RallyUp Mental Health Magazine Spring 2020

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Mental Health


Warrior Zone ViiI:

Cymone Jones


Love and Mental Health



By: Nina Hollingsworth


HELP ME I'M By: TJ Woodard




Founder & CEO of Totality Of A Woman


Founder of My Every Day Being

ERIC D. CAPEHART, SR., MBA,MA Founder & CEO of All the King's Men, Inc



By: Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R

UNAPOLOGETICALLY STANDING IN HER TRUTH Our Fashion Director opens up about her suicide attempts, healing journey and fight to find her true purpose.

Special Feature: VERONICA


A Survivor of Sexual Abuse by her father, Suicide Attempt, other related mental health illnesses and most recently COVID-19 Spring 2020

Photo by CashCaptures


OUR FIGHT Mental Health Still Matters

Shedding Light on the Darkness When Two or More Are Gathered in His Name

Praying for Our Nation

RALLYUP & See What's INSIDE 06 Founder’s Letter 07 Meet the Contributers 09 Behind the Scenes 10 Fashion Section What's Beautiful to You? 14 Poetry Corner Torre White Kena'i 16 Mental Health Confession: "Black Girl Struggling" | By: Jada Carrington 17 YOUTH ZONE Poetry Corner| Lorelai Symmes RUM Mental Health Comics | Illustrated By: RJ Sterling Scripted By: Nina Hollingsworth What Matters to Me | By: Jada Sherffield You're Not Alone! | By: Jada Sherffield You Are More Than Enough | By: Nina Hollingsworth The Change of a Generation | By: Jaaziah Thompson Who I Am | By: Madison Radike YOUTH ZONE FASHIONS 27 Cover Story Kena'i |Suicide Survivor & Mental Health Warrior 30 Faith and Mental Health God's Promises In Tribulation| By: Andrae Hayden 32 Therapy Is Dope Emotional Health is Essential| By: Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R 33 DEAR AMANDA Therapist Highlight: Eric D. Capehart, MBA, MA Do Your Little Bit of Good Where You Are Interviewed By: Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R 34 WARRIOR ZONE VIII Cymone Jones

27 36 My Story By: Kendra Hathaway 37 BEAUTY 5 Fav Organic Beauty Treatments Found in Your Kitchen | By: Nekesa Smith 40 Special Feature Veronica Pryor-Faciane, MS 43 The Gifts of Darkness By: Lex Morgan 44 Love & Mental Health Help Me I'm Quarantined Tips for Coping While Staying at Home By: TJ Woodard 46 Making A Difference Stephanie Carnegie Marisa Jones 48 Health & Wellness LET US HIIT OUR MENTAL RESET By: Tyanna Straughn Sweet Mental Release By: Talona Smith 50 RESOURCES

Natural Radiance

Beauty lifestyle company hair Products | Education

Nekesa J. Smith CEO/ Founder Nekesa Natural Radiance Hair Loft www.nekesanrhairloft.com salon 404-835-2117

Vol. 3 Num. 2 Spring 2020 Founder & Editorial Director Nikita Powell-Cottman Managing Editor: TJ Woodard Asst. Managing Editor: Vanity Dawson Associate Editor: Paul Cottman Article Editor : Denise M. Walker Fashion Director: Kena'I Hollingworth Fashion Assistant: Tyshia Douglas Beauty Editor: Nekesa Smith Beauty Assistant: TJ Woodard Comic Illustrator: RJ Sterling Health & Wellness Editor: Tyanna Straughn Contributer Writers: Jada Carrington Vanity Dawson Andrae Hayden Denise A. Kelley Denise M. Walker Kendra Hathaway Youth Contributing Writers: Lorelai Symmes Nina Hollingsworth Jada Sherffield Madison Radike Youth Guest Writer: Jaaziah Thompson

Lex Morgan Talona Smith Tynesha "Tyi" Flood Amanda Fludd Torre "Tor" White Kena'i Hollingsworth

FOUNDER'S LETTER Dear Familes & Friends,

As we close out Mental Health Awareness Month, let's continue the practice of good mental health. COVID19 is the perfect storm for mental struggles. It's so important that we pay close attention to our love ones and ourselves as a whole. You need to know that if you are feeling more stressed, depressed and/or anxious its known to impact our body's ability to fight off sickness and infections. Please take care of your mind, body and spirit. We hope you use the tools we've provided on the inside of the magazine to help you cope and maintain healthy mental health. If you feel overwhelmed, please use the resources we have available in the magazine and do not hesitate to get help when life becomes overwhelming. We want you and need you to survive! This too shall pass! This issue is filled with a variety to inform, encourage and support you on your mental wellness journey...Enjoy!

Blessings & Love,

Photo by Tinisha Curl

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Meet The New CONTRIBUTORS Jada Sherffield

(14 years old) Youth Contributing Writer A word people often use to describe me is: determined One thing I'll never change about myself is: my compassion When I look into the mirror I see unsharpened potential I’m most my authentic self when: • FOCUSED > amongst others in perseverance > when my relationships are stable > when I’m asking questions • COMMITTED I maintain my mental strength by praying, communicating, maintaining time, thinking in depth and being creative

Jaaziah Thompson Guest Contributing Writer

(13 years old)

A word people often use to describe me is: smart One thing I'll never change about myself is: my sense of humor When I look into the mirror I see a good person I’m most my authentic self when: around my friends I maintain my mental strength by playing ball

Madison Radike

(17 years old) Youth Contributing Writer

A word people often use to describe me is: caring One thing I'll never change about myself is: my sense of humor When I look into the mirror I see I see a strong and confident girl I’m most my authentic self when: when I’m at theater rehearsals working with the makeup team I maintain my mental strength by by being honest with myself and others about how i’m feeling

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Community Care’s mission is to provide resources and services to consumers, families community partners, and other agencies based upon the areas of needs.


Community Care’s vision is to be the number one resources of services and tools that provides multiple services determined by the communities expressed needs.


Behavior Health Rehabilitation Service for children and adults living with mental illness and in need of behavior modification and skill building Behavioral Health Assessments Psychological evaluations for individuals living with mental illness


Individual, group and family psychiatric therapy.


WILL THIS BECOME OUR NEW NORMAL??? From mass temperature checks and mandatory use of face masks, social distancing to a boat load of virtual calls. Anxiety is Heighten and Fear is Taking Over, Virtual Therapy is on higher demand now more than ever! Essential Workers are doing the best they can...

We Appreciate them SO MUCH and We Will continue to PRAY for them and Our Nation as they continue to Help Heal Our Land ♼

Spring 2020| rallyupmagazine.com | 09

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Don’t be the girl who fell. Be the girl who got back up. ~Jenette Stanley

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The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence. ~Blake Lively

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By: Torre White As a black woman with emotions I feel like I don’t get a pass I must be careful and mindful of how I react Not too passionate because they will label me angry Not too filled with emotion because then they will think I’m weak Not too strong because then they will think I’m too masculine Not too friendly because then I want everyone’s man There’s no easy way to combat the stigma they place on me According to “them” there is no right way for me to express how I feel Smile and remain silent until spoken to Act as if everything is okay because that’s what I’m told to do Reality check I’m tired, fed up to be exact I’m tired of hiding my passion because of what understanding others lack I’m tired of making excuses when I feel overwhelmed I’m tired of having to be the one to hold everyone else’s hand I’m tired of the masquerade you request I be a part of I’m tired of smiling when there is nothing for me to smile for I crave to be me Not subjected to who you say I should be I crave to be me Unapologetically Accept me for who I am and not who you want me to be Understand that I’m only human and my emotions are a part of me Stop trying to define me because I will never fit your mold Love me for me, even when my emotions unfold

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Silence By: Kena'i

Silence echos through the halls from the words left unsaid The Skin crawling silence fills the room consumes the light with a silence so thick it suffocates you in its icy grip With a taste so bitter sweet you wouldn’t dare let a word Escape your lips Fear so blinding you barely see your way through the mist The Familiar stinging from the tears fearing to escape Shaking hands you take a breath Sucking in the salty air two seconds too many Then you speak , while down on bended knee Muster up the courage to release whats on your chest And you cry , you scream in Frustration You pour your soul out Then you smile tears of joy pours from eyes Because for now you know The silence was meant for reflection and nothing more than a battle A fight a struggle So you come bended knee Head bowed With a smile You feel peace For not only the silence But the assurance that this too shall pass

GoodBye By: Kena'i from Ashley

Goodbye, That’s always the hard part The ache left in my chest from your absence Your smile , Your laugh The light you brought to the ones who loved you And the emptiness you leave behind with your exit Sometimes I find it hard to breathe hoping you’ll wake me from this nightmare that feels like an eternity But you won’t So I’m left with this tear filled smile Remembering you Your laugh , Your smile The memories you left with us My garden Angel Watch over us Continue to give us the strength to keep moving To grow And know your death is not in vain So now as this poem comes to an end And we prepare to lay you to rest We know this will never be a goodbye But simply a love you As we bow our heads and feel your tears from the sky For Nyesha We love You Spring 2020| rallyupmagazine.com | 15


"Black Girl Struggling" By Jada Carrington

hen I first started struggling with my mental health, I felt so out of place and different. One of the reasons I felt that way is because I didn't see anybody that looked like me struggling like this, and so I thought there must be something wrong with me. It seemed like none of the other black girls I knew were feeling depressed, having suicidal thoughts or cutting themselves, which made me want to hide my struggles even more, because I didn't want to be judged or criticized. I didn't want to be "that weird girl", and I didn't want to be called "crazy" or "psycho". I just didn't want to be different in that way. I know that sounds a bit extreme, but when you grow up in a community that never talks about their struggles, and constantly associates mental health problems only with white people, then you begin to internalize your feelings and respond the same way. For example, I didn't tell many people at the time that I was cutting myself, but the friend I did tell said "Girl, that's what them white kids do." And in that moment, I was discouraged from opening up to anyone else. Seeking help wasn't even an option, seeing as though I couldn't even talk about it. It wasn't until I left high school and became an advocate that other girls and women who looked like me started sharing their stories and admitting to their struggles. Suddenly, I didn't feel alone anymore. I talked to many other black women who could relate deeply to my story. There was a girl that was younger than me and an older woman in her 70's who both could relate. That let me know that mental health problems do not discriminate, and that anyone can go through some of the same things I had experienced. That's one of the reasons I advocate, in hopes that someone else who looks like me, will not be ashamed of their struggles, and will want to reach out for help. As black women face a lot of hardships, and don't always get the opportunity to express ourselves because we are often looked at as the

strong ones who has to hold everything together. We don't talk about mental health in the black community, due to years of stigma and even desensitization, but we should. It is crucial to the wellbeing of not only our mental health, but the mental health of future generations to come. We owe it to our ancestors who struggled and had to take it to their graves. So, this is for all the black girls like me, who never felt like their pain was valid......you are important, your feelings matter, and you are worth it. You are so much more than the depression, the anxiety, the self-harm, the suicidal thoughts, the mental illness, the trauma and all of the pain. You deserve healing, you deserve happiness, and most importantly, you deserve to live. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise!


Ive learned to deal with it I have no one to talk to I don't want to appear weak I don't want to be a burden on anyone I'm too embarrased I don't want to admit I need help There's a negative stigma

Please make sure you check on the men in your life. #menmentalhealthmatters


OUR VOICES MATTER Platform for 18 and under


Dear Parents,

During this pandemic, one of the most challenging thing to do is to remain calm and reassuring while caring for your kids. Something you should know, children and teens reacts, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. As parents and caregivers, you need to deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently to provide the best support for your children. SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR... Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. You have to be very attentive. Watch closely for behavior changes in your child. SOME COMMON CHANGES TO WATCH FOR: • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting) • Excessive worry or sadness • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens • Poor school performance or avoiding school work • Difficulty with attention and concentration • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past • Unexplained headaches or body pain • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs ~CDC (Center of Disease Control) HERE'S SOME WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD DURING THE COVID19... • Create a Safe Space so your child can talk freely about the COVID-19 outbreak. • Answer Questions and Share Facts Do this in a way that your child or teen can understand. Make it plain and clear, but share only what they can handle while reassuring them that they are safe. Let them know that they are okay and protect them mentally, emotionally and physically the best you can. • Limit Your Family's Exposure to the Media ..including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear which can be frightening; especially if its something they do not understand. • Be a Role Model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Teach your child breathing exercises and make sure they are getting an adequate amount of sleep. Exercise Together. Stay connected with your family and friends. Take advantage of the virtual apps. • Maintain a regular routine the best you can. Schools are closed but create a weekly schedule for learning activities, chores, relaxing or fun activities. Let your child participate in creating the schedule and you make the final approval. • Last, make time to unwind as a family Play family games, watch movies together or some other activities you enjoy. Remember, this too shall pass.

Blessings & Love, RallyUp Magazine


Accept who you are Learn to love yourself Trust Yourself Watch your thoughts Deal with your fears Talk About It Keep Going; Stay Active Ask for Help Find time to Relax Keep in touch with your friends; avoid isolation  Get Involve/ Share your story  Use your creativity to cope

   

Journaling Exercise Eat nutritional meals and snacks Take some time and read self help books  Pray/Meditate  Take your medication  See your therapist regularly  Stay Away from Triggers!



ONCE PAST By: Lorelai Symmes There once lived a girl so scared of the world, her delicate fingers would touch the glass sobbing at the reflection staring back. In three months of time this girl slowly began to come back to life, now her fingers touch the glass and her eyes stare at the reflection thanking the world for her redemption.

Scripted By: Nina Hollingsworth

WHAT MATTERSBy: Jada TOSherffield ME When asked what matters to me, generally my response would be, everything. I am always interested in trends that directly affect communities which create courageous conversations and require critical thought processes. I frequently ask myself, “What is the best possible way to approach the situation and how can I create a positive change?” At times, I wonder what kind of impact I will make on the country in the future, and what kind of impact our politicians are making now. Qualities such as accountability, motivation, and cooperation are important to me. Knowing that there are selfless individuals making an impact by writing or speaking about issues that affect everyone gives me comfort. It’s common that I’ll find myself reading books about issues that affect kids like me. Today, so many of our youth feel isolated and excluded feeling lonely in a crowded room. I am always mindful of whether others have had a chance to express themselves and truly be heard - not only in a surface manner, but in a tangible and impactful way. Today, so many of my peers find more comfort in sitting alone because they feel obligated to. So, instead of actually speaking and spending time with people to improve our interpersonal skills, we’ll be on our phones for entertainment. It is my opinion that we struggle to be our authentic selves because others will always try to shape us to fit their reality. It is nice to have people around you who understand your perspective but in no way is it right to try to make others feel mediocre because they have a different viewpoint. Very few people have the ability to be who they are and let everybody else be themselves as well. Can you imagine how nice the world would be if we would all do that? If each person was secure in who he/she is and let others be who they are, then we would not have to try to conform and be imitations of each other. Though I struggle with my own security my goal is to develop qualities within myself so that I can become a dynamic and successful leader when I grow up. I aspire to create and stand on platforms where diversity of thought is valued with an opportunity to motivate others through honesty, discernment, and gratitude. The way in which we present and represent ourselves when confronted with a challenge is more than significant to me. Representation and political trust are the two issues I’m most passionate about. How accurate are our representatives at doing their jobs? How much has life actually changed since the late 1800’s when corruption in government was considered “lifestyle”? When will we realize that, as Sunday Adelaja says, “Success is a process of learning, growth, progression and faithfulness.” I do not know what my concern with political trust will be in the future, but for now I aspire to be a journalist, or shall I say,

20 | rallyupmagazine.com | Spring 2020

a so-called modern-day muckraker (reform-minded journalist). I am sure it’s nothing like it is depicted in the movies, but I am quite drawn to yellow journalism, a sensationalized form of writing that was popular in the early 1900’s before World War I. Growing up, I would read all of the Sherlock Holmes books along with the ones about his younger sister, Enola. I found those books intriguing because there’s always something new to uncover in them. The closer Enola got to finding her mother, the more I became completely obsessed with her attention to detail. I have always had one goal in life and that is to influence people with everything I have. The closer I get to achieving it, the more motivated I am to do more. I strive to be a legend, and upon my death I wish to be honored even if only by my family. People need to know my name, not for fame or fortune, but because I have something to say. Along with encouraging passionate writing, I’d like to encourage a new type of reform for our day and age: a procedural reform. To make moral reassessments mandatory for everyone on a moral compass in order to reach a level of competence that is continuously growing and expanding. Once we’ve established this reformation of morals, we will be able to accomplish anything.

YOU'RE NOT ALONE! Overseer By: Lex Morgan

This is a place for young people to connect with one another using authenticity and courage. In a world where its easy to feel like you must figure things out alone and no one understands, we’re here to remind you that you matter, and You Are Not Alone! #BeScaredDoItAnyway

WE WELCOME         

All Races and Ethnicities All Religions All Countries of Origin All Gender Indentities All Sexual Orientations All Abilities and Disabilities All spoken languages All Ages Everyone.


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YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH Nina Hollingsworth, 12

To start off whoever is reading this, you are beautiful inside and out and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you are someone who looks in a mirror and hates what you see don’t put yourself down. Don’t say things like “I’m ugly” or “I’m not enough”. You're amazing, you are beautiful, and you definitely are enough. If others tell you those things, don’t listen to them because sticks and stones may break your bones but words will NEVER hurt you. If it's not a compliment they’re giving you don’t even try to listen. Look in a mirror now and you need to love what you see. Nothing about you is ugly, and ALWAYS remember that. Building your self-esteem is really important, because if you don’t it could lead to depression or anxiety. Or it could lead to smoking or drinking as a way of “coping” which is something I notice a lot of kids are doing these days. Things like that could lead to tragic results. You can build your self esteem simply by just saying good things about yourself everyday. Trying to stay away from toxic friendships or fake people is a good way to because they could very well be your main source to your low self esteem. You could also help others because doing good deeds could help you feel better about yourself. If you have someone that you know was always there for you through thick and thin, I want you to talk to that person and or those people. Talk to them about how you feel and what you're going through so they can build you up when you're down. I know personally I have plenty of those people. I hope that my article helped you realize how beautiful you are. I hope it helped you realize that there are always going to be people that won’t like you and try to bring you down. Just don’t listen to them, don't even acknowledge that they're there. You are more than enough and you're never alone!


Social media is like a drag to teenagers in this generation. It controls kids and by that, teenagers put social media before their priorities. It is important for teens to learn how to find more productive things to do rather than being on Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc. In our generation everyone including adults are addicted to social media. I see teens and adults on their phone almost every time I’m in public. Also, kids are committing suicide because they feel like they don’t matter to the people who care about them. It makes us feel bad and can be hurtful. It makes us angry and we need an outlet to let our feelings out. Some parents today are not as responsible with their kids. Teens feel like their parents let them do whatever they want, which shows lack of responsibility. Teens go out because their parents work a lot. For some teens when they are out, they will do things they’re not supposed to be doing especially fighting. The effects of parents not paying attention can result in teenagers going out on the streets and getting into serious trouble. When unsupervised teens go out into the streets they sometimes rob, steal, kill, or fight for attention especially when they are left alone with unresolved feelings. Even I have got in trouble for fighting one time, but I also learned from my mistake. To prevent this, parents should be a lot more responsible with their children. Be more involved. The main thing that affects kids is social media, and that is something parents should try to get under control. Parents can help this generation by spending more time with their kids. They can start by staying off their phones and stop putting work before family. Hopefully, this generation and the next will make strong improvements. We all need to come together to build a bond and maybe we can improve as a generation. It would also be helpful to find out our interest are and things we like to do. Less criticism. More community activities such as neighborhood basketball, football, and kickball tournaments would get parents and teens bonding with each other. Another suggestion would be for parents to play video games with their teens, board games, or exercise together. In summary, we can help each other if the new generation can be more honest about their feelings and the older generation can learn more about us, the new generation by spending more time with us and getting to know us better.

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WHO I AM By: Madison Radike

Struggling with depression from a young age is difficult, especially when you grow up on the internet. I think I got my first phone around eleven years old, I remember being insanely excited because now I could talk to my friends, and I wouldn’t need to use our family’s dusty old computer to go on my favorite sites, as I now had access to them as apps. My favorite app, was Wattpad. It was a site where people could write stories and share them, you could make cover art, talk with others about your stories, and much more. I enjoyed it because I was now able to write and read fanfiction, which was very exciting for an eleven-year-old girl with little to no friends. It was a form of escapism, as fanfiction allows the reader and the writer to indulge themselves in their favorite movies, shows, books, and bands, and write stories about them. Looking back at it now, a good majority of those stories were focused on One Direction or popular animes of the time. During this time, the bullying I experienced at school became worse. I was an easy target because of my personality. I apologized for everything and let people walk all over me. And then the unhealthy coping mechanisms began to form. This was the point I started self-harming. I had learned that this was a valid coping mechanism, I learned that someone would always come to save you.The more I was bullied at school, the more I started to take out my frustrations on myself. I would make myself get sick at school because I reasoned that this was the place I was least likely to be caught by my parents. I became angry and sad and scared of myself. I didn’t understand that I was now in a deep pit of mental illness that just continued to get worse, and I believed I was alone.

the motions of everyday life. I was hospitalized and it was probably the worst few weeks of my life. I genuinely hated that place and if I never go back, it’ll be way too soon. I started being honest with those trying to help me because I finally understood that I needed that help. As soon as I left the recovery started, and when I got back to school it became real. My friends opened me back with wide, open, arms. I was shocked that they noticed.

As I got older, I began to understand that I was suffering from depression, anxiety, and ADHD, but I still struggled with the mindset of needing to be ‘rescued.’ And by high school, I was, for lack of a better word, a mess. I was in an unhealthy relationship, self-harming daily, and began to eat less and less until I would go on binges of eating anything and everything I could. I had gotten a therapist but I was never honest with her. I denied my worsening condition to my family and friends, who were doing what they could to help, but truthfully none of us were equipped to try and help a friend through mental illness on their own.

I didn’t lie to them, I had told them where I was, and they were happy I was starting to get help. I began to tell my story to others with pride, I had been through hell and I came back. I was determined to get better. I shared what I was comfortable with publicly on Instagram and received a lot of support. There was negativity and hate, and I still get people telling me that I’ve lied about what I’ve been through, that I talk about it for attention, and I won’t lie, it’s definitely given people who tease me more ammunition. But I simply don’t care. I don’t mind it anymore, and it really has become nothing more than white noise.

By sophomore year I was still self-harming, and it just got worse and worse. Anything I ate outside of school was thrown back up as soon as I could. I became a hollow shell of myself, and I hated it. I hated who I was.

What I’ve gone through isn’t a lie, it isn’t a cry for attention, and while some people choose to believe it, the only people whose opinions I care about anymore are my own. I know what I’ve gone through, and I know that those experiences happened. And that’s valid. I am valid.

During winter break, I attempted to take my own life. I no longer saw myself as someone who deserved good things, I barely even saw myself as a person, just a robot going through

And I am healing.

Spring 2020| rallyupmagazine.com | 23

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Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. ~Brene Brown

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ARE YOU DEPRESSED???  Changes in sleeping pattern  Lack of energy  Dark Mood  Changes in appetite   Heavy "dark" Mood  Guilt and/or Anxiety  Hard to Focus 

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been stressful for many people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be very overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. If you are feeling over-whelmed and need someone to chat to, you can start by texting TALK to 741741.

Q & A with


Suicide Survivor & Mental Health Warrior ver since I was a little girl, I was always different. At the age of 14, I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Being officially diagnosed finally gave me a little information on what was happening in my head. Not everyone in my family was accepting of my illness and some even believed “it was an excuse for crazy people to “act crazy” or for me, "a teenager to be rebellious." My mom became my strength, but my father became my trigger and for many years my siblings were afraid of me. While trying to come to terms with my illness, I began to gain weight from the different medications that I was taking which caused me to become the target of bullying my 7th grade year in school. I lost friends, my grades dropped, and I began to lose my will to live. Not only did I feel alone at school, but I felt like a stranger in my own home. After one very dark night, I had enough. Two weeks after my 13th birthday was the first of six attempts on my life. I went through three different facilities, engaged in self-harm, substance abuse, endured being raped, insecurities, spiritual emptiness, physical, mental and emotional abuse. After years of searching for strength, I finally found it within myself. I finally realized I am NOT my illness! It does NOT and will NOT define me! I am NOT crazy or hopeless! I am chosen! I found confidence in my beauty and I am ready to share my story… It was a pleasure interviewing our Fashion Director; the daughter of our founder. We are blessed to be apart of her healing journey.

Photo by Cash Captures

Fight Every Battle on Your Knees Spring 2020| rallyupmagazine.com | 27

RUM: Healing is a process...what are some steps you had taken on your healing journey? Kena’i: Processes I’ve taken on my healing journey is finding healing for myself and finding peace within myself. I feel like sometimes you have to seek forgiveness from other people, but you have to forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up for things you can’t change. Learn to be at peace with yourself and things you can’t change. Find peace with people who make you happy and people who are there to build you up and not tear you down. Accepting that you can’t change everything. RUM: You mention forgiveness, what was your process of forgiveness? Kena’i: My process of forgiveness first and foremost is going to the Lord in prayer first and repenting. Then asking Him to give me the strength to forgive others in the way I would want him to forgive me. I know that everyone is not perfect, and people make mistakes. I know that forgiveness is always hard, but you have to learn to forgive other people not just for them but for your sake. It takes a lot of energy to hate people. It takes a lot of energy to hold grudges. It takes a lot of energy to spew negativity in the world, but it takes only a second to forgive and share love, spread peace and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. The way you treat others should be how you want others to treat you. If you want somebody to forgive you for your shortcomings, you have to forgive other people. Not everyone is perfect. RUM: What have you been diagnosed with? Kena’i: I have been diagnosed with Bipolar, depression, PTSD, OCD, ODD, severe anxiety. RUM: There were how many attempts of suicide? Kena’i: I’ve had 6 attempts of suicide RUM: Let's Talk About Your Mental Health Journey, why so many attempts, is it that you did not heal properly? Kena’i: It was mainly because I didn’t know how to forgive myself. I dealt with so many demons and I had a lot of things within myself that I had to overcome. I had a lot of wrongdoings which goes back to your earlier question. Forgiveness is a part of healing and you can’t heal until you forgive. That was my problem. I would pretend to heal but I never forgave myself. I forgave other people, but I never forgave myself. I couldn’t heal until I was able to forgive myself.

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RUM: How old were you when you experienced your 1st darkest moment and who/what helped you through that dark moment? Kena’i: I was 8 years old. No one helped me. No one knew. I didn’t get help until I was 12 going on 13 years old. I was diagnosed with ADHD and a lot of people didn’t understand what was going on, which is why I didn’t get the right type of help until I was 14. That’s around the age when I was correctly diagnosed. RUM: Mental Struggles are not always obvious, what are some of your visible signs that go unnoticed? Kena’i: A lot people think that when I tell them I’m feeling suicidal, they think that I’m speaking with the intention of attempting suicide or that’s an in the moment thing. People don’t realize that people who suffer from Bipolar depression and have suicidal thoughts, they never stop. It’s just that they learn to cope with it. They learn and eventually find a reason to fight to live but there’s always a part of them that questions their life or if they should still be a part of this world. It is true little things can tip them over the edge, because they are already dancing on glass. It’s just some days they are able to put shoes on and walk over that glass and some days they have socks on and may need a little help getting over it. RUM: How were your teenage years and grade school for you? Kena’i: It was terrible. I hated school. Kids are harsh. They don’t realize words hurt. We grew up with the saying sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That’s not true. Words hurt. In my opinion, kids don’t have that barrier or mentality that tells them enough is enough or they’ve gone too far. Some kids are cruel. And unfortunately, a lot of schools turn a naked eye to bullying and name calling. Some even look at it as kids being kids but it’s not right. Kids shouldn’t be picked on because you don’t know what that kid is going through at home. You don’t know what may have happened to that child before or after you are done picking on that child. You don’t know what goes on in their mind so bullying needs to be taken seriously. Kids should realize, just because someone looks different from you doesn’t mean they are not human because everyone has feelings, and everyone is a person and deserves respect. It’s one thing to pick and joke around but it’s another thing to deliberately hurt someone’s feelings. Some kids don’t know the difference between playing and hurting someone’s feelings.

RUM:What are some of your triggers? Kena’i: One of my greatest triggers is usually when people are mean to me. I don’t like when people talk mean to me because I give everyone respect and I feel respect should be given to me. Treat people the way you want to be treated. RUM: What has been the most difficult choice you have had to make to regain your mental strength? Kena’i: Distancing myself from other people. Learning when to say no. Learning when to walk away from situations. I have a big heart and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeves. I tend to get my feelings hurt a lot because I tend to want to help everyone and try to make everyone feel good. Sometimes I have to learn to walk away and tell them it’s not okay for you to keep hurting me the way you do and it is not okay for you to keep treating me the way you do. RUM: What is your greatest fear? Kena’i: My greatest fear would be obliteration. To disappear completely without leaving any memories behind. Fear of not making a difference and not changing the world in any type of way. To feel like I have not left my mark by helping someone is a fear of mine. As I said, to basically disappear. I would be content if I met one person and changed their life with my story. If they said I didn’t commit suicide because of you. I don’t need the legacy. I just want to change a life. I would leave this earth happy knowing I saved one life. One person. Even if no one else knew about it as long as that person went on to save another life and so on. RUM: How are you conquering your greatest fears? Ken’i: One day at a time. I’m getting up out of bed, putting my pants on one leg at a time. I put a smile on my face and conquer the world. At one point I was scared to even open my front door and face the world. I wouldn’t even think of doing an interview, taking a photo, conversing with people, to now being in a long-term relationship. Now I’m getting married. So, I continue to conquer life every day. I have my own place now and my own vehicle. A lot of steps have been taken within this last year or two that I didn’t see for myself 10 years ago. Ten years ago, I was almost out of here. RUM: When you look in the mirror now, what do you see? Kena’i: When I look in the mirror, I see someone who has pieced back together themselves. I still have cracks but there’s beauty in those imperfections. RUM: Have you discovered your true purpose in life? Kena’i: No. But stay tuned. I’m only 23. RUM: How important is a support system to you? Kena’i: It’s very important to have a support system. It is important to have people to fall back on. It is important for you to have someone in your corner when life gets hard. You need someone to fall back on. Even people without a mental illness need someone to lean on. Everybody goes through rough patches in life and that’s when you need people in your life and who can rally around each other.

RUM: So, you’re the Fashion Director of RallyUp Magazine, was that by choice? Kena’i: I enjoy it but it really wasn’t my idea. It wasn’t something I really wanted to do in the beginning. I was really insecure and it pulled me out of my shell. As time grew, it pushed me to be more confident in myself and in my body. Today, I can go to a photo shoot and take pictures. I’ve changed in small bathrooms and tents for shoots and the old me would dare not put on shorts and take a picture and now I’m taking pictures in bathing suits. It definitely was a confidence booster and I love it. The fashion section is growing because I’m bringing on new girls. I’ve since added a youth section. I’m looking to bring in more children, I build the adult section by bringing in more females. We also have the men’s section. I’m looking for more men or anyone who is not secure with their bodies. It’s about showing people how to enjoy life without feeling like you’re being judged. RUM: There’s many people hurting, who are having thoughts of giving up or having thoughts of harming themselves; what encouraging words do you have for them? Kena’i: I would say fight and continue to fight. Life may seem bleak right now. Life may seem hard right now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Lean on the people around you. Lean on your support systems. Fall on your knees and pray. Cry out. God hears your tears even if you can’t, find the words to speak, God hears your tears. Your tears are prayers too. There are people out there that will listen to you. There are people out there that are willing to fight for you, when you can’t fight for yourself. You already took that first step by being here. All you have to do is take your next step and reach out to available resources and we will continue to walk with you. We will help you the rest of the way.

God sends people in your life for a reason. God is always the best support system. I think every battle should be fought on your knees. There’s power in prayer and in numbers. Spring 2020| rallyupmagazine.com | 29


I love this scripture because it serves as a warning to all believers. The scripture tells us to “be ready because storms will come”. As children of the Most-High God, we are bound to suffer challenges and difficulties. Thus, these things can affect one’s state of mind. However, this scripture gives hope to everyone suffering from any kind of mental distress. During these challenging times, no matter what we go through. We must increase our faith and hold on to God’s promise.

Daily Affirmation In-the-midst of the storms in my life I will not fear. I know that you have already equipped me with everything I need to endure each test and trial. I will serve you faithfully through it all, for I know that you hold my life in your hands. I will keep my mind on you. My faithfulness to you is eternal.

Devotionals for a Queen is a devotional book that travels with you through many different stages in life. Life can bring about many changes as well as challenges. During their own journeys through young adulthood, authors Andrae Hayden and TJ Woodard experienced their share of hardships, as well as good times. Through the strength of Jesus Christ, the lessons they learned along the way led them on a path to spiritual maturity. They teamed up to create this powerful devotional unlike any other. Specifically crafting each devotional to encourage, and motivate its readers through various stages of Life. Devotionals for a Queen comes straight from their hearts to yours. It is transparent, heartfelt, and highlights some of the greatest scriptures and motivational quotes. Designed to empower you to be the royal Queen that God designed you to be. Andrae and Tamika pray that readers are inspired to go deeper into the person their savior desires them to be as believers. His love, strength, and peace will guide, and transform you into the Queen that he created you to be.

Photo credit goes to Scott Van Hoy on Unsplashed

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10 (ESV)

Faith & Mental Health

HERE I LEAVE HOPE FOR YOU: A Word to Survivors for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Pick up your head Lovely, it is going to be Ok. I know a piece of you was stolen, and I know parts of you feel broken. “I know how you feel” is what some say, but do they really? Some stories are like staring in the mirror but each one is uniquely different. “I can imagine what you went through”, but can you really? Since the beginning of time, the same storyline but different plot has been playing out. Until the end of time the same storyline but different plot will play out. Yes, that is unfortunate but let me tell you Lovely, those pieces stolen by the enemy God will replace. The brokenness you feel, God is going to put those pieces back together and better than before. That pain you are feeling, God is already healing and will continue to do so. If you think this is the end of the story, I’m here to tell you it isn’t. The story continues and there is so much power in your story. There is victory waiting for you and all you must do is keep walking towards it. “It’s easier said than done”. I know, I hear that a lot and I have even said it myself. You’ve encountered those moments of depression, sadness, anxiety, and all the other burdens that keep you chained and prevent you from moving forward. You feel like there is no more life left or better yet, more abuse out there waiting for you. Well, I came to tell you, that is a lie! What the enemy causes for your pain, harm, and for bad, God uses that for good. There is healing, love, joy, laughter, and peace waiting

Let’s be the ones who Talk About Mental Health so Much that our Next Generation Never Feels the Stigma ♥

We Fight Foundation Inc. 240-34-FIGHT (240-343-4448)

for you. Many people will be healed through your story. You will be healed by telling your story and every time you tell it you not only empower yourself but other survivors around you. I’m sorry you had to experience sexual abuse; you didn’t deserve to be abused and nobody does but keep going. You can heal and move forward. I believe in you. Through the power of God, you will rise from it and take your place. There is glory in your story and All glory to God.

Never forget this: You are strong, you are beautiful, you are brave, you are loved, and you are a Survivor!


If you’ve been following RallyUp you know that mental health applies to everyone and it’s all about our overall health and well-being. As society has been catapulted into the pandemic of Covid-19, we want you to remember your emotional health is still essential and more than ever want to encourage you to find balance in the chaos and nurture yourself, especially if you are coping with mental illness like depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia. We can’t control how we feel, but can control how we respond to our feelings. You see, feeling your feelings isn’t the same as reacting to it. Right now we are dying of boredom, afraid to get to close to others, irritated with loved ones, stressed about work and finances, beyond the blues, or just numb because we are tired of feeling and it’s the best way to get through the day. Since we have to “shelter in place”, we just aren’t as busy and distracted as normal and that leaves us vulnerable to uncomfortable emotions, but you are not alone, the entire world shares your experience and the good news is, you can feel it, and not respond to it. What do I do to deal with it? Just like on the plane, the oxygen mask needs to go on your first. If you are taking care of your emotional health, it makes it easier for you to then care for other’s. Here are a few suggestions: Nurture yourself first: What’s been working for you? Maybe it’s taking some time alone, going for walks, playing or even learning an instrument, listening to the remix battle on IG or just talking with friends or a colleague. Take a break: Taking in too much news and social media only heightens the anxiety. Set a cap for the day. Question yourself to find the greater good and spark hope: Ask yourself: What am I grateful for today? What do I miss and what do I appreciate about that? Or How am I using my gifts and giving to the world today.

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Take care of your body: The body and the mind are so deeply connected. Get active and you let go of stress (which contributes to weight gain and medical issues) and it helps to improve your mood and wellbeing. Eat healthy, and maintain your sleep routine. Poor sleep is the first sign of mental trouble. How else are you creatively coping? Get on IG @Rallyup and let us know! Do a little every day to thrive through this season and if it is more than you can handle, remember it’s ok to not be ok during this time of crisis. Therapy is always an option and just about all therapists and even psychiatrists are offering online therapy and most insurances are even waiving copays. My practice, Kensho Psychotherapy Service, for example is 100% online and we’ve expanded to see clients in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. To get to us visit www.amandafludd.com or to find a therapist near you: www.therapyforblackgirls.com, www.psychologytoday.com or www.openpathcollective.org. For 24/7 support: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 We expect this will be a difficult time for many people, but if you focus on your mental health now, it will be a lot easier when we emerge again as a community. #Inthistogether #RallyUp #Therapyisdope Sending positive and healing vibes, Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R Executive Director at Kensho Psychotherapy Services / @therapyisdope Additional Resources to Support Your Emotional Health: The YMCA is offering many free online classes at https://ymca360.org/ Check out Pop Sugar Fitness videos on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/popsugartvfit/videos Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout Apps completely free until May 1st. Take a free course at Yale on Happiness: https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being? Curious Tribes is facilitating free support groups and ways to connect with others: https://www.joincurio.com/ A Free Wellness Summit via Zoom with a therapist previously highlighted Ms. Katiuscia Gray and Amanda Fludd through April, 2020. Eventbrite: And phenomenal live talks on issues that matter to our community on Facebook @Therapyisdope (the one that says Amanda Fludd). Mindful.org has Free Mindfulness Resources to Find Calm and Nourish Resilience During the COVID Outbreak


s the journey to therapy is often a personal one influenced by the projectiles, potholes and mountains surpassed in life, so is the journey to becoming an exceptional counselor or therapist. Typically, most of us are deeply touched by mental illness within our families or larger communities and are compelled to have a hand in shifting mindsets and reducing disproportionate barriers to mental health. Eric D. Capehart also known as Eric the Counselor, shares his little bit of good and what influenced his journey. “I spent 10 years as the founder and CEO of All the King’s Men, Inc. in Nashville, TN. The mission of our nonprofit was to reduce the likelihood that black boys would encounter juvenile court. After a decade of doing the work of mentorship I saw firsthand how mental illness affected my members [and] their families. I realized most mental health issues I was confronted with as a mentor went undiagnosed and it seems like it had all been normalized”. Minority communities have made progress towards embracing the importance of mental health, but there is still some resistance. What is the experience they have with you once they walk in the door?

client find surprising is that I was expelled from High School for a year for dealing drugs”. We are currently experiencing unprecedented times with this recent pandemic that has consumed us. What is your concern for our people and some advice? If I am worried about anything, I am worried that our people will not only take the brunt of the sickness and death, but we will also suffer economically at disproportionate rates as compared to our white counterparts. Otherwise, I am not genuinely worried about anything as it relates to our people when it comes to the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are a resilient people who have always made a way even in our darkest hours. I am optimistic that our people will continue to break away from previous generations thinking about seeking professional help when it comes to psychological matters”. “My hope is that our people will come out of this better than how we came into it”.

“One of the biggest fears is a belief that they won’t find a therapist they feel comfortable with. In my opinion the stigmas on mental illness and the medical field in general are still a fear and even a stronghold for the black community at large. When clients work with me, they experience a calm and relatable counselor whose cultural competence shows up in therapy. I know what works for us when it comes to therapy”.

What was the last book you read and a key point you took away?

“I’ll be honest though, many of my clients acknowledge a sense of relief when we first meet. They are relieved to see a young black man with locs”.

You never know the beginning of a man until you ask. Mr. Capehart saw the beginnings and challenges of our black boys and rose to the occasion to be a voice and advocate for exceptional Mental Health. Eric D. Capehart, MBA, MA is a Pre-Licensed Professional under supervision of an LPC in the state of Tennessee. He has a T-shirt line “Experience Mental Health” and an associated Podcast-Experience Mental Health the Podcast. To request an appointment or for additional information visit:

Can you share something clients are surprised to know about you? “One of the first things clients are surprised to know about me is my age. Along with running my private practice, I serve as the Assistant Director of Counseling at an HBCU in Nashville. Anytime my age comes up the students are surprised to know that I am old enough to be their parent and sometimes I am older than their parents. Another thing my

“The last book I read was The Way of the Superior Man, but I don’t want to share the points I took away. When I shared them with my wife, she had a blank look on her face as if she could have gone without that information. If there are any men that have read it, they’ll probably understand”.


What's the difference between PTSD and depression?


Renee S. Washington DC Renee S. from Washington, D.C. thank you for wondering out loud about the difference between PTSD and Depression. PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and while it shares some similarities to depression (a close cousin), like irritability, sadness, loss of interest in activities you enjoy, it definitely has its own unique characteristics. A key element of PTSD is the experience of a life threatening event or experiencing a profound loss of control (such as the tragedies of war, sexual assault, emotional manipulation), either personally or even second hand (like the loss of Kobe Bryant or professionals who hear repeat accounts of trauma). Although the traumatic event is over, the symptoms, particularly reexperiencing (feeling like if it’s happening again), intrusion (thoughts or memories that come flooding back), negative thoughts and mood (negative beliefs about yourself, others or the world; feeling no emotions, or very emotional) and arousal (feeling on high alert or on edge, constantly looking over your shoulder; doing self-destructive things to cope) continue to occur. This can happen right away, or months, sometimes years after. Trauma is no respecter of time, race, age, it will show up when it wants and how it wants, especially if it is left unattended. This can certainly contribute to symptoms of depression, and you can have both PTSD and Depression at the same time, but because of the nature of what kicked off the symptoms, and the way a person experiences it, the primary focus becomes PTSD. Usually when you treat the trauma depression improves.

Photo by Stanley Morales from Pexels

Everything you need to know about

Mental Health

DEPRESSION • A sadness you can't shake • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed • Weight loss or weight gain • Sleep difficulties • Fatigue or restlessness • Feeling worthless and/or guilty • Difficulties concentrating • Thoughts of dying or suicide

PTSD • Unwanted memories / Flashbacks • Avoidance of trauma people, places, or conversations related to the traumatic event • Feeling alone or confused • Negative thoughts and emotions • Irritable / Angry • Hypervigilance • Startle easily

Thank you for your courage with this question. You’ve helped so many people and I wish you the best on your journey to great mental health. Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R www.amandafludd.com RallyUp Magazine

Nikita Powell-Cottman Anxiety & Seasonal Depression

Vanity Dawson Bipolar Disorder & Depression

Tai Campbell Depression & Anxiety

Kenai Hollingsworth Suicide Survivor, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, PTSD, depression

Neta Vaught Suicide Survivor, Depression, Anixety, PTSD

Lorelai Symmes Anorexia, depression, anxiety, PTSD

Mental Health Warrior Zone viii Fighting Back Against the the Battlefields of Our Mind Real People, Real Stories...Overcomers! Read previous warriors stories in the Warrior Zone at:

Cymone Jones Suicide Survivor, Bipolar Disorder & Depression

Dasia Wood Suicide Survivor, Anxiety, Bipolar, PTSD & Depression

Kayla Sampson Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Bipolar

www.rallyupmagazine.com Tamika Woodard Anxiety & Depression

Lawrence Durden Depression

Jada Carrington Anxiety & Depression

Tanzania Fair Depression & Suicidal Ideation

Craig Cooper Depression & Suicidal Ideation

Tyshia Douglas Depression

Elyse Lancaster Suicide Survivor

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Cymone Jones Founder of Of A Sound Mind My name is Cymone. I am a young woman personally affected by mental illness I turned my experience into an opportunity to advocate for other survivors with a diagnosis, or survivors overcoming different traumas that might typically be ignored. During puberty I struggled with depression heavily. My first suicide attempt was probably around middle school. I was raised in church and I begged God to take me in my sleep. I dealt with self-harm and body dysmorphia, that went hand and hand with my depression. I wanted so badly for someone to care. Instead my acting out got me sent away to live with a family member over 1500 miles away. My parents didn’t know what to do for me. From that point my struggle with rejection became worse. My “new family” did not always accept me. I went from home to home being the black sheep in each one. Back home I dealt with an emotionally abusive father. At my new home I dealt with an emotionally distant one. My upbringing was not typical or healthy. It was tumultuous and toxic. I became independent, growing up very quickly. Soon that led to heavy drinking and the behaviors that comes with the party lifestyle. I went from place to place until a relationship gone bad led me to homelessness. There were a few of us who squeezed in one tiny apartment with no lights, heat, or food. Eventually, I was able to get back on my feet. I was able to get a place with the assistance of a friend and landed a decent job. Shortly after, I lost my job and my heart was completely shattered. I felt like a complete failure with no hope in sight. My life took a turn for the very worst. By the time I turned 20, I decided I had enough. Late one night I

consumed all the Tylenol I could find in the house. I ended up in the hospital on complete lockdown. After that I was sent off to the behavioral health center where they gave me a laundry list of diagnosis and medication. When I was admitted, the first thing my “visitor” asked me was, “Do you know you go to hell if you kill yourself?” When I was released the first thing I was told was, “You don’t need medication. You need support. We’re going to get you off that medication.” These were stigmas from a black family and the Christian community that hit me immediately leaving a lasting effect. I was overwhelmed by everything that was going on and confused by what to believe. Throughout the next few years, I continued to move around. Still, my family didn’t know what to do with me or what was best for me. I was a fully-grown adult still being tossed between households and states. Eventually, I was back in my home state. The last place I wanted to be, yet home is where I started treatment and was consistent on my path to stability and recovery. Years would go by before I started being open about my struggles with mental health and at times it was evident even when trying to hide it. I was a private person with many labels placed on me already. Inspired by the singer/songwriter Demi Lovato and her transparency about her struggles with drug abuse I came out to a social media audience. I opened about my own personal struggles surrounding my diagnosis with Bipolar Disorder. I was frustrated by how she was treated and shamed by the (social) media, but I was now less ashamed of my own battles. I was embraced with so much support. This made me want to be a part of stopping the stigma. Many people began telling me that they had endured similar circumstances but never felt comfortable sharing. I strive to normalize these conversations because of this, especially in urban and Christian communities. My organization, “Of A Sound Mind” is a faith-based organization but is open to all. We host panel discussions, support groups, and other events to continue to get the word out on the importance of mental health. Our goal is to give support to those who struggle with their mental health, and we also strive to educate communities that might need guidance on how to be of support. Since becoming comfortable enough to speak on my own story my goal is to continue to help stop the stigma on mental illness and raise awareness. I want to be a voice to those who continue to suffer in silence. I refuse to let my pain go without purpose. I have committed to using each part of my testimony to help the next. : @of_asoundmind

Spring 2020| rallyupmagazine.com | 35

MY STORY By: Kendra Hathaway

Most, if not all women work to be better versions of themselves. Since the beginning of time women have always been the type of creatures to plan and execute ways to improve, process, create, and implement change. In my opinion, in order to do this, there is a certain amount of confidence that a woman must have. Even in situations where a woman’s confidence is low, she’s been able to use what little confidence she’s had to push herself and make things better. When I think about confidence, I’d say it has a lot to do with a woman being able to love who they are. A woman with confidence has in fact learned to be accepting of herself and all of her strengths, weaknesses, her flaws and everything that makes up who she is; yet she still has enough courage to walk boldly with her head held high. She knows that although she is not perfect, she is God’s creation and she is willing and able to be a symbol of his undying Love! It’s so great to say that I can now walk that bold walk, but there was a time when I couldn’t. I remember it like it was yesterday. When it happened, I was in shock. I felt a lump in my stomach that would not allow me to move, so I didn’t. I just sat there feeling defeated, and overwhelmed. Yes, my oldest child who was 3 at the time had this effect on me when she said with a sigh in her baby voice, “I wanna go to school”. It was crazy to me that even at her young age she was still able to show her frustration at not being able to attend school on a regular basis. As a young mother, I remembered feeling helpless, frustrated, and sad. Even though I had reassured her that she would go back, I was not even sure myself how that would happen. In her presence I was strong, knowledgeable, and sure that things would be ok, but as soon as I could get out of her presence, I cried so hard. My baby’s voice had resonated with me. It was all that I could hear that night, and over the next few days, and weeks. All I could think about was how I was not measuring up as a mother. How could things have gotten so bad that I couldn’t even take care of my #1 responsibility? I knew then that things had to change. I knew that I wanted a better life, and I wanted to be a better mother. Something told me that it would take a lot of hard work to make this happen. At 19 years old I was the mother of a 3-year-old daughter, and a 4-month-old son. I had my own place, a job at Target, and a car that I had to keep my foot on the accelerator in order to drive. In my mind, I really wasn’t in all that bad of shape besides the fact that I was 4 credits away from having my high school diploma, I was not making enough to be sure my rent would be paid on time for the next month, and I couldn’t do much at all for my kids who deserved so much. Besides all of this, I was still seeing my son’s father who was not in any way, shape, or form what I needed during this time. All these things drove my self-confidence into the ground. Not only was I unable to feel good about myself, but I was also unable to feel good about the roles I was playing as a mother, and woman. One morning, while contemplating on what I should do, something

I knew that there was more to life and that I could do what it took to change things for me and my children. I started talking to myself and encouraging myself. I had learned some breathing exercises that seemed to work, and I had recently began using a journal to express my thoughts. One this day, something allowed me to be more positive about my situation and as I began cleaning my house; suddenly, I began to feel as though I was cleaning my soul. I remember feeling good, and hopeful. I remember praying that day and asking God for strength, and help. Unlike other times before, I seemed to feel stronger this time; I felt more able to do what needed to be done. I now believe that God knew my heart and had went before me and prepared a place for me. In his love for me, he ensured that I would be motivated to work hard and learn how to cope with my negative situations. I learned how to use my wants and desires as motivations to improve myself. These things helped me to feel better about my life. I began treating myself better too, because my confidence began to grow. I began to feel more positive about my life and I knew that God was with me. I felt something during this time that I hadn’t felt before... I felt ABLE. Feeling able helped me move closer towards my goals, and dreams. For change to happen in my life, I found that I had to change myself, my thought pattern, my surroundings, and everything I was familiar with. It was a struggle, but when you learn to have faith in God and what he can do; you learn to trust yourself. Learning to trust and believe in myself was big; it made me push myself to do better. It helped me decide to want more and go for it. After this, I stopped at nothing because I knew I was just as capable as anyone else. Overall, I can say regardless of my education, careers choices, etc., I am successful today because I am happy with who I am, and I believe in me. Today, I have the confidence I wanted years ago, but it has come with learning how to take care of me and put my mental health first. If you are experiencing mental health issues understand that many things contribute to your mental health. However, there is ALWAYS a way to continue to improve and or make progress in your life, if you continue to try and refuse to give up. Over 20 years ago I was a teenage mother, but I decided NOT to be a statistic! Kendra Hathaway is a Mother, Wife, Family Life Educator, Marriage & Family Therapist, and Self-help Author. She is inspired to make a difference in the lives of others by helping others to find their motivation, as well as teaching others how to stay mentally healthy.

Kendra Hathaway, MA, LLMT, FLE

Family Life Educator, a Limited Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Self-help Author from Michigan. Kendra contracts with several different agencies and different facilities to meet her clients needs. Kendra specializes in working with African American women and young adults who are looking to improve their lives. Kendra also works with individuals with depression, anxiety, bi- polar disorders, adjustment disorder, etc. Kendra can be reached directly at: (586) 551-2757, or Kendrahathaway8111@gmail.com

5 Fav Organic Beauty

Treatments Found in Your Kitchen By Nekesa Smith

Contrary to what we all have experienced recently, the beauty business is essential. The old saying “When you look good, you feel good” has been proven to be the truth. Beauty treatments are so relaxing and recharging but can sometimes be a bit costly. Most beauty treatments and products are derived from natural ingredients like fruit, spices and such. As a budding beauty professional, I learned how to use beauty items from the kitchen for my skin and hair care regimen. Remember, when you feel good and want to look good now all you have to do is take a trip into your kitchen and mix up your fav blend and voila’.

Brown sugar with fresh squeezed lemon juice is a great exfoliating scrub for your body from head to toe. The brown sugar is a light exfoliating polisher that helps to remove dead skin. The fresh lemon juice helps to brighten the skin and help fade dark spots on the face and body. The lemon also draws out excess sebum and oil. As for the body, use the brown sugar lemon scrub in the shower or bathtub right before rinsing. Here’s a simple recipe: Add 1 freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil (1 tbsp) in a bowl Mix 1 cup of brown sugar and stir. Apply to wet face or body in circular motion. Rinse with warm water. Follow up with a moisturizer.

Oatmeal is also a great soothing face mask. Its anti-inflammatory effect can help you get rid of acne. It can also soothe serious skin conditions such as eczema, rashes, or dermatitis. Here’s a simple recipe: Mix one-part oatmeal with two parts honey. Apply to the skin and let it stay on for 10-15 mins. Rinse with cool water. Follow up with applying a moisturizer on your face and neck.

Turmeric is a wonder spice that works amazingly as a topical treatment on your skin. It is also great to take internally because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric helps circulate the blood to the skin and is known to reduce inflammation. Here’s a simple recipe: Mix turmeric (1 tsp) with drops of water or organic honey (1 tbsp) until a paste is formed. Apply to your face and neck. Let the turmeric paste stay on for 10- 15 mins. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Cayenne pepper is another wonder spice that works both topically and internally. If you have areas of your hair that are thinning, or if you are suffering with hair loss try a cayenne pepper oil treatment. Cayenne pepper help to stimulate sleep or damaged pores. It can actively promote the hair growth process.

The final home remedy beauty treatment is the egg avocado hair conditioning treatment. This is such a treat for your hair. It helps to deposit moisture that nature intended. The egg acts as a fortifying reconstructing conditioner. The avocado is a moisture fruit full of flavonoids, amino acids and more.

Here’s a simple recipe:

Here’s a simple recipe:

Mix 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Mix a ripe avocado with a raw egg.

Apply to your scalp or affected area after shampoo and conditioning the hair Let the oil treatment sit on for 45 mins with a plastic cap.

Apply to clean hair from the roots to the ends. Place a plastic cap for 30-45 mins. Rinse with lukewarm water thoroughly until ingredients are completely melted and rinsed out.

Rinse thoroughly and then style.

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HOPE! (Psalm 46)

Born Overcomers Negative Thinking, Rape, Lust, Sickness, Ungratefulness, Tragedy, Worthlessness, Domestic Violence, Death. Do any of these words resonate with you? The powerful testimonies of Lakesha and four Featured Overcomers are designed to instill hope and inspire you to begin experiencing the overwhelming freedom that can be found in overcomingjust as they did! #overcomersguide


Are you dating, considering dating or have dated and tired of making the same mistakes? Have you given up on finding love altogether? TJ Woodard and Alton L. Fitch shows you that following God's instructions as it pertains to dating will change the course of your relationship. They encourage you to recognize you are royalty and should be treated as the Queens that you are. God has someone He designed especially for you, and if we stay on course He will give you the desires of your heart. www.nekesanaturalradiance.com

Dear Fear Volume 3 by: Tiana Patrice booklaunch.io/tjwoodard Dear Fear Volume 3 is a book by visionary author Tiana Patrice that consists of powerful stories by women who have had to look fear in the face and push through adversities. “Activating your Fearless” is what Coach T calls it. TJ Woodard is one of those women who tells her story in this book compilation where she shares having to grow up with the secret of being molested and hiding it for years. This secret crippled her most of her life silencing her in so many ways. In this book she finds that her voice has power in her chapter titled, “Dear Fear…You Can’t Have My Voice!” With God, you will make it through any storm, trauma, or bad experience! How can there be beauty in a traumatic experience? Oh, there certainly is and Vanity can tell you first-hand how from her experience. God brings us true healing from the after effect of our trauma. Trauma impairs our thought process, our relationships with other people and ourselves, and how we behave. However, God repairs and restores us back to how He purposed us. He repairs us in ways better than before we experienced trauma. He takes what was meant to hurt us, set us back, or destroy us and turns it into a beautiful story. He turns it into an experience that we have overcame and can help the people around us that are experiencing the same or similar things. Our traumatic experiences aren’t for us to harbor but to share hope and faith with the people around us that they too can make it through. With God, you will make it through any storm, trauma, or bad experience. Just hold onto faith in Him and trust His process.

Life After Trauma

By: Vanity Dawson

www.takemyhandco.org FB:TakeMyHandLLC IG: vanityd_tmh

In the book “Respect the Shoulder Tap” a young woman who was tormented by her experiences as a child, later finds that she does not have enough self-confidence to do the things necessary to move forward in her life. She learnt through struggle how to use her negative life experiences to push and encourage herself. In doing this, she was able to move past her negative thoughts of self, and into a woman of enormous strength. Later, she turnes that strength into motivation and was able to accomplish her goals, as well as understand how strong, smart and beautiful she was, but first she had to soothe the musing of her own mind.

Respect the Shoulder Tap

This book will inspire any person looking to learn how to motivate themselves and move forward in their lives. If you need some encouragement to press forward, this book is for you.

Are you willing to discover who God created you to authentically be? Get ready to embark on a journey of discovery! Discovering what part of your identity is authentic and what part is counterfeit. Every person's experience will be different as the Holy Spirit begins to reveal identities you are living from. Trauma and life experiences shapes personalities and identities we live from every day. Many of these identities are counterfeit, they are not who Overcoming we are! I wrote this book to share how God led me Indentity Crisis out of an identity crisis into wholeness, and as a By: Nikki Pinkney tool for the Holy Spirit to unlock your true identity.

The Feel Good Movement is a story about unbelievable strength, grace and determination. The author shares how to go from being broken to brave, beautiful and then blesses. The reader will get a dynamic story along with some tips and hardcore advice for the readers. The Feel Good Movement! By: Kendra Hathaway

This book is powerful! it will motivate anyone who wants to feel good by showing them exactly how to make that happen.

In her memoir, the Lotus Tattoo: One Woman’s Grit from Bully to Redemption, Marisa takes us on her unconventional journey of perseverance when all odds seem to be against her. Her memoir highlights the impact of mental health and the healing that can come when you reach out for help. For Survivors of trauma or those impacted by mental health, this is an inspirational story that can help you through your healing process. For therapists, counselors and mental health professionals, the Lotus Tattoo is a great case study on the impacts toward mental and physical health after abuse and trauma.

You can purchase the Lotus Tattoo here on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/057856694X/

By: Kendra Hathaway

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Veronica Pryor-Facione

A Survivor of Sexual Abuse by her father, Suicide Attempt, other related mental health illnesses and most recently COVID-19 "A Positive Mindset & monitoring your internal G.P.S. (Guarding your Psychological Steps Daily) is key towards evolving into the precious gem “YOU DESIRE TO BE.” ~ Veronica Pryor-Faciane, MS VERONICA PRYOR-FACIANE is the CEO/Founder of New ID Life Coaching LLC. This wife and mother of four beautiful children authored God’s Diamond in The Rough. Veronica continually utilizes her voice and her passion for helping those that have experienced various traumas throughout life. It has assisted in her continuous healing journey. She is no stranger to the challenges of dealing with depression, anxiety and has attempted suicide. She is a living example of how restructuring negative thoughts via mindfulness can pave the way to living your best life. She continues to speak on platforms where she vocalized her truth. RallyUp Magazine (RUM) had an opportunity to provide one of those platforms so Veronica can speak her truth… RUM: First, blessings to you! We are so grateful that you survived COVID19. Do you want to share a little bit of that experience with us? Veronica: Yes, I want to say thank you to the front-line workers and those who were taking care of me. I had heard stories of other people and their front-line workers but I’m grateful for the ones who took care of me. I was eternally grateful for them. Even though family was not allowed in, a lot of people get nervous about going in by themselves without family. I can truly say that the individuals that were taking care of me came in on a constant basis to check in on me and ask if I was okay. They made me feel extra special. It made my process easier because I was nervous. Even though you have unwavering faith, you still have those thoughts that might come in, so I was mindful of what I allowed in my spirit. I didn’t watch a lot of tv as far as news because I didn’t want to hear the counts and all the other negative things about the virus. My doctor even said to be mindful what you allow into your spirit. So that was confirmation of the things I already knew to keep monitoring so I could keep a positive attitude. Last week I retested because I was going to give plasma, to help give antibodies and help others but I’m still testing positive. I don’t want people to think that because you test positive once and then after the two weeks it is automatically gone. That’s not true. There are some individuals that have tested six weeks after and they are still testing positive. I am mindful of my husband and my children, so I still wear my masks. I’ve passed the 14 days. I’m up to 20+ days being out of the hospital and I still wear my mask. I don’t cook or prepare food for them. My sister prepares food for

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us and I’m still distancing myself from them even though I was outside, I was outside in the air. When we’re inside, I don’t go in the rooms with them. RUM: How did you contract the virus? It seems like everyone in your household is fine. Veronica: The only thing I can think of is Walmart. That’s the only place I went to but then again, I really can’t, say 100%. The only place I really had been. Home and Walmart. RUM: Were you wearing your mask? Veronica: At that time, it was still early. There was nothing in place saying to wear a mask. I was thinking it was allergies. I had gone to get my allergy shot and a week later I was still sick so I went to get tested. RUM: What were some of the symptoms you were having? Veronica: I lost my taste and I was doing a lot of coughing. My body ached almost like it was the flu. I did run a fever off and on, but it was a low-grade fever. Later my body ached severely. My chest started hurting. I never thought it was COVID-19. RUM: Do you feel mental health is just as important as your physical health? Veronica: Definitely. Your physical health in my opinion can go down if you’re not sound mentally. Whatever you think you are, that’s what you become. If you think you’re healthy or think in your mind that you can’t be something or that something is wrong it can bring on depression, PTSD and so many other things because of the conversations you’re having internally with yourself. I know that personally, that’s one of the things that helped me to get through COVID-19 because listening to people constantly giving a death count, would have taken a toll on me. My mental health is helping my physical health because I’m a diabetic and because I watch what goes on in my mind is helping me. My doctor said whatever I’m doing to keep it up. Everything is going well with my physical, but I had to get my mind in tune with my body. When I would rehash over the negative things I was going through, it was like I was going backwards. I can’t keep looking in the rearview mirror. I have to go forward.

RUM: You seem so positive and happy, when were you able to find that "happy" place? Veronica: I found my happy place after I was able to forgive. I found happiness after true forgiveness of myself and of my birth father. So many people continue to look for those who have hurt them to say they are sorry or to give them a reason why but I had to get to the point of my life that no matter what reason he could tell me, there was no excuse for the things he had done to me. How was I knowing that he was abused going to heal me? I had to find a place in my heart to say I forgive you for the things that you’ve done, and I forgive myself for hashing through it for so long and continuing to keep reliving it. I had to let the feelings of guilt, hurt, blame go because I was a child even though it went into my adulthood. RUM: Your household growing up, how was it? Veronica: My household was very dysfunctional. I was the oldest of 5 kids. I took on a lot of responsibility. He (my daddy) placed it on me. I was sorta like a slave. My first job was at the age of 12 with our city Parish. I had to work for clothes and also help my siblings get clothes. I didn’t want them looking any type of way. We didn’t have uniforms back then. I remember working at Popeyes later on making $3.34 an hour bringing home $300 checks, asking my boss to work overtime just so I could help out. He used to beat us a lot and if it wasn’t his way, it was the highway. I used to see him doing a lot of crying while my momma was letting this happen to me. He was just repeating a cycle whereas I am choosing to break the cycle. That’s where the difference comes in. What happened to us was prevalent in our family. But they didn’t know how to break the cycle. They kept it going. RUM:How did growing up in what seems like a dysfunctional home and taking care of your mom in the physical and mental state she was in affect your mental health? Veronica: What made it even more difficult was that my father was a professed minister, so we went to church a lot. This made me ask God why did He allow this to happen to me? Which it wasn’t God, just like in the Bible it says whosoever will, let him come. He went on his own free will, but he was using the Bible as well to try to convince us that the things that he was doing were okay. He used to tell me that I was his concubine and everything else he could think of. That took a toll on me too because he would talk down to my mom breaking her down to her lowest point. That is why I became her caretaker after I pressed charges on him because he was still beating her after they got married. So, in trying to save her, she couldn’t get past the fact that I had pressed charges against him. She kept saying, “Veronica, you don’t understand. That was the only person I ever been with and ever loved.” She knew

the stuff he was doing to us because we went to her. When I was 10, I went to her again because he started touching my little sister. It’s hard asking an adult that is supposed to protect you and take care of you for help when they are still a child mentally. There was no help. She couldn’t help. I became her caregiver, watching her leave herself mentally and then physically until she passed. Mentally, I felt like I didn’t do enough. She told me I was stronger than she was. She was looking for me to get us out and that began to play on my mind. The pressure. I started feeling like that is what I was supposed to do. Once I learned the importance of loving myself, that’s when I started my forgiveness journey. RUM: How old were you when you experienced your darkest moment? Veronica: I was five as far as I can remember is when he started touching me. RUM: You consider yourself a cycle breaker? Veronica: Yes, I consider myself a cycle breaker because it is stopping with me. I refuse to allow this to go on or to anyone else. I have family members telling me how proud of me they are for doing what I am doing. This gives me the fuel to keep pushing even when I don’t feel like going on. I’m not just speaking for myself but I’m speaking for others who feel like they cannot speak for themselves. RUM: Suicide Attempt you spoke of...what lead you to that point? Veronica: It was the night of my cousin’s wedding and he had started his foolishness again. It was February 16, 2002. I will never forget. I was tired and I said I’m not going through this again. I said I don’t know why God is not taking me out of this situation, I would give my last to help anyone. I do anything I can to help anyone I can but why is this happening to me. That night when I came home, I was on my medicine. I was on antidepressants that I was taking for a while. I remember saying I’m going to leave here. I’m going to leave here in peace. I was mentally, spiritually, physically drained. When I go back and look at pictures, I can see the sadness and the hurt. I wasn’t living, I was just existing. It was so sad. That night when I came home, he came with his foolishness. He went to take his shower and that’s when I took the medicine. I don’t remember much, but I remember telling him, you’re not going to hurt me anymore. If he hadn’t been the person that he was and I know it was nothing but God, that told them he started acting funny. My family. They started watching me, said I started talking out my mind and they took me to the hospital. When I got to the hospital they had to charcoal me. They put the tube down my throat and I’m grateful that they did watch me because God said, no it’s not your time. I was in the hospital and when I came back to my room, it was a sad feeling. They had my birth mom and my dad in the hospital room with me and they were asking them what

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happened meanwhile the doctors were not paying any attention to me. It was like I didn’t matter. But the doctors were talking to the people who were causing my problems. Doctors need to be trained to look at people who could be causing certain problems. They were not trusting the person who committed the act of attempting suicide as if they didn’t think I was in the right mental state. I was thinking I knew exactly what I did. So many people feel that when people attempt suicide, they are quitters. But sometimes you feel as though you have no other place to go. That’s why when I hear people say that’s just a coward’s way out, it bothers me because until you are in that situation, you can’t speak about it. Everybody has a dierent feeling. RUM: Is is your current diagnosis? Veronica: My diagnosis is bipolar depression, PTSD, ADHD, anxiety, and stress. I experience seasonal depression. So, I have to be mindful of the vitamins I take. I have to get my Vitamin D in to help my mood and my depression. RUM: There many people hurting, who are having thoughts of giving up or having thoughts of harming themselves; what encouraging words do you have for them? Veronica: For those who are holding this secret, I just want to say no matter what you are loved and if no one has ever told you, I love you. I try to tell it to everybody because sometimes those are the only words somebody wants to hear is that they’re loved because sometimes you feel that you’re not. Sometimes I felt like I was a mistake and I shouldn’t have been here BUT what I learned was that other people’s decisions should not deďŹ ne who I become. The person that took from me, that was their decision to take from me. It is my decision on how I respond. Not just react. I was reacting when I tried to take my life because I was reacting to the circumstances. I learned to stop reacting and start responding dierently. I learned how to love myself because you can’t control no one but yourself. I had to learn to love me more than I love anybody else. And when I learned that, not saying I didn’t love those people, but I had to love me more. When I loved me more that’s when I stepped back to realize that I am worth it. I’m worth it to keep living because my story is here as God’s glory to help someone else. That gives me my strength to keep going. Even when I was in the hospital, I looked at the things that I’ve been through and I said Lord I know you have something powerful for me to do because it started when I was young with him trying to shut me up. And he tried to belittle me. My birth father for the longest used to tell me to shut up. I didn’t have anything to say, but then I started working with the choirs and building up my speech. Getting my voice back. I was able to write a book but then had problems only to get to this time of my life and get struck with COVID-19. I was like the devil is really trying hard, but God is stronger. I got faith. So many people look at me and say I don’t look like all that. I say, I don’t have to look like what I’ve been through. RUM: Tell us about your book? How did you come up with the title? Veronica: My book is called God’s Diamond in the Rough. So many people will allow life to steal their shine but what it meant for me, God’s diamond, is to see diamonds go through a lot of pressure. It starts out as coal. You go through a lot of things before you start seeing your shine. It's a transformation with a lot of pressure. We go through lots of pressure “point momentsâ€? that’s what I call it. These are moments along our journey. I have had to take those pressure moments, taking multiple steps and

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using them as an elevator to get to my next. So many people just don’t see it and they choose to stay in that charcoal state (that dark state) but I had to get up out of my dark state. RUM: How important is that support system? Veronica: God knows exactly what you need especially when God sent me my husband. I thank God for him every day. It takes a very special person to deal with someone who has been through what I’ve been through. I don’t look at love, meaning the sexual act of love the same. And God made him so patient with dealing with me. I’ve come a long way now, but my mental state was misconstrued because of the way my innocence was taken away from me as a child. I thank God for him daily. It is Veronica daily mission, to serve as a guide for others desiring to thrive and not just survive along life’s journey. She assists them in developing a successful roadmap towards their NEW ID and not the identiďŹ cation that was given to them by their parents, environment or various societal factors. This passion was invoked after developing a warrior and not worrier mindset, overcoming 28 years of incest, ďŹ nancial, physical, spiritual and domestic violence suered at the hands of her ministerial birth-father and most recently surviving COVID-19. CONTACT INFORMATION: : NewIDLifeCoaching888@gmail.com Social Media Information: : https://www.newidlifecoaching.com/ : veronica.faciane : newid888/ Links to purchase E-books: Books2Read.com/GodsDiamondintherough Amazon Kindle version: https://amzn.to/2WZFPUs Purchase on Amazon paperback version: Bit.ly/Godsdiamond For those desiring a signed copy, they can reach out to Veronica via email

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11 by Lex Morgan n irrevocable strength is uncovered in the most unlikely place. Darkness. That place where every decision seems to be the wrong one, despite our best efforts. That place where we feel deeply insecure about ourselves, abilities and gifts. That place where we cry often and wonder if we’ll ever make it through. Be gentle with yourself in this place. It is ok not to be ok. There is hope. There is always hope. Although darkness feels scary and uncertain, it bestows beautiful gifts upon us. In the darkness, we are required to pause. To reflect. To hold ourselves accountable. To learn. To make wiser decisions. To step forward. Darkness presents powerful questions for us to answer. • How did we get here? • How did we contribute to our current experience(s)? • What are we learning? • What are the risks of continuing in the same direction we’ve been traveling? • What are the benefits of making healthier decisions? In the darkness, God’s light shines brightest on the areas of our lives that need our attention. Areas that include our character, the character of the people we’re in relationship with, what and/or who we’re running from, and what we believe about ourselves. Depending on where we are on our individual journeys, the light may shine on different areas. One thing is certain, the light shines brightest during our darkest hours. Where we are is no accident. Our exact location is necessary and instrumental in molding us into who we need to become to transcend our circumstances. One layer at a time, things, people, places and experiences that no longer serve us are being stripped away to reveal the exquisite detail of God’s creation. The real us. Appreciate the darkness, for it reveals things that we wouldn’t learn otherwise.

There is no such thing as perfect. The key is progress. Even if we’ve ended up in what appears to be the same dark place(s) repeatedly, there is hope. Within each of us is the power to decide what we want, to seek the necessary support to guide us in that direction, the power to change our behavior and create a beautiful tomorrow. The world may try to convince us that it’s too late. That we’ve failed too often. That we’re not worthy of a second chance.

How do we move out of darkness into light? Identify one step we’re committed to taking to move forward. Just one step. Then, identify a second step. Be clear about the steps so that measuring success is simple. Keep going…one step at a time. Before long, we’re on the other side of the obstacle(s). Through it all, isn’t it reassuring to know that we are loved by a God who extends grace and mercy? A God who is forgiving and a protector? Our steps don’t have to be pretty and the journey doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. We are not here to be a replica of anyone else; we are here to be the best version of ourselves. We needn’t work harder to prove ourselves. Our focus should be on working harder to improve ourselves. The darkness gives way to a brighter tomorrow. That is amazing news!

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Tips for Coping While Staying at Home By: TJ Woodard

et’s face it. We are all dealing with a situation that we could have never imagined in our lifetime. Yes, we’ve seen scenarios like these in the movies and found it to be entertaining whether it drew us in emotionally, for comedic factor, or to provide an idea of what could possibly be. Yet, we find ourselves here. The world facing a pandemic as we battle the coronavirus COVID-19. Many states are on shutdown. There have been meme’s, comments, and posts all about how people are dealing with stay-at-home orders all across the nation. This has caused us to have to face some things we hadn’t had to deal with which can pose some mental health challenges due to a heightened sense of anxiety, fear and uncertainty. Many are feeling isolated as we have had to avoid contact with family, friends, and loved ones due to the risk of contagion. We’ve been in the house for weeks now, some surrounded by family members and others with no one but themselves. “Social distancing” has been a term we have all come to know and is now and may be for a long time, a permanent part of our vocabulary.

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This has definitely been a period of transition and adjustment for all of us. What is important is how you are dealing during this time? How are you coping? There are coping mechanisms for those who are at home with relatives, friends and loved ones as well as those who are single and alone. There are things you can do during this time that can make this time meaningful and productive while helping to minimize stress and reduce anxiety. There are also resources available for those who may be struggling during this time. A great direct contact you can use 24/7 (US & Canada) to connect with a live trained counselor ...simply text TALK to 741741. There is no wrong way to use this service. The hardest part may be reaching out.

COPING FOR COUPLES/GROUPS Read/Study - This is a great time to study the Bible, read a book and have a discussion about it. Each family member can suggest the book of the week and at the end, have a book

Club gathering - With many students taking classes and parents homeschooling, this is a great time for parents to learn something from the children and the children can learn from the parents. Make it interesting and fun.

Play a game together - This is great for couples and families. Playing games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Jenga, Heads Up and others are a great way to bring laughter and fun to any household. This can bring the household together and make for much needed quality time that you may not have had otherwise. Exercise together/Meditate - You can have one family

member come up with the workout routine for the day. Each person can take a turn creating a regimen for the day and can help relieve mental stress during this time. You can exercise inside or even go for a walk in your neighborhood. Meditation is also a good way to relax your mind and ease anxiety. Either way exercise and meditation is great for you body, mind, and soul.

Cook together - This is good. Parents can teach young ones

how to cook. Make it fun and interesting by hosting a cooking class for your family or group. There are so many great recipes online and video tutorials that you can try at home. Have themed nights. Try new dishes. Get everyone involved.

Bingeworthy TV/Movies - Between Netflix, Hulu, Prime

Movies and other streaming mediums available to catch up on tv shows and movies. With the networks slowing down on production due to COVID-19, this is a prime time to catch up on some of your favorite tv shows and movies and even some new ones.

Rest & Relaxation - Take advantage of this downtime by

getting additional rest and creating an environment for relaxation. Schedule couples massages, take a relaxing bath, listen to relaxing music, and limit news and media intake.

COPING FOR SINGLES Read/Study – This is a great time even for singles to get

caught up on reading the Bible, studying the word or curling up and catching up on your favorite book.

Photo by Philip Goldsberry Unsplash

Get Virtually Connected - Technology advancements have

a way of bringing people together. Take advantage of applications such as Zoom, Hangouts, Google Team, House Party and others as a way to connect with the ones you love. Some applications will allow you to see your loved ones, play games with them, and host virtual parties and happy hours.

Exercise/Meditate - Whether shut in with alone or with

others, you can’t go wrong with exercise. There are virtual applications that will allow you to workout with online trainers. Some individual trainers are now providing private and group trainings through Zoom and online applications. Meditation is also a good way to relax your mind and ease anxiety. Either way exercise and meditation is great for you body, mind, and soul.

Get Organized/Tackle Goals - What is that one thing that

you said that you would do if you had more time? Spring clean? Sort through papers? Fix up some things around the house? Get organized? Write a book? Whatever you had in mind to do but didn’t have the time to do before, use this time to do so. Make a task list and check off something daily.

Arts & Crafts/DIYs - Pinterest has become my all-time favor-

ite. You can find suggestions for just about anything and everything especially arts & crafts and DIYs. I find jigsaw puzzles and creative ways to organize my home to keep me busy during this pandemic.

Rest & Relaxation - Take advantage of this downtime by

getting additional rest and creating an environment for relaxation. Create an at home spa, take a relaxing bath, listen to relaxing music, and limit news and media intake.

Regardless of your situation your mental health is very important especially in challenging times. There are many things you can do whether with family, friends, or alone but if you feel that this time in “quarantine” is taking a toll on your mental health, contact someone immediately. There are resources available for you to contact for support. Remember, you are not alone.

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Founder of Totality Of A Woman (TOAW) Public Speaker and Former Educator "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early." Psalm 46: 5

Stephanie Carnegie is a dynamic woman that embodies passion, strength and tenacity. She is a public speaker and former educator who founded Totality Of A Woman (TOAW) in March 2018 to ďŹ ll a void in the mental health space. Stephanie states, ‘I didn’t want women to suer in silence like I did. I wanted to let them know they are NOT alone and I wanted to help break the STIGMA surrounding mental health and mental illness.‘ TOAW is an organization that takes a 360-degree approach focusing on the wellness of women, men and children. Stephanie expressed that ‘children suer from signs and symptoms of depression as young as 5 years old. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for adolescents ages 10-18 and the crisis age for black youth is 5-11.’ Totality Kids, as Stephanie explains ‘oers children stress management tools to deal with their emotions, teaches them the beneďŹ ts of a healthy lifestyle at an early age and provide them with tools and resources that encourage positive youth development.’ TOAW reects its 360-degree approach by also creating a safe space for men. Carnegie believes that, ‘there is a preconceived idea of how men should express their emotions. Men are often overlooked when it comes to safe spaces to unpack the things that may aect their health and mental wellness.’ Stephanie shares that ‘over 6 million men a year suer from depression. It was apparent that healing in our communities needed to happen on a 360 level, and so Totality MEN was created.’ Stephanie is a brand manager and the founder of Carnegie PR, a leading public relations and strategic communications ďŹ rm. Best known in media circles for her early start represent-

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ing some of Hip Hop’s proliďŹ c emcee’s, she has steadily broadened her scope and served as the National Communications Advisor for the National Council of Women of the United States at the United Nations. Stephanie’s portfolio demonstrates her passion for charitable initiatives such as community outreach for the Flint, Michigan water crisis and working with governments and agencies to celebrate the 96th anniversary of the ratiďŹ cation of Women’s Right to Vote. TOAW has spearheaded a number of programs such as Ride for Mental Health Bike Ride in partnership with CitiBank and Food, Faith and Fitness Wellness Series. Stephanie Carnegie is a change maker and her safe message of love, faith and resilience has touched many lives and she’s ready to impact the world.

*CertiďŹ ed Mental Health First Aid *CertiďŹ ed in Trauma Informed Care *NYC Ambassador for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)... Contact: Visit and subscribe to our website at: www.TotalityofaWoman.com : Info@TotalityofaWoman@gmail.com or TotalityofaWoman@gmail.com

Making a Dierence


Speaker, Author, Teacher, Community Builder Founder, Everyday Being “Where Fear Ends and Healing Begins� “When you are depressed you surround yourself with things and are detached from people; when you are healthy you are detached from stuff and want to show love to people around you� ~Marisa Jones

orn and raised in New York in an immigrant Sicilian family with an alcoholic parent, Marisa faced many traumas that led to a turbulent life until she faced her victim mentality and replaced it with a new mind-set of positivity and balance. Marisa’s talks focus on the long-term eects of trauma and the importance of getting help for mental illness and reducing the stigma associated with this issue. “I always looked at my life in chapters of child abuse, drugs and alcohol abuse, infertility and divorce. On the outside I had a successful career in IT, a family, children, and my life looked perfect. Yet on the inside I live in fear and anger, with suicidal thoughts and depression stemming from my past abuse. This mindset is what led me to a lifetime of being a bully to those around me, starting as a child and well into my adulthood. Ten years ago, I was 45 years old and sleeping under the covers in a fetal position, suering from fear, depression, suicidal thoughts and severe PTSD. My emotional state hit rock bottom as I had young kids and couldn’t be there for them emotionally. I would hear them cry or laugh from another room, yet I laid still in my bed from depression, unable to go to them. It was then I made a commitment to heal and started on a journey to rid myself of the fear and anger I held onto for many years after the abuse. I was alone and ashamed of who I was and afraid to reach out for help for fear of being judged. Today my life is transformed. I still suer from depression and suicidal ideation as life has its challenges, but I’ve surrounded myself with helpful tools and resources to support me through those dark times. While publishing my memoir, The Lotus Tattoo: One Women’s Grit from Bully to Redemption and I found that telling my stories to others, resonated with so many who had similar stories, yet hid them in secret due to the stigma behind mental health. That’s when I founded Everyday Being, a blogging platform and online community providing information for those looking for a place to ďŹ nd healing. I partner with non-proďŹ ts, counselors, doctors, nutritionists and other healing practitioners to provide content and resource information to those just starting out on their healing journey. I hope to reach teens and young adults with my message to let them know how important it is to speak out and seek help, because I know from experience, it will catch up to you. Through my ‘Struggles Workshop Series’, my classes focus on depression, releasing guilt, regrets, anger, anxiety, stress and similar topics for healing your past. I teach how to recognize the signs and symptoms, educate on tools and resources available to support them, and provide my own techniques developed that I use to support my mental health on a daily basis.â€? Marisa currently lives in Colorado with her husband Mike and their four dogs, and they enjoy spending time there with their four children and two grandchildren. www.myeverydaybeing.com mjones@myeverydaybeing.com 303-957-7499 @myeverydaybeing

Spring 2020| rallyupmagazine.com | 47

LET US HIIT OUR MENTAL RESET Photo by Sara Cervera on Unsplash

When we think of Mental Wellness, often we do not take into consideration the outside of us as much as we primarily focus on the mind, the emotions, the chemical balance, or imbalance of the inside. However, our outside plays just as much a part of our mental health as our inside does. When I say the outside, I am speaking of our physical body, in terms of taking just as much care of our bodies and how it aligns with our minds. One of the ways we can do this is by using exercise to take care of the outside which can have an impact and direct effect on our mental health. There has been medical evidence that reveals exercising is a great contributor to helping with mental health. Some doctors and therapists recommend exercise over medication to some of their patients, as a way to maneuver through their emotional state when they are at high levels emotionally. It is suggested that exercise increases the blood circulation to the brain and releases endorphins that energizes your mood sensor. I am no medical expert, nor do I suggest that if you were prescribed medication as a treatment to ditch it, but in addition to your medication there are possibly other ways to help you get through your challenging moments. For example, I myself, was diagnosed with having anxiety and mild depression years ago, and I am one that prefer the holistic approach versus taking medically prescribed medication. Both are equally good and depend on the person’s needs, but I was advised by my doctor to maybe take up exercising, hiking, walking, jogging, or some other type of exercise to help me in my moments when I felt overwhelmed or an attack coming on. This suggestion not only helped to calm me in moments when I felt I was about to have a panic attack, but the change in my physical appearance helped me with my self-esteem and left me feeling better about myself. It also decreased moments of depression. It is

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By: Tyanna Straughn

vital to have as many tools as possible in your arsenal to help aid and assist when we come up against mental challenges. For myself I decided to try an exercise routine called HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training. In a HIIT routine you complete a quick, give it your all, burst of different types of exercises with a break in between each and then repeat for multiple sets. For example, you can do jumping jack, squats, sit ups, and push-ups, each for 30 seconds, five sets each or for a total of 30 minutes being sure to rest in between each set. By the time I finished the routine I had completed several other exercises that I would not have believed I could achieve. I also felt a thousand percent better and my anxiety had passed. Now I am not saying that this worked every time I felt an attack, but I can honestly say that this tool helped me have less moments of attacks and gave me more victories and triumphs over my emotions. Here is a sample of my routine that you can try. You may not be able to complete all at one time but break each down into smaller goals if you must and celebrate each achievement! So, come on and let’s HIIT our emotions together!! - 80 Jumping Jacks - 20 Squats - 10 Push-Ups -10 Leg Lunges (on each leg) - 10 Sit-Ups - Rest for 1 minute and then Repeat 3x


Health & Wellness

RELEASE By: Talona Smith

get fit and to work on being happy. Let me make this disclaimer before I go any further, I am not judging anyone on their beautiful bodies. This is about my journey. My weight gain has a story within itself.

After years of convincing myself that I could lose weight on my own, I felt as if all of my effort was a waste of time. One of my daughters convinced me to hire a personal trainer. For what? Personal trainers were for bougie people, rich people, professional athletes, celebrities…not me. I’ve seen articles and posts where people would document their fitness journey with a personal trainer, and posts where personal trainers would advertise their programs and facilities to attract potential clients. I still wasn’t convinced that a personal trainer was for me. Besides, the people in those posts and articles already look good and probably only workout to keep their bodies toned. I needed a divine intervention. Previous medical history list me as severely obese for my five-foot body frame. Yes, I have health issues that have developed from being overweight. Yes, I am often self-conscience of my appearance and question men’s interest in me when I look the way I do. So what? My daughter assured me that she vetted this trainer and signing up for a fitness commitment could be what I needed to

Food was my go-to source for comfort. When I was upset, a family size bag of chips would be gone before eating dinner. When I was sad, an entire row of creamed filled chocolate cookies and a glass of milk would make my stomach smile. Feeling lonely in the middle of the night, three or four snack cakes would hit the spot. Two king-sized candy bars would be devoured during a one-hour drive to see a neurologist or physical therapist. Anytime my healthcare physician asked about my diet, I told him it was good. That my weight gain was from stress. He never judged me, only gave me healthy advice and encouraged me to do better. To take better care of my health…mental and physical. The first week of my fitness journey was crazy hard. My eating habits were reconstructed. I had to document food and water intake on his app. Customized workouts. A small window was given for carbs. Dairy decreased to minimal. Cut out sugary foods. No fast food. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. What did I get myself into? I thought of several scenarios to use to back out of it. If I pretended not to care what people said or thought about me for this long, why should it matter now? But deep down inside, I desperately wanted to finish this commitment because I always found a reason not to finish so many others. The workouts were quite difficult for me since I had never done them before. Still, I felt so exhilarated after each session that

I kept going back. My trainer switched up during one of my workouts and made me do a punch, punch, kick combination on a handheld boxing pad. I did what I thought I could, but it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t hitting it with focus. He told me to use more strength in my punches and kicks. To think of someone or something that made me MAD. After harboring so much weight from depression, that was easy. I was gettin’ it! Punch! Punch! KICK! Punch! Punch! KICK! After a couple of repetitions, he asked if he needed to get another trainer to work with me because I kicked the bag like I was mad at him. We both laughed. I was punching out hurt and kicking out pain. The hurt of being told I was no longer attractive…Punch! The hurt of being repeatedly being cheated on…Punch! The pain of being left to raise our younger children alone…KICK! Rage was leaving my body during each workout. GET OUT!!!!!! GET AWAY!!! GO!!! I am done being mad. I am done with the pain. I am ready to live the life God has destined for me. I am ready to be the vessel God has created me to be. I am ready to let God love me. None of this would be possible without my strong support system. I am grateful for my personal cheering squad, my children, and the dedication of a trainer who is more like a workout partner who cares about my health and not a business owner increasing his company’s bottom line. This fitness journey has improved my body, metabolism, mind, heart, spirit, and joy. Each workout was a euphoric stimulation for me to do better. To be better. To eat better. To live better. All of the sweat is endorphins leaving my body. The soreness is stress being squeezed out. The journey is a calm to my depression and peace to my life. MY WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM…. Once I let go of jealousy, I lost stress and tension Once I let go of gossip, I lost headache and worry Once I let go of lying, I lost confusion and second guessing Once I let go of bickering, I lost aggression and anger Once I let go of self-indulgence, I lost financial instability Once I let go of self-pity, I lost baggage Once I let go of uncertainty, I gained understanding Once I let go of peer pressure, I gained individuality Once I let go of fear, I gained faith Once I let go of procrastination, I gained patience Once I let go of slothfulness, I gained perseverance Once I lost weight and found myself

Spring 2020| rallyupmagazine.com | 49

If you need help now or feeling suicidal call 911. 1800-SUICIDE (1800-784-2433) 1800-273- TALK (1800-273-8255) CRISIS TEXT LINE Text "FIGHT" to 741741 NAMI Helpline M-F, 10 am - 6pm ET 1800-950-NAMI We Fight Foundation, Inc. 240-34-FIGHT (240-343-4448) www.wefightfoundation.org available crisis chat line. TEEN LINE 1800-852-8336 www.teenlineoonline.org Military Veterans Suicide Hotline: 1800-273-TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 1) LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide Hotline: 1866-4-U-TREVOR NAMI National http://www.nami.org/ Suicide Hotline in Spanish: 1800-273- TALK (1800-273-8255 PRESS 2) Family Crisis Center, Inc. Phone:(301)731-1203(Hotline) www.familycrisisresourcecenter.org/ Family Crisis Center for Domestic Violence Phone (410)828-6390(410)285-7496(Emergency Safe Shelter) Korean Suicide Hotline Phone:(855) 775-6732 www.koreansuicidehotline.com/ National Hopeline Network Phone:(800)442-4673 www.hopeline.com

www.therapyforblackgirls.com Residential Crisis Services, Mosiac Community Service Phone:(410)938-5030 www.mosiacinc.org/programsservices/residential-crisis-program Hours of Operation:24/7 Spanish Suicide Hotline Phone:(800)784-2432 or (888)628-9454 Hours of Operation:24/7 The Trevor Suicide HelpLine Phone:(866)488-7386 www.thetrevorproject.org Hours of Operation:24/7 Veterans Crisis Hotline Phone:(877)838-2838 www.veteranscall.us/ Hours of Operation:24/7 Mental Health America http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/ American Psychiatric Association http://www.psych.org/ American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) http://www.adaa.org/ National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/ Obsessive Compulsive Foundation http://www.ocfoundation.org/ Mental Health.gov https://www.mentalhealth.gov/ Apps The Safe Place notOK App

National Sexual Assault Hotline,RAINN Phone:(800)656-4673 www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline



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