this for the consultation, if possible, or the first session. If the policies are too strict, I know it’s not the right fit for me. I want a sense of ease, I don’t want to be fearful or anxious about having to reschedule an appointment or skip a session or two.
I let my new therapist know what I'd been through.
I definitely think it’s important to discuss this with your new therapist, it gives them an idea of what your experience with therapy has been like. It also gives them the opportunity to know what reservations you may have and what the process of building trust might entail.
I realize through all of this, there’s good in the bad. I love how my current therapy sessions are going. I love the homework, the feedback, and the vulnerability. I decided to use this experience to find a therapist and healing process that works for me.
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Featured image by SDI Productions/Getty Images
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If there’s one part of the face that seems to be the most vexing to correct, it’s the under eyes.
This delicate area has a way of being tipped off by our irregular sleep patterns, stress, and the straining that comes from our computers and phone screens. From puffiness to dark circles, it can be irksome to find the right products to soothe our under-eye concerns. Thankfully, there’s one solution that delivers a brighter and more awakened look over time, and that’s under-eye masks and eye patches.
Eye patches are giving our under-eye bags an eviction notice because they can’t hang our glowing faces rent-free. The beauty of these patches is that they are designed to bring your eyes targeted results through concentrated doses of active ingredients directly to the skin under the eyes. Typically made of thin, gel-like material and infused with ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and even green teas, these small but mighty patches depuff your puffiness, brighten your dark circles, or tighten fine lines.
While every under-eye differs in its needs, every eye can benefit from an under-eye mask or patch that suits its concerns. And to help, we’ve put together the best under-eye patches to hydrate, soothe, and brighten your eyes.
The KNC Beauty All Natural Retinol Infused Eye Mask, 5-Pack, is a retinol-infused, all-natural product designed to rejuvenate your eyes. It promises to provide hydration, smoothness, reduced puffiness, and brightness without the use of chemicals. With ingredients like retinol to refine skin texture and stimulate blood flow and aloe to soothe and reduce redness, it's like getting 8 hours of beauty sleep for your eyes.
These cooling hydrogel under-eye masks from Topicals promise to fade the appearance of dark circles and discoloration in just 15 minutes. The set includes six masks and offers benefits that brighten, hydrate, depuff, and cool your under-eye area.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Grab these eye contour gel patches to brighten the eye area and combat signs of aging using a powerful form of vitamin C called THD Ascorbate, which is 50 times more potent than traditional vitamin C.
BeautyBio's Bright Eyes consists of 15 colloidal silver-infused eye gel patches designed to provide instant depuffing, brightening, and revitalization to the delicate eye area within 10 minutes. They also contain natural collagen to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, which we love.
These viral hydrogel masks offer moisture and nourishment to rejuvenate tired-looking skin. Their Snail Secretion Filtrate contains "Mucin," an effective moisturizing ingredient that soothes damaged skin and delivers deep hydration, making it suitable for dehydrated and damaged skin types. Your under-eyes will thank you.
Try these caffeine-infused patches to reduce puffiness in the under-eye area. The product features clean, vegan ingredients such as caffeine, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and moisture delivery.
The Forever Eye Mask is designed to be the “last eye mask you'll ever need.” This thin, lightweight, and reusable eye patch can hold gels, serums, and creams close to the skin for better absorption, helping your skincare products work more effectively.
Featured image by blackCAT/Getty Images