I Need Help! Can Someone Get Me A Counselor, Please?

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Okay, say it with me…
THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH GETTING HELP!

Now that you’ve said that, let’s dig into my topic above. March in my mind is Mental Health Awareness month, now before you get all technical with me, I know there’s a mental health awareness day somewhere during the year but if you ask me? It can be anytime you realize or come to grips that you seriously need to talk to someone.

That’s the realization I came to last month. I’m always there for other people, I always take out time to listen to them, their problems, issues, hurts, habits and hang-ups and I really do listen. Once their through talking, I give my two cents on the matter, in most cases I’ve prayed with them or include them in my prayers once the convo is over and they go on their merry way. NOW, how does this all play out when I need someone to talk too???

Do you hear the crickets??..

Yes, that’s usually what I hear OR if I do talk to someone, it’ll start out being about my issue and somehow it reverts to their issue and I end up helping them through theirs without getting my issue dissected. I once was friends with someone who did this on MORE than one occasion. I’d always love seeing them and hanging out, they’ll ask me about my day and how things have been going with me and I’ll respond and the next thing you know, there on themselves, their life, their goals, their family, their business and their this and their that and the list goes on and on and on. Most times by the time they’d work their way back around to what I had to say, I’d be too exhausted to answer them and all I can get out is…

“Everything’s Just Fine” but in my head, that was a LIE!

Anywho, that’s been my life with friendships and unfortunately personal relationships as well. I’ve always put others before “ME” and last month I found myself doing that yet again and decided that enough was enough. I have to talk to someone and if I can’t find people around me that’s willing to listen, I’d find a counselor that will.

Here’s what I found out with my insurance plan in regards to mental health and some tips on how you can put yourself FIRST starting now in 2020. Because It’s never too late…

Check your insurance plan

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Mental health is on the rise and I’m so happy that more and more people are discussing it, the more we talk about it the less taboo it’ll feel. It’s nothing to be ashamed of either, hey – we can ALL use a mental check. In pursuing a counselor, I googled my insurance to see what counselors/offices accept it. Once I went through the list provided, I then called my insurance company to see if these doctors were in-network or out of network. Luckily the one I chose was in-network. Out-of-network is okay just know that you’ll be paying a little more in co-pay. I also found out that my co-pay was $25 and that my plan came with unlimited visits for that amount. Now that’s a win-win, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your insurance carrier, after all – that’s what you’re paying for every month. Might as well take advantage of it.

Realize Your Limits

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Maybe seeing a therapist is NOT on your to-do list at the moment and that’s okay. However, you need to realize when you’ve reached your limit in a conversation. In the past, I’ve talked to people and have gotten the worst headache/migraine afterward or just felt like – BLAH!! We have to realize and I totally believe in this, people transfer their energy onto you. While you want to help a friend, you have to think about your sanity and your Feng sui as well. It can be thrown completely off if your friend is going on and on and on again about the same old drama you gave her or him pointers on months ago. Self-care is the best care. Sometimes you just have to say, “Look I gotta go” or “I just had something to come up – can I call you back?” learn to give yourself a BREAK even in the midst of a convo. And you better believe, your sanity is awaiting to applaud you.

You Better Get Selfish

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This goes into the “Self-Care” regimen. I’m learning this even now, you don’t have to respond to every text or answer every call (unless it’s life or death) at the drop of a hat because someone needs you. You need you, your body and mind need you to be able to think clearly and focus on you and your needs. If you give EVERYONE in the world your time or what little you have after a long day of work. Then what’s left for you? Oh, my bad – THE BED! because that’s exactly where you’ll be going and nobody has time to work, do family, put out fires with your friends and etc and NOT be able to stay awake for at least 2 hours to do something for yourself. Life wasn’t set up for you to be that way, but you know how life works – it goes in the direction you lead it. Think about it.

Truth brings — CHANGE

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I’ve had my share of toxic friendships and relationships, the thing is I didn’t really know they were toxic until they left me broke, dry and questioning my own sanity. Our life lets in what we put out – if you keep talking to people that just don’t get it or that keeps you in a box, everything else that comes your way will be the same way. We have to learn to speak up and I’m preaching to the choir on this one, I don’t speak up enough. I let things go on and I accept people’s “ish” because I either don’t want to lose them or afraid I’m being too pushy with my standards, so I digress. The one thing I have to constantly drill in my head is, to be honest with myself as well as the people around me. If it means they’ll leave me, then let them. It just means they were out of place in my life anyway. If it makes me uncomfortable, say it. If I feel as though I’m giving 100% and only getting 20% in return? then leave! And you know what? you don’t have to give ANYONE an explanation for doing so.

** ** ** ** **

Life is ALL about making the right choices that will push us forward into being the GREAT and AMAZING beings we were created to be in the first place and if that means being a little selfish and/or getting a little help along the way to accomplish that? Then, by all means, DO IT!

Do you have a counselor or go to therapy sessions? How do you handle a convo that pushes you past your mental limit? Sound off in the comments!

Your Body Is Here BUT Your Mind Is Somewhere Else!

Featured Picture Courtesy of The Pursuit of Mindfulness

Have you ever heard that statement before? As sure as we live and breathe I’m sure we’ve ALL heard it or unfortunately have been there and done it ourselves!

I’ve often found myself in meetings or even talking with someone and have been somewhere else. The mind is a tricky thing and a terrible thing to waste as per the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). And it’s true! The mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste but while the UNCF was referring to an education, I’m particularly talking about the mind and it’s capability of filling up with SO many ideas, schedules, goals, relationships, what someone said and how you’d wished you had said this instead; all the way to what you want to eat later that day or even two days from now – type of stuff.

The “stuff” that keeps us from being “present and available” at the moment. We miss most great moments because our mind wants to take us on a vacay of “what to do next or after” and it’s bout time to put it to rest – just for a little while.

Do you find yourself being “unavailable” due to your mind traveling west when you’re trying to go east? Here’s a couple of tips to put the mind at ease so you can focus a little clearer, literally.

#1. Cut Down That List – Like NOW!

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Listen, there are only 24 hours in a day and if you put EVERYTHING you have to get done on that crazy “to-do” list. You’ll be extremely exhausted, I mean you probably already are, right? If we allow our minds to do it, it’ll make us think that everything in the world is important and has to be done right now and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s okay to schedule that oven cleaning to Thursday, it’s not like it’s going anywhere and you DON’T have to do it today.

Try to figure out what’s truly a priority vs. non priority…..what’s really important vs. not important today. Spread out the work and give yourself something to do everyday instead of all in one day!

#2. Schedule “Me” Time

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I’m bad at this tip but it’s so needed. Have you ever scheduled “me time” on your to-do list? My mom would always tell us that Mondays were her “me days” – that meant, no calls and no coming over during a specific time frame on Mondays. She valued her alone times and while I didn’t always understand it because I was being the energizer bunny. Now that she’s gone, I totally get it. You need that time away from other people’s voices and faces, it truly makes you appreciate seeing them when you do. Now what she did during that time, I have no idea but “me time” is whatever you want to do without doing work or even thinking about the things you need to do. It’s a little moment to be selfish and only think about you!

#3. Put It “ALL” Away & Focus!

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This one is going to take a little practice, however, remember when I said earlier that my body would be in meetings and my mind would be elsewhere? unfortunately this also happens with my children! They’d be talking to me and I’d be thinking about work, church, getting back to someone, email and etc. Not really focusing on their dilemma – in which to them, everything’s a dilemma!

Now, don’t get me wrong, tuning them out is sometimes therapy for me but when it comes to a failing grade or them having concerns in regards to a friend or teacher or themselves, those things need my undivided attention. So when cases like this happen, I’ve learned to put my phone away, sit with them and totally give them eye-to-eye attention. This way, I can provide feedback if necessary and it gives me insight as to what’s going on with them. We can easily miss serious moments when we allow our minds to time travel. Realize where you are and tell your mind that you’re going to focus on the matter at hand because, in reality, we can train our minds to do whatever we want it to do.

#4. You Need A Sleep Schedule

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This definitely may sound crazy but you really do need to “schedule sleep” – if you don’t, you won’t get it and while your mind is on the go the body will shut completely down! Ever been restless at night because your mind was wondering about things you should be thinking about in the morning? I’ve been here too, more often than I’d like to admit. Most times I get up and work and others I just lay there and talk to God or just look…lol.

If you find your mind wrestling with you while you’re trying to go to sleep, try drinking some hot chamomile tea or sleepy time tea before bed (decaf of course). I also like listening to peaceful sounds such as thunder (I know this is not so peaceful but it’s calming for me). I love listening to rain sounds or ABIDE – which has sleep meditations for the nighttime. It’s also wise to put your phone on silent, so you won’t awake to every notification known to man. 30 min before bedtime, get these things in order so by sleep time – you’ll be all set to ZzZzzzzZZ.

All of these tips will not only help you be more present but more focused on what’s really important. Train that mind and don’t allow it to train you, remember YOU have control over it and not it over you.

Sanity is everything! & So is Being in the Moment! – Life’s too short not too.

What the Prostate? Let’s Talk About Prostate Health

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So, you might be wondering. Where in the heck is this coming from? Well, I’m the type of writer that when things interest me, move me or make me think – I have to write about it. I mean, it’s just how I’m wired up I guess.

This topic came about when I went to my sister’s house last weekend and while she was out, I and my brother-in-law talked it up and in doing so, he mentioned that he got a prostate screening. Huh?, I said – in my mind, I was like, isn’t that for 50 yr olds? My brother-in-law literally just turned 40 this year. I wondered what made him get such a test and why now? I was a little confused…

Park & Recreation – Donna

It was then that he went on to elaborate that a friend of his sent him the information. Seemingly, they were having free prostate exam screenings. His friend went and got tested and was just passing along the information to all the men he knew to get tested as well. My brother-in-law was hesitant but it was free, so he thought he’d go.

Of course, my brother-in-law was a little nervous and scared as he didn’t know what to expect and I’m sure at that point, he had no clue as to what he’d gotten himself into. Once the wait was over and he got into the doctor’s office, he was asked a few more questions and then, was asked to take off his pants from the waist down, turn around on the bed, standing up straight, he was asked to lean over on the bed with his elbows lifted. The doctor proceeded to give him some tissue in which at this time, my brother-in-law was thinking the doctor was being considerate to the sniffling he was doing prior to the exam, Oh that was NICEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, my brother-in-law couldn’t get out the next words because before he knew it, he was being probed with a finger up his butt or gluteus maximus for my fancy folks…lol.

Cancer Screening – iStockMovember2011

Less than 5 min, it was over. My brother-in-law not fathom what had just happened felt weird, icky and just wanted to run to the nearest shower he possibly could. And, no – the tissue wasn’t for the sniffles but so he could “clean up” afterward.

Now I know that whole story was a little uncomfortable for most to sit and read. However, it sparked me to write so I can inform our men, brothers, nephews, cousins, fathers and husbands of the uneasy but yet informal things we should all know about. They say men have to be at least 50 yrs old before a prostate exam, just like they say women have to be 40 yrs old to get a mammogram. Those statistics are a little off as our diets, family heredity, environmental hazards and etc have put men and women as well at risk for such diseases at increasingly younger ages than expected.

Men, in general, are the HARDEST people on earth to drag to the doctor. I don’t know what it is, but they just won’t go. I think it’s the perception of “If I don’t go, I won’t know” and that’s great with them. I also think they believe that if they go, the doc may find something that they just don’t want to face. I truly understand that, believe me. However, stage 4 of something can most times be incurable as opposed to early detection and stage 1, which can increase the odds of living and beating a disease.

So, what is the Prostate?
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The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. The prostate is just in front of the rectum. The urethra runs through the center of the prostate, from the bladder to the penis, letting urine flow out of the body. The prostate can get larger with age, primarily in men over age 50.

The Effects of the Prostate?
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The prostate is responsible for producing prostatic fluid, which is full of enzymes, proteins, and minerals that are vital for the proper functioning of sperm.

Why Men Need to get checked for this important screening?
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Men have to get tested in order to decrease their chances of getting prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in regards to men. The good news is that prostate cancer if detected grows increasingly slow that is as long as it’s attached to the prostate gland. Most prostate cancers do grow slowly, however, some are very aggressive and can spread like a wildfire if untreated. And how will you know this? Early detection of course! For what the symptoms are, you can visit The Mayo Clinic

Things to do and eat to keep that Prostate Healthy?

Exercise! Of course, physical activity is always best in any case, however continuous cycling is not a recommendation and if you are going too, then WebMD suggests a “prostate-friendly saddle” to keep your most important part, out of harm’s way.

So, what should your diet consist of? Well, Health Central suggests the following:

  • Tomatoes, Broccoli
  • Legumes (beans, lentils), Fish
  • Sesame Seeds, Bell Peppers
  • Avocados, Beans, Garlic

Of course, a healthy diet is “key” to any health risk decrease. If you add more of the items listed to your everyday meals, then you’ll be on your way to not only having a healthy prostate but overall health in general.

Become knowledgeable about certain risks and take advantage of your health care benefits by visiting a doctor once a year for a full physical. What’s not that important to you now, could be detrimental to you later.

Early detection is the best detection! Your future body will thank you later.

Oh, and P.S. My brother-in-laws test came back negative! To God be the glory for that!

Image Credit: Bing

Check with your local hospital or doctor’s office to find out if they know of free screenings in your area or if you have a regular doctor, let them know your questions and/or concerns in regards to your prostate health!

The winner of Jacqueline Pirtle’s new book “Parenting Through the Eyes of Lollipops” will be announced next Thursday, October 31st! No tricks, but all treats!! Have you entered the contest?

Make Time For Who?….YOU!! – Simple Self-Care Tips For The Busy Person In Us All.

Feature Image: Bing/Huffpost UK


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I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard the statement above quite a plenty in my life time. So, what do people mean when they say “Take Care of Yourself” it’s literally a statement that seems to be said more than it’s done because in reality, How many of us really do it?

Which brings me to my next question: “How does one really take care of themselves?”

Most people tend to think Self-Care is all about the loofah’s and the lotions and going on some expensive spa date with the girls or guys and don’t get me wrong, that’s a part of it – but it’s not the WHOLE cake of the matter, if you can see that analogy. It’s just the icing; the outer part but it doesn’t begin to touch the core of what self-care really is.

I love this statement/quote – in which pretty much sums it up.

Self-Care is not Selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.

Eleanor Brownn with 2 N’s – eleanorbrownn.com

We’re ALLLL busy, I mean every single one of us. If we’re not engulfed in our careers, thinking about how to make money, raising a family together or alone, taking care of an ill parent, parents or child, trying to be a good friend or trying to fit in with the “in” crowd, managing our own health (if we don’t overlook it trying to make sure someone else manages theirs…been there?) or just catering to everyone else’s need except our own…..self-care can be pushed to the back burner when it comes to our own sanity.

Sometimes after giving so much of ourselves to others, there’s literally only one thing left for us and that’s “THE BED!” because we’re too burned out to do anything else. I get it, life gets busy and when it does, it seems to never stop. However, if you don’t take control of LIFE…? I’m sure you can finish that sentence, right?…

The tips below are not new or rocket science, but they are tips that I use to take command over life, even if it’s just for 5 min. Maybe they’ll be able to help you too OR get you back on track to taking care of the person that matters the most and that’s YOU! (And No, that’s not selfish to say)

Self-Care involves:

The Mind


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You’ve heard the saying “A MIND is a terrible thing to waste” and it’s true, especially when it comes to self-care. It’s amazing how we exhaust our mental capacity on things that ruin our day or mood. It doesn’t help the case either when we consistently think about it or go to sleep with it on our minds. The older I’ve gotten I realized that I have to protect my energy and my mind when it comes to negative thoughts, negative images, negative news and NEGATIVE PEOPLE! (see how I bolded that last statement). We have to choose our battles wisely…even the more when it comes to our mental health.

MIND Suggestions:

  • Turn off the news (it’s always negative) and I’ve determined that watching too much of it, ruins my mood and effect my sleep pattern.
  • Have you heard of Luminosity? I love this game, it’s a fit game for you mind. It has a lot of little puzzles that challenge your cognitive thinking, it’s a mindless activity that gets my mind off of other things.
  • A cross word puzzle, puzzle or other word games are good to play to keep your mind sharp.
  • Last but certainly not least, meditation music or just taking 5 min, even if it’s after work in your car. Tends to work wonders for your mental sanity.

The Body


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Our body is the first thing that feels the effects of any stress that we may endure or have going on. It’s a shame that we neglect it often and push it past it’s limits just to do the things “we” deem as necessary. My mom used to always say “You don’t ever want your body to become your enemy” and boy was she right. It can turn on you at any second, in which is why it’s a good thing to take care of it, after-all; we only get one of them.

BODY Suggestions:

  • Plan a walk. I tend to be more motivated when I have people that are willing to do this with me, but taking a walk is always a good destresser.
  • A little sun doesn’t hurt – as an African American woman I’ve been told by doctors that we don’t get enough sun, in which is why we have to take high dosages of Vitamin D. But a little sun in your face or down your back is good, if you can stand it =)
  • Massages are LIFE! – I always tell people, if I get a little extra or if God sees fit for me to get a little money….I would personally hire a masseuse! Massages are great for your body and relieves stress, it’s also good for the mind too.
  • Oh and eating healthy is always a good choice for your body!

The Soul


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Your soul is very, very important. It’s good to be able to connect with a higher power. Whether you believe in God or not – spiritual renewal, prayer, meditation, reading scriptures or listening to a good inspirational or motivational sermon, teaching or talk always brings balance to your inner core, which most times is the beginning of everything. If we can get our soul in order, it tends to make everything else come to order as well. I like to spend time with God, reading scripture or just listening to meditation music or gospel songs, this tends to mend me back together on the inside and reflects positively on the outside.

SOUL Suggestions:

  • Donate to your favorite charity, it’s nothing like being able to give back instead of always take.
  • Watch the clouds – Yes, you read that right. It’s something about looking up at the clouds that’s so spiritual and good to me. I have a favorite spot at my job that I go and do this on my lunch break or just getting up from my seat to go take a break. It’s the first place I go, it helps to do this because we’re high up. I just stand there and look and most times I’m talking to God. It’s a small thing, but I find such peace and tranquility just looking out that window and looking up.
  • Ever eat or drink alone? – Going places alone to some people may seem a bit daunting, but it’s actually good. It’s just you and you alone with your thoughts and plans. This gives you time to think about what your goals are, what goals you’ve met and what you need to achieve. And you can’t always do that when people are constantly talking or needing your “undivided” attention.

So, there you have it! As stated these are simple suggestions that you can do or start practicing today. Life, as crazy as it is will have us rushing, ripping and running to get somewhere and it will keep this cycle up as long as we allow it. Learn to discipline yourself long enough to take a breather. Don’t rush home from work every day, maybe sit in the car turn on some music and eat that leftover sandwich from lunch (literally just did this the other day). Just let your mind, body and soul relax.

Now, say it with me “Who’s your most favorite person in the world?” Don’t be shy, I know you want to say it and just in case you forgot? IT’S YOU BOO!! So, go and really “TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF!” because 30 min or an hour A Day? Keeps the Insanity at Bay!

Do you have any Self-Care tips that you do to stay balanced? Share them Below.