Delilah Antoinette was a newlywed in a toxic relationship who was dealing with issues of anxiety and depression in 2018. The recent grad was unable to find a job, so she leaned on alternatives to traditional therapy, including holistic practices like yoga, meditation and reiki healing to help her cope with her issues.
But in her hometown of Birmingham, AL, these services were hard to find and, more often than not, white-owned. “My first yoga class, it was me and a bunch of middle-aged to older white women. One lady actually . . . slid her purse away from me when I came and sat down.” There were all the uncomfortable smiles, the tone of “Oh my gosh, we have a Black person here!” she says.
Almost always the only Black woman in the room, Antoinette couldn’t help but feel disconnected, and she wondered if other Black women could relate. She created the Black Girl’s Healing House Facebook group as a forum for Black women to find community, something she believes is essential to the healing process. The group started with 200 members and has grown to over 60,000 members today. Antoinette believes the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to much of that growth, as Black women were looking for a safe space to connect and vent when they were forced to stay indoors. As the group grew, Antoinette found new members were looking for services, like life coaches and holistic doctors.
Eventually, Black Girl’s Healing House grew to include a website with a directory of herbalists, card readers and other healing artists in addition to the Facebook community. You can also shop the apothecary, a virtual candy store filled with healing bracelets, smudge sticks and scented candles made by Black-owned brands that will help you get your vibe all the way right. My personal faves are the Zero F*cks Crystals for Anxiety and Stress.
These days, Antoinette’s morning routine includes herbal tea, journaling and sound bowl therapy, which sounds a lot more relaxing than my frazzled attempt to get me and my kids out of the door to school on time. Instead of falling asleep to the evening news, she uses herbal tea and aromatherapy, and she says Black Girl’s Healing House is her first stop for anything wellness-related that she’s looking for.
After struggling with her own mental health issues, Antoinette believes that traditional therapy and holistic alternatives both have a place in the world, as well as in her life. And she loves that the online community she created makes self-care more accessible to Black women who often put it on the back burner after the responsibilities of home and work.
“I feel that I need an actual therapist to get to the root of things for me. And I feel like I need more of a spiritual life coach in other sectors of my life because healing is holistic. It is about your mind and your body and your soul. You need to have them all working together, cohesively,” she says.