Authored by Zaire Griffin, MA, QMHP, a member of the IntraSpectrum Counseling clinical team.
As Black History Month comes to a close, many of us are reflecting on the events February brought. Hopefully, some promise of loving gestures for Valentine’s Day or Random Acts of Kindness Week left you and your loved ones on a positive note for 2023. But on the other end of the spectrum, we recognize that February may have brought difficulty or hard news for some, especially those from marginalized communities.
Whether you are on an upward swing or a downward spiral, Black history can be rejuvenating for all of us, to remember the accomplishments, sacrifices and changes that members of the Black community have given for us to live better lives. Sometimes I reflect on quotes from various Black influencers to remind me how to move forward, even during the darkest times.
- For instance, I recently heard a quote from Elijah McCoy, who invented the sprinkler on September 26, 1999. He once said, “Dream the impossible because dreams do come true.” As a mental health therapist, I always encourage my clients to begin with the end in mind. Picturing your future through manifesting, journaling, daydreaming, or even just saying a goal out loud can give us hope and motivation to embark on our dreams. Setting goals and believing in our dreams can be a great way to create a better future for yourself and those around you.
- Setting goals may be new and challenging for some, and I understand it’s hard to try new things, especially when life may feel difficult. Still, Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties in 1972, encourages us by stating, “Be as bold as the first man or woman to eat an oyster.” That may sound funny or simple, but we try new things daily! Of course, trying new strategies to shape your life will not be easy, but neither was trying a new food for the first time!
I’ve also recently reflected on the statistic that fifty-two percent of White Americans received mental health services in 2020, while only 37.1% of Blacks and 35% of Hispanics received services, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. I personally became a therapist to work with my community, by providing additional resources to those who do not currently have the mental health support they need.
Starting therapy can be a mixed bag of emotions. Even thinking about starting a new part of your mental health journey can feel scary and intimidating. It reminds me of another quote. You may know of Lorraine Hansberry from her groundbreaking play, “A Raisin in the Sun”. One of her quotes that is humbling yet inspiring is, “The thing that makes you exceptional if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.” Everyone can feel lonely, and I hope there is a resource, friend, or even an activity that can make it better.
If you need some support, consider trying something new by enrolling in group therapy. Our QTBIPOC Support Group will meet online for 10 sessions starting Tuesday May 9th, 7pm-8:30pm. The group serves as a safe, therapeutic space to address the specific needs and challenges of BIPOC folks within the LGBTQ+ community. Click here for more info. To start the enrollment process, submit an online inquiry form.
This blog is authored by Zaire Griffin, MA, QMHP, a member of the IntraSpectrum Counseling clinical team. IntraSpectrum Counseling is Chicago’s leading psychotherapy practice dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, and we strive to provide the highest quality mental health care for multicultural, kink, polyamorous, and intersectional issues. For anyone needing affirming and validating support, please click here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.