Mental Health Monday #6: Virtual Therapy, Curbing Self-Doubt, and Motherhood with Mental Illness

Happy Monday! Another chance to be less terrible and do the right thing. Or not. Either way, a The bad news is it's not 2020 yet. The good news is Viola Davis's reign of greatness continueth. She gave another mixtape-worthy speech while accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Fences last night. And Sir Mahershala Ali went home with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work on Moonlight. And after a wacky mix-up, Moonlight won Best Picture, just like the ancestors intended. Anyhow, on to the good shit.


A while back, Marc Lamont Hill facilitated a discussion on depression among African-Americans with Bassey Ikpi, director of the Siwe Project; Dr. Jeff Gardere, psychologist and author; and Terrie Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting.

"What virtual therapy means for mental health in the black community" by Kady Phillips [Blavity]

"It's easier to talk to your therapist when you're not in front of them

Similar to having hard conversations via text (because you can't see the person), this experience feels less personal and has been proven to encourage patients to reveal more. In fact, because of this, virtual therapy might just make more of a difference than actual in-person therapy."

"How To Avoid Being Psychologically Destroyed By Your Newsfeed" [Ann Douglas]

"Allow yourself to feel all the feelings

Allow painful emotions to flow through you as opposed to avoiding them (which suppresses positive as well as negative emotions, leaving you feeling emotionally "flat") or dwelling on them (which ties up cognitive resources, leaving you less equipped to solve problems or connect with other people). Remind yourself that feelings come and feelings go -- and you are not your feelings."

"My Worries About Having a Baby as a Woman With Bipolar Disorder" by Crystal Lancaster [The Mighty]

"But I’m so scared. I have been on these pills since I was a teenager. I’m scared to death to simply stop taking them. Will I be able to handle it? Could I cope? I mean, I’ve had a major relapse even when I was on the pills! What happens when I’m off them entirely? It…I don’t know. It seems so unfair. I feel like bipolar disorder makes my life abnormal enough as it is. Is it so wrong to have one thing in my life that is “normal?” So I can at least pretend to be “normal” again? Why should I have to deny myself of one of the things I want most in this world because I developed a mental illness?"

"On Black Masculinity, The Mental Well-Being Of Black Men And 'Fences'" by L. Malik Anderson [Blavity]

"My father often told me as a teenager sometimes I held myself back, like I was in a war with myself. Like Washington’s character I would stare into the void of darkness and got nowhere, never openly facing my anxiety and depression. 

I never asked for therapy because of the stigma around mental health. Instead, I spent all my time in church wrestling away my personal demons. I sat with the complacency of dealing with emotions internally. "

"Steps to Turn Off the Nagging Self-Doubt in Your Head" by Elizabeth Bernstein [Wall Street Journal]

"Create an Imaginary Friend

We’re often nicer to our friends than we are to ourselves. If a friend told you he was telling himself the same irrational things you tell yourself, you’d have no trouble telling him he is wrong.

Imagine that you have a friend who is exactly like you in every respect. Give him a name. Then pretend he is telling himself the same destructive thoughts you tell yourself. How would you refute him? What evidence would you give that his thinking is wrong? Listen carefully to what you are telling your friend. Write it down. Take this to heart."

"Thank You to 'This Is Us' for Portraying a Character With Anxiety" by Monica Drake [The Mighty]

"In Tuesday’s episode, Randall talked about how his adoptive father, Jack, kept his anxiety in check. “Whenever I’d get too in my head, he’d take his hands and put them on both sides of my head and he’d just say, ‘There you go, breathe with me.’ And we’d just sit there, breathing together until it passed.”

He said, “It’s always been like that. Putting the pressure on myself ever since I was a little boy.”"

Do you have a mental health-related story, article, event, or resource we should know about? Send it our way!

Previous Mental Health Mondays:

Mental Health Monday: Mindfulness, Soldiers with Autism, and Treating Schizophrenia with Weed

Mental Health Monday: Meditating Kids, Trap Yoga, and Boxers with Bipolar Disorder

Mental Health Monday: Hey, Go Check In On Someone

Mental Health Monday: Stock up on self-care. Winter is here.

Mental Health Monday: Here's to a hateration-free 2017.

Mental Health Reading Lists 1 | 2 | 3

Hear the latest episode. | Contribute to The Extraordinary Negroes | Reach out and say hello.