This was not the plan.  I had a laundry list of other more “pressing” issues I wanted to discuss, but it seemed that, once again, my therapist uncovered a deep-rooted, ongoing issue I have, and tapped into not only my conscious anxiety I battle, but all of the unconscious “stuff” that continues to muddy my metaphysical self and weigh me down everyday.  


My therapist asked me what I had planned for my upcoming/current staycation, and I replied, “Catch up on sleep.”  She proceeded to ask what my sleep schedule looks like, to which I replied I don’t get much sleep and that what sleep I do get is usually restless.  


Now, to say I am tired is an understatement.  I work a fulltime job (which not only has nothing to do with my career goals and passions but also physically and emotionally draining), freelance writing for two to three blogs/publications at a time, and am an active part of non-profit organization, the Mahogany Project, Inc.  The majority of my free-time outside of my job is spent completing errands, tasks, and side projects.  And that was aside from daily life duties.  Sleep has always seemed like a luxury not afforded to me.  The only way I knew to battle sleep and exhaustion was to power through it and work through it.  


As I talked with my therapist more during our session, we continued to dive into this issue and I begin to peel off the layers of a lot of deep-rooted trauma that causes the continued lack of sleep and complete exhaustion.  



Trauma is defined as the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.  Trauma is not only limited to physical; oftentimes the most traumatic experiences aren’t the ones that have physically impacted us.  Even as I look at the own trauma I’ve faced early on within my life has continued to affect me well into my adulthood.  


Besides enduring physical violence when I was young, I always felt the feeling of being alone.  As a child growing up, I was often tasked with the responsibility of not only myself but my younger sisters, which forced me to grow up and mature much faster than others.  Through my adolescence, I was often left alone with little to no support and I became accustomed to that.  I felt that I had to take on the world and life by myself, and that there would be no help.  While I felt that others, even close to me, had that support, I didn’t feel I was afforded that. 



About six years ago, I lost nearly everything due to transphobia and misogynoir.  I was left homeless and jobless.  Even with some support from the friends I had, I essentially felt that I was alone in starting and rebuilding my life.  The trauma from that experience continued to live within me as I started over.  I felt like I was always in constant fear and danger of losing everything.  I told myself I had to always be alert and ready. Always be working and busy and doing something.  As I continued to face very overt transphobia and misogynoir, it only added to my anxiety level.  Because I grew up with no one to turn to and feeling alone, I continued to internalize that anxiety, and felt like the only thing I could do was work and just push through.  I told myself I could rest one day, in the distant future, when I have achieved what I needed to, to stabilize my life.  But that threshold that I needed to cross to feel okay kept changing and moving and raising.  The more stable I became, the more I felt I needed to work, and fill my life with various projects and tasks.  I felt like I couldn’t rest because there was always something I could be doing or working on.  


As a black womxn, of trans experience, we are conditioned that no one is going to fight for us, care for us, or love us.  We are told and taught that we have to take on the world, our battles, and life by ourselves; a world that forces us to work four times as hard for only a third of the respect and rights.  We’re oftentimes left to fight within our own TQLGB community as well as the rest of the world; all the while fighting through daily battles, trials, and tribulations we face.  The daily misgynoir, transphobia, and micro-aggressions.  


How do I begin to address these issues? 


Therapy was the first major step.  As a person who believes in positive mental health, I have been in therapy for several years as a way to develop positive mental health practices.  I think that having someone who is not only an impartial person to talk to, but a trained mental health professional can be a key to good mental health.   Another step, one that was a little harder than therapy, was to be honest and vocal about my story.  Even as I started doing the work of dismantling my own inner trauma, it was difficult to discuss my story without feeling anxiety, depression, or relived trauma.  


One thing I also realized is that this will not always be smooth and easy, but being okay with those feelings and moments of discomfort.  The road to good mental health is not a linear journey.  It’s okay to know that even with bumps in the road, that is not the end result.