I’ve come along way, baby. In session 45, my therapists asked what I needed from her in these sessions moving forward. She listed some of the things we’d done together to get me to the place that I am now. I realized that the issues I had when I walked into sessions in October of 2019 are no longer impacting me negatively.
When I started going to therapy, my primary focus was to handle grief after my dad’s death. However, I figured I would deal with some other issues as well. So when I started researching therapists, I made sure I selected a professional that could treat anything that could come up. I wanted to address issues in the following areas:
DEATH & GRIEF
When I walked into my therapist’s office fifteen months ago, I was a mess. I knew I had things I wanted to deal with, but I had no idea how involved it would be until I started picking scabs. Grief has a way of pulling things to the surfaces. At least that was the case with me. That was probably primarily because I had family issues that I’d been carrying around that needed to be addressed.
I grew up in a very non-traditional household. Some of the things were good, and some of the things challenged me. I always knew I would have a time of reckoning when I would confront, unravel, and hopefully move forward from these things that challenged me well into adulthood. Those issues were as follows:
🔸 Maternal Issues were a big part of my childhood and adulthood. So I knew that I wanted a therapist that could help me dive into these issues. The scabs that I picked here made me question why I chose to do this to myself. I knew it would be difficult, but I had no idea how hard it would be to dredge up this stuff. Although I knew it would be difficult, I also know I needed to pick and pick at that scab until it got enough air to heal.
🔸 Paternal Issues were something I never thought were hugely consequential. I thought of them as being just minor personality quirks. However, some of the behaviors of my dad impacted me. Although these things weren’t intentional, they were consequential nonetheless. They affected how I maneuvered through life. There are so many lessons I will keep, but some I will discard as not useful to where I am in my life currently.
🔸 Generational Curses were something I never thought of honestly until I started going to therapy. However, as I moved through my healing process, it became a huge factor in the back story of my family’s issues. Some issues went as far back as my grandmother’s generation.
🔸 Sibling Toxicity was something that had become quite unbearable as I got older. That’s because the toxicity of it seemed to be spreading to a second generation. Therapy helped me realize that the same challenges I had also impacted my sibling. I handled my trauma one way, and the sibling dealt with theirs in another. Unfortunately, the sibling had a much more toxic manner of coping with their trauma. Sadly I was the victim of it growing up. That had a profound impact on me growing up and well into adulthood. After my father died, I chose to cut ties and be free of that toxicity.
🔸 Childhood Abandonment was always the elephant in the room when I was a kid. I felt like a lot of things revolved around this fact. Consequently, it impacted my childhood and adulthood in ways that I wasn’t even aware of until I started therapy.
People often say leave your childhood in the past. Well, if this time in your young life built the foundation of who you are as an adult, how exactly can you do that? Things that happen in your childhood mold you into who you are as an adult, PERIOD.
So there were lots of things I KNEW I needed to unravel. However, some issues were on the fringe that also impacted how I moved through the world. Therapy forced me to pick those scabs and start healing from those hurts.
🔸 Childhood Trauma is really a culmination of so many things listed above. Some of those things listed above, I also never recognized as childhood trauma. As a result, I lived my life with trauma responses to situations.
Going to therapy helped me get on the path of healing this childhood trauma. It additionally gave me the tools needed to recognize trauma responses. Those tools will allow me to acknowledge the trauma response and avert falling back into the pattern of being led by this in situations.
🔸 Holiday Depression was something I dealt with my entire life, even as a child. I never understood why until just this past holiday season. Depression would kick in around Thanksgiving, last through my birthday, Christmas, and into the first part of the New Year. About ten years ago, it started it would start right around Halloween. Even though that is my favorite holiday, I would still start to feel the depression kicking in.
I started to unravel all of this in therapy. It was totally related to childhood related to abandonment issues due to my mother opting out of parenting when I was two months old. I would think about her every holiday as a child and wonder how a person could dump their kids and never look back.
As I got older, I didn’t actively think about this, but I believe the trauma was there and would revisit me every holiday. As an adult, I would get a call or text from her around this time of the year. I realized just this past holiday season that it was those texts that would trigger the trauma. I figured it out after NOT being “triggered” when I got that text this holiday season. It was then that I realized that this trauma was healed or on the path to being healed. I’d carried this around for my entire life, and it’s good to be able to move past it finally. That is 100% due to work done in therapy.
🔸 Familial Forgiveness & Mourning was something I didn’t understand initially. However, as time progressed, I did. I had to forgive the wrongs done to me. That is not to be confused with excusing bad behavior, giving folks a pass, and allow them in my life to continue to wrong me. Forgiveness was about me and no longer allowing the things that harmed me to continue to do so. After doing that, I had to mourn the family that I wanted versus what I got. That was a real deal healing moment for me.
I have always had relationship challenges. I never thought much of it. I just felt as if maybe I was a little moody. I mean, I am a bit, but the foundation of my relationship issues are a bit more involved than that. Upon taking sessions, I recognized some patterns that I wanted to unravel to land in a healthier place.
Analyzing my past relationships, personal and romantic, allowed me to recognize some changes that I needed to make. Taking some time to focus on relationships moved me to a place that allowed me to open the door to seeking better personal and romantic relationships.
Sessions allowed me to think of ways to build stronger relationships with the people in my life. It also helped me become more accepting of who I am and what I want moving forward to establish healthier and more fulfilling romantic relationships. More to come on that, maybe.
During a few of my earlier sessions, my therapist asked what I did as a form of self-care. I remember thinking for a long time and coming up with NO answer. I never even thought of self-care before therapy. That’s because I’d spent the majority of my life focusing on everyone around me. I was the go-to person for everything, planning events, cooking at those events, being the person who listened to and cared for everyone else except myself.
Therapy taught me that it was ok to think about myself and do things that brought me joy. It didn’t matter if those things were big or small. It only mattered that I indulged myself.
At one time, I wouldn’t cook a full meal unless I was feeding someone other than myself. I don’t know that I thought myself unworthy of a cooked meal, but I stopped doing that. I started cooking meals just for myself, and I enjoyed doing so.
I treat myself to meals, time, and purchasing things not because I NEED them, but because I want them. That’s because I feel as if I deserve to indulge myself. I don’t feel guilty for doing so either. I don’t feel like I’ve cheated someone else out of something, or I could have done something for someone else. I feel worthy of everything I do for myself.
AS A RESULT OF ALL OF THE ABOVE, I AM LIVING:
I don’t think I’ve ever thought I would reach a point where I truly felt fulfilled in life. That’s because my focus was all wrong. At one time, I even felt as if I’d lived enough life. Not that I wanted to end life, I think it was more that life was monotonous and unfulfilling. I was going through the motions of life without really enjoying it. That has changed drastically due to the following:
🔸 Work is something I use to view as just a means to get your paycheck and go home sort of thing. That was until I landed in a good position and at a great company. That was a game-changer in my life.
My current position is probably the best job I’ve ever had in my life. I additionally work with a great team. All of that makes all the difference in how you view your company and work life. There are many perks of the position. This year, I became one of the founding members of the Diversity & Inclusion committee. That role has offered a new type of satisfaction in my career that was previously not there.
🔸 My Personal Life is honestly something that has always been a bit of a challenge. In the past, I was focused on everyone else and not myself. Therapy has helped me move through those challenges. Sessions helped me focus on looking inward and discovering or rediscovering things that made me happy.
I spent my entire life JUST existing in the confines of my own life. Last year I started learning how to embrace, live, and enjoy my life instead of merely existing.
🔸 Exercising & Eating Right was something I never managed to do in a combined effort. The shift in my focus on my personal life allowed me to also look at how I could become healthier. I’ve always paid attention to what I put in my body. However, during COVID, I started to realize that my metabolism was slowing down. I also looked at all of the people I knew with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and other health issues. That motivated me to start an exercise routine to accompany my relatively good eating habits. I additionally further decreased some of the not so great food habits that I did have. Eating right and exercising are now a part of my daily routine.
🔸 Creativity is so important. When I was younger, I was involved in a lot more creative activities like painting and drawing. It was something that brought me joy. I initially thought to get back into that; However, I don’t have the same passion for art that I once had. Recently I got into making shea butter, body wash, and candles. That has been a great creative outlet for me.
🔸 Hood Medicine is a project I started working on that has been so very fulfilling. This 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization public health guerrillas Hood Medicine Initiative is a nonprofit public health collective. There are scientists, hackers, and other assorted geeks dedicated to protecting black and brown lives during the pandemic and improving the health of minority communities. I couldn’t be more proud to be aligned with this organization because they are doing amazing things.
🔸 My business LLC launched in November. I have always wanted to be a business owner. I think it’s a way to have an additional source of income outside of a 9-5. Finally, it can be a crucial aspect of building generational wealth. I will definitely be sharing more great news about that on this page.
🔸 Computer Programing & App Development is something that I’ve wanted to get into since 2010. In grad school, I had a group project which involved creating a mock-up app. I loved the ideas so much that it was always on my list to develop at least one app. Throughout the years, the app ideas have continued to accrue.
This year I decided to teach myself mobile app development. However, the learning curve was just so steep. So I enrolled in a certification program with Harvard that is two classes of ten weeks each, self-paced certification modules.
🔸 Real estate was my father’s life. His love and dedication to it as his life’s work will enable me to live my dreams. My dad bought real estate during the redlining era was badass on a whole other level. He knew I would do right by his life’s work. I have some great ideas in the real estate industry but not in a residential real estate capacity. I don’t have the passion in that area that my dad did. However, I will make him proud of the moves I have planned.
🔸 I’m thinking Beyond Philly because I’ve been living here my entire life. The ties that bound me to this city died with my father in 2019. The past year has been so cathartic for me. It’s allowed me a degree of freedom and peace that I’ve never experienced before in life.
I feel I have a whole new life of experiences waiting for me to embrace them. It doesn’t feel as if Philly is the place to live this new chapter of my life. So, I’m OUT.
🔸 Peace is something until this year had not been a real part of my existence. Yes, I had degrees of peaceful moments and living a life that embraced those philosophies. However, true peace had always been elusive. That’s because I had trauma, baggage, and issues to unravel. The fifteen months of therapy with Jeanae M. Hopgood-Jones, Ph.D. (c)of JHJ Therapy, has allowed me to embrace a peace that I’ve never experience before.
So as I wrap up my 46th and final session, I acknowledge the importance of finding a great therapist to unravel the things that have impacted you throughout your life. I can’t say that I am perfect after tackling things, but I am at the best place I’ve ever been in life. I do know I could not have done so as successfully without a therapist. I will forever be grateful to my therapist for the time committed to helping me in my healing journey. She literally set me free, and I am truly at peace for the first time in my life. I am free from past pain, hurt, childhood trauma, maternal abandonment, sibling terrorism, and generational curses.
I am in the best place that I’ve ever been, financially, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I will go forth and live my best life with this free, fulfilled, and fully healed existence. I advise everyone to take some time to unravel their shit.
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