Blood, Sweat, and Tears: For the Love of My People.

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I work a full time job at a health care clinic and have started my private practice a few months ago SOLO!  I write this blog because I want to write about struggles many clinicians of color DO NOT TALK ABOUT.  It has been a very intense past 2 months for me. I was experiencing some serious issues with management at my full time job and decided to stand up for myself and my clients. Surprisingly my demands for clinical cultural competency and supports for perinatal/postpartum moms of color in leadership are going to get met.  Many clinicians of color experience discrimination in our day to day clinical work when working in majority White institutions.

So today I am also happy that I accomplished another milestone, getting my last approval letter from Cigna insurance for my private practice. I am now independently credentialed with every major insurance company I applied for (Carefirst, Magellan, Cigna, and Amerihealth). The credentialing process is TEDIOUS and long (they ask you everything about you except what hospital you were born in, my God!). I could’ve paid someone to do the credentialing for me but I wanted to do it on my own. There are times I seriously have turned inward. There have been times I’ve gone without socializing. My tolerance for frivolous things in my personal life have been short (I don’t have time for the games y’all).

I share this because I want other people who are thinking about starting a practice while working an intense full time job to know it’s not always glamorous. The lessons are beautiful and harsh at the same time. I wish more providers of color talked about this. There’s been MANY a late night working on my social media and planning collaborations. Practices don’t just pop up with established clientele with millions of dollars to support your practice. There is a serious lack of mentorship in the Black professional mental health community with helping each other build our practices, expand professionalism, and competition where there should be none… I hope to break those barriers and I hope I have begun to open doors for others. I do this for my passion, people, and community. I will always continue to pay it forward because I hope that one day we will have an established support system #FUBU.  I’m tired and still motivated.

My struggle is real and I don’t think that our personal support systems recognize or embrace this.  I also don’t understand why other providers of color don’t talk about this.  Lastly, my dating life has severely suffered due to my passion for success.  But I know this is temporary because starting a family is very important to me.  Being a woman is hard.  Being an entrepreneur is hard.  Being Black is hard.  Starting a business with no emotional or financial support is hard.  Starting a business while working a high stress full time job is hard.  I am so very thankful for my personal mental health therapist and faith in God.  I am also thankful for my occasional prescription anti depressant.  I hope this blog post gives someone comfort but I also hope you stay encouraged with me to press forward.

With love,

Shivonne

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