Mental Health and that special word, “Communication,” are the focus as therapy, more so individual than couple, is discussed.

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Mental Health and that special word, “Communication,” are the focus as therapy, more so individual than couple, is discussed.

Director(s) Codie Elaine Oliver
Writer(s) N/A
Aired (OWN) 9/12/2020
Introduced This Episode
Himself Brian Stokes
Herself Ariana Stokes
Himself Joe Lewis
Herself Leslie Lewis

This content contains pertinent spoilers.


There Is Nothing Wrong In Knowing It Takes More Than Faith – Tracci, Tony

With both having past marriages, Tracci having her issues because of her father, and Tony revealing in this episode he had depression due to numerous tragic deaths in his family, it is made clear they’ve gone beyond communicating with one another. In fact, despite their faith, or maybe because of it, they have also sought counseling. For if there is one take away from their segment, it is that you have to take note of your tools, and that goes beyond faith and family.

Take if you have cancer, prayer alone isn’t going to heal you. It is but one tool but to know what you are praying to have God help you with, you need a doctor to diagnose you. You’re going to need a surgeon in some cases, and they are some of the tools you’ll need alongside your spouse, your family, maybe a therapist, and while not said by them, more so me, you got to remember, God helps those who help themselves.

For lest we forget, “God serves but isn’t a servant,” so they are not at anyone’s beck and call, and more often than not, they come in the clutch with the final thing you need. So, until then, you can’t just have faith in the celestial; you are going to learn to have faith in humanity as well.

Talk To Your Doctor – Brian, Ariana, Dulé, Jazmyn

With that said, talking to your doctor is important since venting and communicating to friends, family, and your spouse is good, but some things are beyond them. For example, when Jazmyn was pregnant, she was under the impression her morning sickness would end after the first trimester, yet it didn’t, and she got sick to the point of losing weight and barely having a single day, of the whole pregnancy, that didn’t feel like hell. Luckily, she had a good doctor who determined she had Hyperemesis gravidarum.

Jazmyn naming the diagnosis she was given when pregnant and dealing with intense sickness beyond the first trimester.
Jazmyn: Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

Now, being that we aren’t experts in the conditions, here is a link to WebMD for more information. But, getting back on point, there is a need to speak up to a medical professional, and sometimes it isn’t always a therapist. In some cases, like Brian, speaking to a medical doctor and getting tests can lead to a referral to a therapist or someone in the psychology field, but this isn’t always the case.

If you are referred to one, however, note that therapy and medication aren’t always forever. The long term goal of psychology is helping you understand yourself and like any other medical doctor, finding a way for you to independently manage what you are mentally, physically, or emotionally going through. Sometimes with conversation and planning, other times with medication. It’s all case by case basis.

You Gotta Let Your Spouse In – Joe, Leslie

We’ve noted the need to use all the tools in your toolbox, but there is one thing that has to be stated and made clear: Keep your spouse informed. This is the issue for Joe and Leslie since their relationship didn’t include any sort of medical professional, be it psychological or physical medicine. Rather, Joe kept a lot of the trauma and feelings he had to himself, thus leaving Leslie out of the loop in terms of how he felt.

Mind you, this isn’t just with the negative things, but when he talks about how being with Leslie has upgraded his life, she notes hearing that was a bit surprising since Joe’s love language seemingly isn’t verbal. Which complicates things for her since, as one of my former supervisors once told me, “I can’t be ready if you haven’t let me know what to be prepared for.” And when in a marriage, preparation appears to be everything so that when something comes out of left field, there remains that baseline that can hold you together.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Ariana saying that she is learning to cope with someone who's coping.
Brian Stokes and Ariana Stokes

I’m learning how to cope with someone who’s coping.
— Ariana

When God is in your marriage that a lot of things that he wants to perfect in you, it comes up. It’s kind of like the bible talks about iron sharpening iron – he’s used his things, his issues, or whatever are tailor-made for mine. So whatever he goes through or whatever he’s dealing with, it affects me and it brings up my things so that I have to deal with whatever I’m dealing with.
— Tracci

The only way that you’re going to heal is that you’re confronted and some things only will heal in a relationship because you can’t deal with these things when you’re by yourself. […] It takes someone to bring those things up in you.
— Tracci

I can say that we have peace and that’s to me, success, when you have peace in a relationship.
— Tracci

Therapy doesn’t give you the answer, it just helps you figure it out.
— Tracci

Sometimes you can have all you that you think you want, but don’t have what you need.
— Tony

I think a lot of us were so hell-bent on being the teachers, that we forget to be the students.
— Tony



Noting Faith Is A Tool, As Is Therapy

While the stigma of therapy has decreased, it still very much exists in the realm of being extreme. I’d even submit for some, going to therapy is akin to getting chemo. Meaning, unless the mental or emotional illness is life-threatening, it isn’t one of the first options thought of.

But this can especially be true for people who are strongly religious for too often, faith can blind people to the fact God works through people and rarely provides direct contact. Hence the idea of soul mates and friends who come into your life suddenly, and it is like you’ve known them forever. If you are going to believe in an immaculate being, you have to trust that, with them creating people for a reason, they aren’t necessarily trying to be your one and only resource.

Tracci noting therapy is a tool
Tracci: But also that is a tool. Therapy is a tool.

Rather, as Tracci and Tony said, faith is a tool. One that often provides hope, endurance, and can give you community. For what is church beyond that? You can study your bible at home or go to school if it was just about hearing someone preach, teach, or deliver a monologue. Church, the physical building, is supposed to give you a second home, extended family, and access to people who can be used by God to handle the daily needs of their people.

It’s like what was said in the book The Color Purple:

[…] tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me, And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.
– Shug – The Color Purple – Page 193

Mentioning Taking Medication

Taking things further, medication has just as much, if not more stigma than therapy. The idea of talking to someone has increasingly been normalized but taking medication for anxiety, depression, being bi-polar, among other ailments, there is still work to be done. So to see a man like Brian bring it up reminds you the importance of this show often can go beyond showing us Black people in relationships. Sometimes, in terms of the individual, it gives you representation in terms of Black people with mental illnesses, who have gone through tragedy and loss, yet are still here. Yes, with a few scars and things to work out, but they made it.

And one of the ways they did was accepting that, be it biological or due to life situations, they needed help in the form of a pill.

The Effects of Pregnancy, and Post-Partum On Mental Health

As it is increasingly spoken on how difficult pregnancy can be for Black women, due to a doctor not listening, blood clots, miscarriages, and more, you have to appreciate anytime a new diagnosis is brought up, whether it is rare or common. So Jazmyn speaking about having Hyperemesis may click for someone and help them realize they aren’t meant to suffer.

Since, far too often, suffering is tolerated by all people, but Black people especially. Hell, both externally and internally, it is sometimes expected. So to hear someone verbalize that isn’t normal, it’s like hearing people talk about their childhoods, you compare it to yours, and try to reconcile who may need to talk to someone about what went on?

And Jazmyn also speaking about feeling isolated at times, suicidal, and even her post-partum recovery was also important. Especially hearing how her grandmother and Dulé’s mom checked in or showed up. Because, when it comes to Black Love, I think one of the things not touched on enough for me, is that it focuses a lot on the two individuals, with a minor mention of their kids from previous relationships. However, I don’t think enough is asked about when it comes to integrating into someone’s family, such as the case of Sterling K. Brown into Michelle Bathe’s, which was talked about in season 2, I want to say.

Because it is highly rare when you marry someone, you just get them and their personal baggage. Usually, there is a whole family from parents, siblings, cousins, and their parents, as well as kids. Sometimes not even that person’s kids but the kids they are a maternal or paternal figure to that you have to accept come with them. To us, it would be nice to bring that in and how that plays a role.

Noting Faith Is A Tool, As Is Therapy - 88%
Mentioning Taking Medication - 87%
The Effects of Pregnancy, and Post-Partum On Mental Health - 85%


As "Black Love" goes into therapy, use of medication, and more, it furthers the conversation to destigmatize looking beyond faith and family for help.

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